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Why You Must Have a Virtual Phone System

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Jonathan Osman

Jonathan Osman

By Jonathan Osman

Eight months ago, I started investigating the idea of buying my own telephone system.  With my mobile number on every sign that I owned and in every ad, I received calls at all hours of the day and night, which got old fast.  The idea of simply turning off my ringer at night was not an option either since I no longer have a land-line at home.

After discovering how expensive it would be to purchase, install, and operate my own phone system, I discovered a number of virtual phone systems that are currently available; the most popular being Google Voice.

For the solo agent or for personal use, Google Voice is a must-have.  Google Voice is free to register (although you must be invited) and you can order a “local” number to receive voicemail and text messages.  You can even dial out using either the Google Voice website or the free mobile app.  Both the app and the website will mask your real phone number with your Google Voice number.  I love using voicemail through Google Voice because the voice-to-text transcription allows me to read an e-mail of a voicemail even though the translations are hit or miss.

For groups or agents demanding more robust features, I would highly recommend a paid virtual phone system through a service like RingCentral, Grasshopper (formerly Got Vmail), or Phonebooth.  All have the capabilities to provide you with a local number, a toll free number, e-fax, company directory, VoIP, and more.  When a client dials in, a recording directs them to the department or extensions which are available. 

The best part about a virtual phone system is that the extension can be anything from a voicemail box to a seamless transfer to any other phone, including a cell.  With multiple extensions available, you can assign one to each member of your team along with your preferred vendor partners…even your broker.  In addition, users can dial out through the virtual phone system by using a smart phone app, VoIP through the computer, or dialing through the system.

The virtual phone system that I signed up for allowed me to create a call queue, much like you would find in any call center.  Whenever a client calls our phone number and presses 4, they are entered into a queue that rings my buyer agents for a quick response.  I can choose how and in what order the calls are delivered along with seeing if anyone rejected a call or failed to pick up.  For example, I can choose to have my buyer agents ring simultaneously or in succession while the caller listens to on-hold music or pre-recorded information.

With most systems charging less than $60 a month and additional equipment not necessary, it makes sense for every agent to explore the potential of having their own virtual phone system.

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Comments 15

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  2. Thanks for mentioning Phonebooth!

    With Free Phonebooth and Phonebooth OnDemand ($20 per user per month for unlimited use), we think that small businesses will be able to save tons of money on their phone systems.


    If you have any questions or would like to try Phonebooth out, let me know!

    Chris Moody

  3. Hosted VoIP is the technology that you are describing. You are right on when you describe what the system can do for you as opposed to focusing solely on costs.

    Hosted VoIP will allow you to create a professional telecommunications system for your agents where ever they are. You can have a receptionist, that works from home, answer incoming calls to your primary company number and transfer those calls to your agents where ever they are including cell phones. You can add an Auto-Attendant to handle after hours and overflow calls the same way a live receptionist does.

    You can set up special phone numbers for events or big producers that will ring only on certain agents phones essentially allowing you to create a mini real estate company inside your main company.

    There is a lot that you can do with a Hosted VoIP phone system.

  4. Thanks for the feedback. I’m a huge fan of the technology and I predict that more brokerages will ditch the traditional big office, desk and phone and move more to the cloud VoIP setup if they realize the technology existed.

  5. You might also try services that are targeted directly to the real estate industry. Call capture virtual phone systems have been around for a while and are specifically designed for running advertising campaigns. An individual agent can get all of the services described above (voicemail, extensions, call forwarding, etc.) plus the added benefit of things like Name & Address capture.

    You learn more about this kind of service here: http://bit.ly/ap1tng

    And also http://www.freedomvoice.com for another high quality virtual phone system provider, been around since 1997. Offers both fully-virtual (no equipment needed) and hosted VoIP solutions.

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  7. I’m an Acctount Manager for RingCentral . YOUR PHONE SYSTEM EVERYWHERE
    For as low as $14.99 per month you can.

    Have multiple extension that can be used for Voice Mail-Greeting or for trasfers to another agent.
    1. Connect your office and prefered vendors with one main number and extensions.
    2. Post your main # with an extension on your yard signs. When extension number is entered. you can leave a greeting message that gives details about that listing and at end of message the can be trasfered to a buyers agent.
    3.Recieve calls during business hours. Prevent calls from coming in during the middle of the night. You set the rule.

    Just a few ways Realitor can take advantage of a cloud based phone system

    If you have questions i can be reached at 800-574-5290 ext 0010

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  9. Hi Jonathan,

    All Call Technologies provides a totally customized virtual phone system for realtors and property managers. Our service is unique in that we can customize our system for exactly what the client needs. We also have features that are not available with other services like Call Announce, Call Rotation and Local Number Listing. We will also assist in setting up the call forwarding from an existing office phone system for the client.

    We have been in business since 2005 and about a year ago launched All Call Technologies to serve clients across the US.

    Neil, this is not a hosted VoIP although many people misunderstand the service like that. Hosted VoIP is there you actually have a VoIP dial tone provider “hosting” your phone service. The services described in the article are closer to a Virtual PBX although we can provide SIP services as well.

  10. A phone system comprises multiple telephones used in an interconnected fashion that allows for advanced telephony features such as call handling and transferring, conference calling, call metering and accounting, private and shared voice message boxes, and so on. A telephone system can range from just a few telephones in a home or small business up to a complex private branch exchange (PBX) system used by mid-sized and large businesses.*

    Please do browse our very own online site

  11. Cell phones can be hooked into the network as well, making it possible to forward land line calls directly to cell phones quickly and easily.

  12. Jonathan, you make some great points here as to why allowing a reputable company provide a phone system rather than trying to set one up yourself. There’s so many benefits from a VoIP system, many of which you hit on in the article, that make it so appealing. As a realtor, I know how much you are on the road, so having call forwarding to your mobile device is great for staying connected, but also solves the issue of calls at night. You can have those go to your office phone, you’re sleeping for godsakes! Another great benefit is ease at which you can expand your system. Need a new line, simple! Your provider could set that up in minutes. I really hope that switching to VoIP has increased your efficiency and in turn sales, I’ve heard so many good stories about the switch. Maybe you could provide us an update as to how it’s working out for you. Thanks!

  13. I would like to add one more point in this article
    * It’s high quality (honestly!) – There have been vast improvements in sound quality and now calls can take place with standard phones as well as IP phones.

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