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Adding Lady Gaga and Tone Loc To Your Business Plan

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Brian Copeland

Brian Copeland

By Brian Copeland

Thousands of REALTORS® are making the choice, consciously and unconsciously, to add Lady Gaga, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Jimmy Buffett to their business plans.  In fact, Americans as a whole are consuming ringback tones as a personal and business medium to the tune of over $235 million in 2009 (BMI).

I don’t want to assume that everyone knows the term “ringback;” so, quickly, it’s what you hear when you are calling someone’s phone.  Usually it’s a popular song and shouldn’t be confused with a “ringtone” which is what you hear when your phone rings.

Ringbacks can either be a great connection point with a consumer/another agent or a kiss of death for your business.  If you want to personalize your phone this way in your business, move forth with caution.  I personally love ringbacks; so, please don’t hear me be all “yuck, yuck, unprofessional.”

© J0hnb0y | Dreamstime.com

© J0hnb0y | Dreamstime.com


1.     You can really connect well with a demographic with the correct choice.  If you have a specific niche market, ringbacks can screen the correct demographic you want to reach.

2.     Ringbacks can place the caller in a better mood or relax them prior to your conversation.  When I’ve used ringbacks, DAILY I answered the phone and the caller was literally singing along.  After brief laughter, they always complimented my song choice, and we had a good 30 second chat about that commonality.

3.     They set a fun tone.  REALTORS® often get bum wraps as overly serious, negotiating freaks.  As you’re getting that call from your cooperating agent on a deal, it may just put them in the mood you need them to be in.


1.     You may isolate a clientele.  I was calling a service provider recently, and he had “Margaritaville” on his ringback.  I immediately thought, “Me and this guy are not going to gel.”  I hung up and chose another service provider.

2.     A wrong tune choice can land you in Tackyville.  You may have already landed the client or gained the callers trust in face-to-face or written communications, but when they hear your life’s tune, they may find it unprofessional.

3.     You may date yourself.  If you’re a boomer agent trying to appeal to a GenX/Y client.  It may have got you shaking your booty at the Class of ‘63 senior prom, but Tanner and Rachel may find you passé.  Same goes for Tanner and Rachel.  Betty and Harold may think you’re too inexperienced with your Lady Gaga megamix.

If you’re going to use ringbacks on your business phone take note of these tips.

Customize Your Tones: If you have favorite agents or friends who call often, you can set your jukebox to play certain songs for them, then one safe piano track for all your customers.

Reflect Your Personality: If you had to choose a song that you felt characterized your life best, what would it be?  Check the lyrics and see if they match the message you want the world to know about you.  If so, go for it.

Enjoy The Holidays: Change your ringback to something holidayesque the week or two prior to the holiday.  For Christmas, you can never go wrong with “Home For Holidays.”

It’s Risky: You can never go wrong with a good, ol’ fashioned “ring, ring, ring.”  If you’re going to step out and do it, do it big.

Niche For Your Demographic Target:
If you’re looking to connect with certain age groups, here are some songs that best reflect each generation.

  • Gen Y:  Most Black-Eyed Peas songs have positive, upbeat messages like “I Gotta Feeling.”  If Chris Brown hadn’t pulled his Rihanna mess, “Forever,” is a great tone setting beat for Gen Y.

  • Gen X:  80s and 90s nostalgic throwbacks are big with this demographic.  Artists like Debbie Gibson, Bobby Brown, and Paula Adbul had some great groves.  Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” Michael Jackson’s “Gonna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” typically prove to be popular retro tunes.

  • Babyboomers and Beyond:  Honestly, you can’t go wrong with disco in all generations.  It’s the one genre that seems to get everyone moving at parties and events.  While you’ll want to avoid lyrics like “Brick House” and most cliché songs by The Village People, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire tends to always be a phone crowd pleaser.

  • Avoid Some Songs/Genres Altogether:  Certain inspirational songs have just grown too cliché through the decades.  You’ll want to avoid “The Rose,” most Whitney Houston ballads and anything you could imagine a drag queen performing.

Music Genre Poll:

Photo Credit: © J0hnb0y | Dreamstime.com

Brian Copeland is a REALTOR® in Nashville, Tennessee. You can check out his websites at nashvilleandbeyond.com and brian-copeland.com.

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Comments 11

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Adding Lady Gaga and Tone Loc To Your Business Plan : YPN Lounge -- Topsy.com

  2. The benefits of ringback tones have never occured to me so I applaud your post Brian. However the negatives associated with them have often come up. I’m always dreading the call when I get a Gansta Rap ringback. It makes me think I’m calling a high schooler or someone else I probably don’t want to talk to. It’s usually a sign of a dead end lead. In my brief time as a property management provider I got much more 50cent than I ever cared to and like it or not those tunes had a definite bearing on whom I eventually chose to inhabit a rental.

  3. Loved the article. I have “low” by flo rider as my ringtone (yes, I know this isn’t ringback professional) but don’t have a ringback set up. hmm. Decisions decisions. I do LOVE your Gen Y examples. And Journey is always a good middle ground. Maybe I need to play around with different ringbacks for different people. oh the possibilities!!

  4. Brian – brilliant take on our impressions. Wanted to run the highlighter over my screen when I read “If you’re going to step out and do it, do it big.” Love the encouragement for allowing our personalities into our business. For a guy that’s too ‘vanilla’ in the process at times (me) – you illustrate the value in being truly colorful. Working on it!

  5. That article makes me want to call your phone just to see what you’ve got playing. Of course I’m more likely to catch you on Twitter of FB. I’ve never had a ringback, but I do sometimes use a free program called YouMail. It will say:
    ” Hello…. Brian. Stephanie can’t come to the phone right now….”
    I have no idea how it works, but it trips people up all the time. They love it. Right now I’m testing out Google Talk for voicemail, but haven’t decided if I like it yet.

  6. Nothing worse, though, than someone programming you a ringback that you absolutely hate. Could be a good strategy to keep certain clients from calling???

  7. Great post… I agree that the wrong song can shut the door before a business relationship can start. (Rob Janson’s comment on choosing tenants based on their ringback, I can relate!) Personally, I get impatient when I have to listen to a lengthy section of a song, and THEN go to voicemail. It’s just another time waster (especially when I don’t enjoy the song!) It does allow for personality and an expression of dimension that sometimes is hard to express in an initial conversation. Having an initial commonality makes sense, too. For now, I probably won’t jump on that trend, but I will consider checking out YouMail (Thanks, Stephanie!) Keep on keeping us informed and conversing, Brian!

  8. Great post Brian – Love the way you mix humor with information that I can really use for my business. I LMAO and take notes all at the same time.

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