CraigsList Poster & Phone Answering Solution Needed

Friends -

As my mobile homes turn over, I need to place ads on CraigsList. I also need someone to answer the phone (our manager works a day job and can’t answer phones about 1/2 the day).

I’ve found CraigsList posters on sites like oDesk.com and Elance.com, but they seem to be for ‘mega’ operators needing 150+ ads placed per week. I need 1 ad per week. I’ve found similar difficulties finding a competent person/service to handle 35 calls/week and provide basic information (pricing, location, hours), as opposed to just taking a message as most answering services do.

Have you found any good solutions for CraigsList posting and phone answering?

Many thanks,

-jl-

Jefferson,

this begs the question - you can’t post ONE cl ad per week? Dude. B)-

The problem is that I’ve been blocked from posting on CraigsList. I have two dozen mobile homes - all at the same address. I do not know for certain why CL has blocked me, but I suspect their anti-spam algorithm thinks that because I post so much ‘for sale/rent’ at the same street address, I must be a spammer. But CL is notorious for not providing customer support; I don’t really know why I have so many problems with them.

So I need someone else at a different IP address to post to CL. AND I need that person to reply to the incoming e-mail inquiries and to handle the 50 calls/week these ads generate.

Surely Frank & Dave are not placing their own CL ads, and answering their own phones…?

There must be a solution out there somewhere…

Dude.

; )

all important things start or end with Dude. :smiley:

Here’s the deal - and boy you hit it right on the head about CL - they are a 0.0 minus 0 in the cust service arena - however, it is a free service ---- and AMAZING I may add.

So start another account. you got booted - yup, me too - many times. I just re-up with a new email address and roll on. I am running out of cell phones to verify with though. :smiley:

So for one ad, I bet you can wiggle around their silly rules - you are smarter than they are. :slight_smile: If you still want to farm it out, I respect that, I was just trying to solve your immediate issue - getting that home filled!

And BTW - I NEVER put an address in an ad. NEVER. Maybe that will help as well.

In regards to answering services - have you EVER had a good experience with one? Think Dr’s office, etc. Not me.

How we deal with that is calls go to the Greeter and/or Me - my voicemail says, ‘by far the best way to reach me is to text me’. And they do - then I tell them to call the greeter after X o’clock.

I hope this helps, amigo!!!

Dude.

Thanks! I’ve done the work-arounds with CL and do have an ad running, but am also running out of phone numbers to create PVAs.

I still want to hear how Frank & Dave handle the postings and inbound e-mails and calls.

Dude.

Jefferson,

You post a job on craigslist to find someone local to post ads for you. Since their IP Address is local the ads won’t get ghosted. Plus, the experienced posters already have multiple accounts, phone numbers, IP Addresses, etc. Let them worry about that stuff.

I usually pay $1.50 to $2.00/post and have them email me a link to each post so I can make sure they are posting the ads.

I also use Google Voice so my ad has a local area code. I can then direct the phone calls to any number.

In some markets, newspaper ads just don’t generate a sufficient ROI. Craigslist is the best for me. I also include a link to my website so they can see all the homes I have available, along with a video of the park, a map and a pre-qualification form.

Dave

1 Like

Jefferson,

My view is that it isn’t super important to have those calls answered and is actually beneficial if they leave a message because it weeds out the serious from the non-serious. As long as the call can be returned within 24 hours, that is still considered good business practice. I use google voice numbers on CL ads. I then turn on the setting to have it transcribe the caller’s message into an email and send it to me. It’s easier to keep track of how many calls are coming in and what their questions are. I take the 3 most common questions and answer them in my google voicemail message as well.

If that isn’t good enough for you, there’s always the JetBlue approach to this. Hire a stay-at-home mom in bunny slippers to handle all the calls. Easy to find at your local church. Train her to to use bluetooth while she changes diapers.

Hope this helps!

Nate

Answering service is the way to go. Mine handles web site & phone calls.

