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.