Telephone Target Tactics!

Telephone Target Tactics

We have your Telephone Target Tactics!
You’ve accepted a shop and are ready to get started. What’s the next step?  For most mystery shops for Ellis, the telephone shop comes first.  If you have a “shop anyone” (aka random) with no target leasing agent, you can call the community at the number given in your shop instructions and speak with whoever answers the phone. 

But what if you have a target agent?  Many shops require mystery shoppers to speak with a particular employee on the phone and in the community.   Sometimes the most challenging aspect of a shop is to reach that person on the phone to conduct the phone shop before visiting the community.   Here are some tips on how to reach your target leasing agent as painlessly as possible.

  • Read the client specifications (aka instructions) carefully to ensure you call on the best times to reach that person.  Ellis doesn’t always know the leasing agent’s schedule, but we will tell you if we know they only work certain days.  Some shops include notes that your target agent will be working alone on certain days.  Those are obviously the best times to call.
  • If your target agent answers the phone, you are in luck!  Proceed with the call without ever letting on that you were hoping to speak with that person.  Be prepared that it may not be your target leasing agent who answers. 

What should you do if someone other than your target agent answers the phone?

  • Don’t just hang up on multiple calls when the wrong person answers.  You may occasionally do so, but a bunch of hang-ups over a short period of time will be a red flag that someone is being shopped.  Try to use various methods to end the call without creating a suspicion that you are a mystery shopper.
  • You may very occasionally say you have reached the wrong number, but don’t do that too often or it too can create suspicion.
  • You may try asking a quick question and then end the conversation as if you have your answer. “What elementary school is closest to your community?” or “Do you have washers and dryers or just hookups?” 
  • You could try asking for an entirely different person (other than your target or someone who has been answering on your other call attempts.)  When they say they have no one by that name, you can say you must be thinking of the wrong community.
  • Try calling at different times of the day, 3-4 times a day, for a couple of days.  (Some clients want mystery shoppers to make fewer calls than this, so always refer back to those client specifications for your shop.)

If you have made a few attempts to reach your target leasing agent without success, Ellis’ team may be able to permit you to ask for your target agent by name.  If this is the case, you should ask for them by their first name only, as giving their last name would not come naturally to a prospect.  They may ask how you learned of them or of the community.  You can say you were referred by a friend who considered that community when looking for her home.  Just don’t offer too much detail or get caught in a story that may trip you up as a mystery shopper.

As with any aspect of your shop, keep Ellis posted on your progress by clicking on the envelope icon next to the property’s name on your mystery shopper dashboard.  If you have asked for your target leasing agent and been told they are out for a few days, using the envelope is the best way to let us know.  We will get back to you quickly if we have any tips or changes to the process. 

Reaching your target agent isn’t always difficult, and it doesn’t have to be scary.  All of our team has done phone shops of our own, and we’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way. Don’t panic; maintain your anonymity as a mystery shopper, and keep us posted!  We are right here to help you along the way.

Help Them Help You

When you choose to work from home as a mystery shopper, you have several important responsibilities. One job is to create a space for the leasing agents to show their best performance. To do this, you want to make sure you take the focus off yourself as much as possible and instead allow the agent to take the lead. You’ll want to be sure to present yourself as an open, pliable leasing prospect.

Here are three great ways you can conduct yourself to allow the agent the best opportunity to succeed: 


The leasing agent should be doing more talking than you. Remember, your job is to respond, not lead the conversation. Of course, there may be some leasing agents who are more talkative than others, but that is okay; another part of your job is to be comfortable with silence.

The leasing agent should be aware of what his or her job consists of, so sit back and let them take the wheel and guide the conversation, both on the phone and on-site.  Be responsive and answer questions freely, but allow them to ask for the pieces of information they need. 


The more comfortable the leasing agent feels with you, the more he or she will feel inclined to complete their job thoroughly. A smile, especially a genuine one, can go a long way to creating a scenario where the leasing agent believes they can succeed in closing an apartment lease with you. 


Act like you are a real prospective resident. This means you should allow the agent to sell you on the community. If you do not like something about the apartment, use it as your objection for the leasing agent to overcome. This will sound more natural and believable. However, keep in mind that you are not really leasing, so you do not have to press too aggressively about your objection.

Apartment mystery shopping will become easier the more relaxed you are on the job!

Buy That Special Treat

1 Being a mystery shopper has helped me earn extra cash, since working a flexible job is a must for this stage of my life. My experience as a mystery shopper work well with my student schedule that has included mandatory hours of homework and study time. It also helps my family with life’s unexpected expenses.

The opportunities mystery shopping has provided me have been helpful in allowing me to earn extra money without having a fixed employment. I can schedule many shops and still allow me the opportunity to work days, nights, or weekends.

Now I can earn extra money to pay for those occasional unexpected incidentals, go on a shopping spree, or even to engage in an occasional treat of my favorite cappuccino drink so I can keep alert while doing my school work.

