How to beat a smartphone addiction when you’re an estate agent

Claustrophobia, arachnophobia, acrophobia...these are well-known fears affecting a significant portion of our population. However, there is a lesser-known phobia that’s starting to affect more and more of us: nomophobia. 

Def: the irrational fear of losing or not having access to one’s mobile phone.

If you feel twitchy when your phone’s battery reaches dangerously low levels, or when it isn’t close by, then we need to talk. 

Not sure if this is for you? Here’s a fun test. (Spoiler alert: almost 70% of us show signs of nomophobia, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re surprised by the results.)  

Mobile phone: the fifth limb

These days, we’re all attached to our mobile phones. It’s evolution: they’ve almost become an extension of the human arm. As if that wasn’t enough, now we’ve got smart watches—so even if we did happen to leave our mobile phone in another room, we’re still reachable and connected. All. The. Time. 

It’s easy to see how the average adult spends just shy of 4 hours on their phone every day. (Keep in mind that that’s the average person, pre-lockdown - not those whose job requires them to be glued to the dial button.)  Spread that over a week, and you’ve got a lot of wasted hours.

What’s more, new evidence shows all this smartphone use is harming our minds. There may be a link between excessive mobile use and slowing neurons, meaning poorer attention and control. This leaves you more vulnerable to distractions. 

It's a vicious cycle, and we’re here to help you end it. 

Putting a stop to mobile addiction in real estate 

It sounds a bit crazy, we know. A tech company telling you should use your phone less. But it’s not what you’re thinking. We’re not going to spout yet another digital detox (i.e. the juice cleanse of the 21st Century). This is about real, practical things you can do to put a stop to the mindless scrolling and finger twitches.  

Going digitally ‘cold turkey’ can have major repercussions. Realistically, you need these screens for work, play and everything in between. It’s difficult. So, when we say ‘detox’, all we’re talking about is reigning in your usage and finding a happy medium. 

We know you need your mobile phone

Your client’s needs and expectations have changed drastically in the last decade. Over 40% of consumers expect a reply within the hour, and 52% of consumers are willing to pay a premium price for greater speed and efficiency. What’s more, following up online leads in 5 minutes or less makes you 9 times more likely to convert. This isn’t new news - we’ve written about it before. And it extends past normal office hours. 

Plus, you’re constantly on the move. Real estate isn’t a desk job! You can’t wait to get back to your desk to make calls or respond to leads. 

But all of this means you’re more at risk of mobile phone addiction than the general population.

So, what can you do about it?

The goal is to minimise the wasted time spent on your mobile phone. 

Giving yourself a window of time to step back from the noise and tune into what really matters to you leads to greater productivity. 

Here are our top 4 ideas to help you do just that:

  1. Set up an standard reply email to applicants for each listing

We know you’re more likely to get business if you make a great first impression - and you make a great first impression by answering enquiries, pronto. But there’s no reason why you can’t make it easier on yourself, so you’re not spending your evenings glued to your email.  

Usually, portal enquiries ask for a price guide or to set up an inspection. So, you could set up a mail merge template containing listing details, e-brochure links and more. Why not include some information about yourself too, while you’re it? 

Mail merge functionality allows you to make use of letter and email templates so your communications are always well thought out and on-brand, at the click of a button. And you don’t have to dig around for the right documents every time!

  1. Set up a general auto-responder for everything else  

Add an auto-responder to every contact form on your website to let people know you’ve received their email and when you’ll be able to get back to them. 

This helps manage expectations and goes a long way to making people feel like they’re valued, and managing expectations is the key to winning more clients in the long run.  

  1. Update your website FAQs and blog regularly 

A person might want to know what documents they should bring to an auction, recommendations for a building and pest inspector, and so on... why not put it all on your website and allow people to self-select the information that is relevant to them?

This one’s a double whammy. They’re still getting the information from you, so your brand is still working hard—but your inbox isn’t filling up with the same questions again and again. You can feel more confident putting your phone away in the evening knowing that your website has plenty of information for potential applicants to peruse. You’ll also help boost your SEO!

Plus, it’ll give you a little something extra to pop in your newsletters.  

  1. Take the pain out of courtesy comms  

Birthday text messages and anniversary emails are nice touch-points to remind past clients of the great service you’ve provided them in the past, and an important part of generating long term and referral business… but they can be a big drain on your time and resources. It’s hardly the kind of thing you want to be actioning at the end of a long day, when you’re winding down at home. 

You could set up a calendar reminder for the birthdays and first year sales anniversaries of each and every one of your past sellers, and manually type out a message when the big date rolls around. However, let’s say you sell one listing a month and you’ve been in business for 5 years. That’s 60 listings in total, so 10 first year anniversary messages and up to 120 birthday messages. That’s a lot of messages to type, and the cost of addressing someone with the wrong name or getting a birthday wrong is quite embarrassing. 

With Rex’s tracks and mail merge functionality, all you need to do is add a track to a contact record and all your letters, emails and SMSs are taken care of. It’s like putting your correspondence on autopilot. Time for that warm lead’s three month touch point? Vendor’s celebrating a birthday? At the start of the day, Rex will surface a reminder telling you what comms need to go out that day, together with the right email, letter or SMS template for you to send (or print) with one click. 

Bonus tips for general phone health:

  • Use your phone as an alarm clock? Set it to airplane mode. 
  • Put your phone in a central place when you return home and go to the location of the phone (rather than carrying it around with you) if you need to check it.
  • Set aside two continuous hour blocks of tech-free time every week. This can be scheduled on a weekend day if it’s impossible during the workweek.
  • Refrain from scrolling while exercising.  
  • Use the app Moment to monitor your usage patterns.
  • Delete any unnecessary addictive apps off your phone, and move your social media apps to a designated folder off the main screen. Out of sight, out of mind.

Your mobile phone is a powerful tool that can save you time. However, it can also be a big time-waster. Follow the above steps to break the habit and take back some of that time—while continuing to provide a great experience for your clients!  

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