Cellphone Etiquette for the Reverse Mortgage Professional
OK, you’ve got your Reverse Focus mobile phone app. It’s a fabulous new convenience for staying up to the nanosecond on the reverse mortgage industry so you can better serve your clients. But think twice about how and when you use that phone.
In the old days, before businesspeople had cell phones grafted to their hips or ears like indispensable appendages, the rules of etiquette for phone use at work were simple: you made and returned business calls, didn’t answer the phone during a meeting, and hoped staff didn’t make too many personal calls on company time.
Mobile phones changed everything. While it’s now comical to see teens sitting together, texting the person next to them, this behavior isn’t very funny in a business environment. A professional who plunks a smart phone onto the desk at the start of a meeting is essentially announcing to the prospect or client that an incoming call trumps present company. There’s no quicker way to nix a budding business relationship — especially with seniors.
Here are eight tips for minding your mobile manners, so you’ll keep clients, colleagues and everyone else around you happy — and possibly boost business in the bargain:
1. Don’t just hold the phone — hide it. Remember the ’60s slang, “outasight”? That’s what your cell phone ought to be in any business situation. Unless you’re a head of state or expectant father, there’s little that can’t wait. And if you do keep the phone on your person, set it to “vibrate”.
2. Choose a dignified ringtone. Sure, you’ll receive non-business calls. But how will you feel if your cell starts playing hip-hop music when you’re about to meet with a reverse mortgage prospect? Not very hip…
3. Keep your voice down. For some reason, people using cell phones seem to think the person they’re talking to is partially deaf. Nobody wants to hear your conversation…and if you happen to be sitting in the airport, catching up on calls while awaiting your flight, do you want everyone around you to know the intricacies of your reverse mortgage business — or your client’s private details?
4. Be brief. Ever sat in a restaurant and heard the intimate details of someone’s love life via their cell conversation? Not appetizing. Many eateries now post notices that they are “cell phone free zones”. If you must make or receive a call in a public venue, be quick, and arrange to talk at length later if necessary.
5. Turn your phone off at all times in the following places: museums, cemeteries, theaters, dentist or doctor waiting rooms, places of worship, hospital emergency rooms — and public restrooms. You really can wait to conduct business until you’ve finished that other business.
6. Act the part. You may look at each incoming number and determine how to answer based on who’s calling, but the one time you forget, it’s a key reverse mortgage prospect to whom you’ve just said, “Yo, dude!” Ouch. Choose a professional greeting and use it consistently: “Hello, this is Jim” or “ABC Reverse Mortgage, Susan speaking.”
7. Respect personal space. When you’re talking in public, follow the dictum of the tune by The Police, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”. Try to stay at least ten feet from anyone else while on the call.
8. Never talk or text while driving. Cell phones may not contain alcoholic content, but if you’re talking at the wheel, you’re driving while impaired — even if you use a hands-free earpiece. Texting is even more dangerous; a number of severe accidents have been caused by someone text messaging while driving. In addition, in many states using a hand-held device while driving is now against the law.