Finding a job with a day and hour flexibility option is a win-win scenario that works extremely well with my current schedule. If you have to juggle a family which allows little time to find a part-time job, or work a regular job, or are a student like me, then mystery shopping would probably work for you.

The flexibility in job hours and work days in mystery shopping has made this experience a very positive work environment that has allowed me to achieve my objective in life and, at the same time, earn extra cash for those unexpected expenses or special treats.

Good Credit Score?

okAre you someone who has good to excellent credit score? If so, then do not overlook those credit mystery shopping jobs since they offer higher payments amounts for those shoppers who have very good to excellent FICO scores, and if you do mind having a store run your creditability.

Most of these types of shops ask that you apply for a store credit card and will require that particular shop to run your FICO score.

If you do not mind having someone run a credit check and check your credit score, then most mystery shops can pay over $100 for a simple 20-minute visit. In addition to getting paid to do this mystery shopping job, you also obtain a store credit card too.  So, if you were already planning to apply for a store credit card or do not mind someone running your FICO score, then these shops might work to your advantage.

Most of these credit card shops that command a higher shopper payment are conducted at stores where a shopper pretends to purchase or apply for a home loan, a car, line of credit, or just apply for a store credit card.  Most consumer credit bureaus state that having someone run a credit check once every six month does not affect your overall credit score.

So if you were planning on obtaining a store credit card anyways or do not mind an occasional credit check to earn higher amounts of quick cash, then these are great shops to earn fast and higher amounts of money.

How To Prep For Your First Mystery Shop

How to Prep for First Mystery ShopThe goal of completing your very first mystery shop is two-fold.  You need to actually complete the shop and then you need to be able to get more mystery shops!   Your very first shop is key to learning the ropes and moving forward to becoming an expert mystery shopper.  Here are a few tips to help you along the way in completing your very first mystery shop.

Read Everything. The mystery shopping company you are working for will post documents to help you along the way with completing the shop.  You can find almost everything online or printed somewhere.

Do not be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions does not show a weakness but that you did your homework. A rule of thumb would be to send a several questions at one time versus one question per email. I know this should go without saying yet it has happened several times.

Release the need to be perfect. You may or may not complete the perfect shop the first time around. That is ok. It really is,  just know what you absolutely need to remember to complete the shop and go from there.

Get it done. This is your first shop. You may forget something, you may not. Either way, you will survive.
Do not be discouraged. You can always ask questions. Read the documents posted about the actual mystery shop and any additional information about being a mystery shop, in general, is available as well.

Great, hopefully you are excited to prep for your first shop. It will get easier yet you must start somewhere.

Remember that you can always reach out to the mystery shopping staff with questions. Just make sure to do your homework and read all of the documents beforehand to show that you have put in your due diligence as well.

Mystery Shopping For The Holidays!

Shop for the holidays!Thanksgiving has ended and is closely followed by the holidays of Chanukah and Christmas. Extra cash is always needed during this time frame and making fast cash always seem difficult, but not if you work with mystery shoppers.

The thought of finding side job may create an image of standing in long lines at the unemployment office for hours on end or waiting at the temporary job agency, and then you still have to wait weeks for someone to call you for a job. That is not the case with mystery shopping jobs.

These shops allow you to make extra money even if you hold down a full-time job, or go to school, or maybe you are a stay at home mom.  You can earn money in just a few hours.

Just spending 15 minutes on the computer can begin your journey to making a couple of hundred of dollars in a short time. Wouldn’t a couple of hundred dollars help you during the holidays? It is all up to you on how much time you want to put in to make some extra cash for the holidays.

Mystery shopping jobs are flexible part-time jobs and the majority of them only require a couple of hours to complete an assignment. A vast majority of mystery shopping jobs can fit into any schedule, since they can be done either in the morning, afternoon, evening, or even on weekends. All you need is access to a computer and just need to sign into several mystery shopping companies.

Everyday, you can view numerous job opportunities and you can assign these jobs to yourself immediately. With mystery shopping jobs, you can just log into several websites and view hundreds of job opportunities and assign them to yourself immediately. These shops pay between $30 to $250 or more, depending on the job, and some can only take a couple of hours. Most mystery shops pay within 30 to 60 days and even doing just a couple of hours can generate you a couple hundred dollars. So shop and get paid for the holiday season!

Students, School and Storage

Students, School, and StorageIt’s that time of the year again for the annual pilgrimage back to school. Stores have posted signs for great deals and the students show no signs of happiness. The students attending the institutions of higher learning generally head back toward the end of August with public and private school children returning anywhere from now to the end of August.

I’ve noticed that in recent years the trek back to college is a little more involved than I originally thought.

