Sunday, May 28, 2017

Phone number local to your area seems to matter for selling Real Estate

After spending 22 years in northern Illinois my wife and I decided to move back to the east coast and settle in the general area where a majority of our family lives.  We also decided to keep our cell phone numbers, with the Illinois area code, because we've had them so many years.   While we were settling into the area our "Illinois" phone numbers didn't seem to be an issue.  We'd make phone calls and people would answer.  I suspect this is because we were calling someone we already knew or calling a business who most likely didn't care what the caller ID was showing.

Now that I'm working in real estate calling people who don't know me, I think my Illinois phone number has prevented me from reaching potential customers because of the caller ID showing "Illinois" call.  Since I'm licensed to sell real estate in VA and WV,  this "potential" barrier needs to be eliminated if I'm going to have any success.  I didn't really want a new phone or a new phone number.  What I really wanted was to be able to use my current cell phone, keep my old number, and add a new one.  I looked for a phone that could actually have two SIM cards and therefore two phone numbers.  There are very few options for a device like that and most are in Europe.  I also explored the various "virtual" phone number options.  Unfortunately they all have costs involved and some don't support text messaging.   Just when I was giving up and about to go the dual phone route, I found a solution to the problem.  Google Voice!   It's not perfect, but it's workable.   If you're looking for a "second" phone number to use with your existing phone and you also want to keep your current number you should give Google Voice a try.  It's free,  you can receive and make calls with a new phone number and you can text from that new number too.

The general steps are as follows:

  • Create a Google account if you don't already have one.  If you don't have one, what have you been waiting for?
  • After you've created your Google account then goto http://www.google.com/voice and setup a phone number.   I picked a WV area code for my new Google voice phone number.   NOTE:  You "might" be able to setup the new number by installing the app mentioned in this next step.  I did not do that but it "seemed" possible.
  • After you have a Google Voice phone number you can simply download and install the Google Voice App to your phone.  There are apps available or iPhone and Android just like any other app you have downloaded and installed. 
  • When you install the application on the phone pay attention to the questions prompted by the installation.  You'll be asked how you want to use the Google Voice number with your device.  There were 3 options on the Android phone I used.   I could dial out with my devices phone number, the google voice number, OR have the phone prompt me before each call.   I choose the prompt because I am going to selectively call out with this new number.
If you followed those basic steps you have 2 phone lines now on your own device.  You should spend some time reviewing how Google voice can be configured.   I have the Google voice number forwarded automatically to my devices phone number.  Because I'm forwarding the calls my phone see's the incoming call from that new number.  Since I'm using my new number for my real estate work, I've also setup a contact in my phone for that Google Voice number, so I know when someone is calling me about real estate.

If you need another phone number to use with your existing device, and don't want to give up the phone number you already have, a Google Voice number might be the solution for you.

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