As a mystery shopper, I can site some examples of the process. I see an increasing number of students that are returning to campus to earn their degrees while living in off-campus housing. When engaging in apartment mystery shopping I have observed students residing in a variety of housing arrangements including luxury high-rise apartments. In “ancient times” living in other than campus housing meant a small apartment nearby shared with a friend or two. Interestingly that has all changed. Many apartment management companies I come in contact with tell me that although they cannot discuss demographic information due to Fair Housing Laws, they are leasing to students with certain restrictions. During a recent mystery shopping experience, I had the opportunity to ask a recent graduate if there was a shortage of college housing/dorms. She told me the dorms had strict rules and they want the freedom to come and go as they want. If a two-bedroom apartment rents for $2000 a month and it’s split four ways, it’s a done deal and affordable.

While mystery shopping at self-storage facilities, I noticed that college students are very busy just before school starts with cleaning out their storage spaces to move their possessions into the apartments rented for the next term. These facilities get busy very quickly as students begin using hand trucks and anything else they can get in order to move items of various sizes and furniture. Once this is completed, storage facilities will once again have room for everyone else. And, of course, just the opposite happens at the end of school year. The stuff goes back in and they go home.

Was I spotted as a Shopper?

OOps! I think I was caught!When I first started mystery shopping I felt certain I was made by clerks as a shopper.  I started looking at things differently and was really concerned about being spotted as a shopper.  What would I do if they confronted me?  I did several shops that required pictures.  How do you inconspicuously take pictures in a fast food place?  Of course, over time my presentation became much smoother and more natural.

I started doing more target shops lately, where you must shop a specific person.  Sometimes these can be tricky and take a lot more time than a standard shop.  Then, there are times when you are told to specifically ask for your target and say something like, a friend recommended you.  When they ask for your friend’s name and you tell them,  then you have to state your friend’s boyfriend gave her the name and you don’t know his name.  Now, that is a feasible story, but I have gotten some weird looks when stating such things.

Sometimes you make phone calls and try to get a specific person.  This is tricky.  If it is not who you were supposed to talk to, you get a little tired of asking how late the office is open, hanging up, or stating you have the wrong number.  It makes me feel as if they may catch on with five calls in a day that it is the same voice over and over again.

Rest assured, most of the time the amount of traffic at the location you are shopping is so high they will not know you are a shopper.  And, just the fact that you are approaching the matter from a shopper’s perspective makes you over analyze things and make great strides to not be detected.  No matter what happens always stay in character and keep your story the same.  Sometimes you might need to embellish a bit, but keep it as simple as possible if you can.  And know that many companies know they are shopped on a regular basis.  There are times when an employee may be able to determine you are a shopper, but for the most part it will be business as usual.

Modeling Mystery Jobs

Modeling Mystery Jobs

Some mystery jobs might help those who want to enter modeling or acting type jobs.  These mystery jobs provide additional side work on a flexible schedule and help to get your face and acting abilities known in the industry.  Modeling shops tend to focus in the fashion industry.  They focus on face and body and usually ask you submit a photograph of yourself, along with your measurements.


These companies look for a particular type of people to represent their products and review your pictures and contact you if an event matches the look they want to project.  These shops update your portfolio in the modeling and acting industry, since they focus on physical looks and acting ability.  They also offer you exposure to this fashion industry since some jobs involve attending certain events to advertise their products to other clients, and you get to meet other people in this arena.

Normally, these mystery jobs offer a casting type call and are looking for various looks for their events.  This industry looks for all types of looks and do not just include attractive looking people or individual with beautiful features that have nice hair, eyes. They also search for regular looking individuals since they also advertise for typical family members, intellectual people, working people, or everyday people for certain advertisements, so do not think your look does not have a voice in this industry.

These mystery type jobs allows you to continue to visit and work with your main modeling or acting talent agency while allowing you to make additional money.  Also, since these shops are offered several days a week, you get adjust your working days with your schedule and until the right client signs you for your modeling or acting job.


Time Share Mystery Shopping

Time Share Mystery ShoppingPerhaps you remember when time-shares came in to the picture. Today they are still around, and there are time-shares around the country. Mystery shoppers would be able to find one near to where there is a major attraction or metropolitan city.

Time-shares are for people who rent a block of time usually days to stay in a hotel or villa. People pay an initial fee. Afterwards they are required to block or choose a segment of time in the beginning of the year. Vacation spots can be in high attraction areas such as Disney World or even a great Golf community for adults.

The companies who sell the timeshares sometimes ask mystery shoppers to attend a meeting to see the presentation. Like any other shop, the mystery shopper needs to be objective and tell what they see. The presenter will try to see the package but the shopper is not required to buy into the program.

The fun part of the assignment is the gifts you will get as the salesperson tries to get you to buy. So besides your pay, you could possibly get gift certificates for two at a restaurant or a certificate for drinks. Sometimes the presenter will even give you cash.

If you are signed up with mystery shopping companies, you may get a chance to do a time-share shop. You should take the assignment. It could be a learning experience as well as good pay. You may even decide to buy a time-share and have a place to vacation in the coming year.