Craigslist - Guaranteed Live Ads - No Ghosting

Only $.99 each for guaranteed live ads. Pay-as-you-go. Bulk Pricing Available.

myclassifieds101@gmail.com

http://myclassifieds101.blogspot.com/

Skype: myclassifieds101

we log into our managers computer via teamviewer, and post from their machine. We do not put phone numbers in our ads- the must reply to us with a phone #… Every park has its own craigslist account, and we post 3-4 homes in each ad, not one home per ad… we have about 10 templates ads, all different wording, we can add in home info and photos into… We can have our odesk people do the posting- or sometimes we do it-

I want to point another thing out, while Dave’s park operations are impressive, they might not be to scale for your operations. Remember the more parks and spaces you have, the more job sharing you do between parks. If you have one or two parks, the systems people use for many parks do not fit. Dave might have enough parks spaces to be filled to justify a call line, while people with fewer parks and spaces need to adjust systems and cost benefit.

I for instance have a full time admin, and several part time admins on the virtual assistant side depending on my projects. So I can pick who I want to do what form all my choices. It works for me, because I am comfortable directing people using a computer, the do not need to be in my office for things to work.

In the long run, there is a good fit for what your looking to do, your management style and your skill sets… the fact is- without really knowing where you really sit in these areas, if is very difficult providing a caned solution to your situations…

Why do you not include your phone number…?

We mystery shop and track our manager’s sales weekly and, I’m pretty convinced from the statistics, that the managers who always answer the phone seem to have the higher results. There is definitely merit in answering the phone instead of letting it go to voicemail. The manager who answers promptly, gives the information with a smile and urges the caller to come out and look at the mobile home will always beat the manager who lets it go to voicemail and calls back later – at least that’s what our research shows.

1 Like

We have tried it all sorts of ways, and I am not big on posting phone numbers. There are web crawlers that pick up the numbers and add them to junk call lists, same thing with emails. So we choose to do it this way. Do we loose some sales, maybe. We also are able to track every lead, because when there is a reply- we have a copy. We also do not really have managers on call 24/7 to be answering phone calls on houses, so the managers can budget time each day to return calls etc.

For instance- if you called my office there is little chance you would get through to me. My admin would get your name, why your calling etc so I could be ready to talk to you.

Now if you have my cell number- odds are I answer- buy very few people have my cell number. That system, of managing my time, keeps me from being ambushed with phone calls when I am busy with other things.

Apply that same process to your managers. There are good times for them to return calls, and there are bad times. Most of my managers work full time jobs, and manage in the evenings and weekends.

So back to scale here- if your parks are big, like the ones Dave and Frank are buying with full time staff- Ring the office phone all day. They have staff there to answer calls. The reality of the parks Dave and Frank own are not in line with what I own. If they are small like mine- were we only have one full time manager, and the rest are part time- I think you need to respect the managers life outside of the park, and their job as well. If I post a phone #, people expect it to be answered. So the advise to have someone answer the phone full time is just not practical for me, therefore I need systems based on my scale of operations.

Most of the people on this forum operate smaller parks, so before you put a system into place you really need to look at the man hour cost, equipment cost etc… My advise comes from a guy that has 5 parks, in 4 states, the largest is 76 pads and the smallest is 37 pads. So I rely on systems to track what is happening, because I am just no onsite all that often. I do not have general managers, or regional managers, or lots of staff in my office.

Just to set the record straight, back in the old days when I had just one park, I took the sales calls myself on my cell phone. I did that until I got up to 400 lots, then I had my only full-time manager answer them for all the parks combined. At that first park, I got about five calls a day, and I answered all of them because I really wanted to get stuff sold. I carried two cell phones – one for me personally, and the other just for the phone numbers in the ads for mobile homes for sale or rent. As I bought more parks, I just kept answering that cell phone, adopting a (800) number for the ads and having them forward to the cell phone. If I was busy, I let it go to voicemail. I turned it off at night and let all the calls after about 10 pm go to voicemail, Then I returned the calls in the morning and started all over again. I didn’t mind the interruptions because I knew it was my best shot at getting homes out the door, and I kept doing it because it worked well. Having a sales background with my billboard company, I was trained to always answer customer’s calls, so that was how I’ve always set it up. I just wanted to clarify that, even before Frank & Dave got to 75 parks, we had just a park each, so we’re not that out of touch with the challenges of owning just a park or two. I can remember the day I transferred the (800) number to my full time manager, and my second cell phone no longer rang except to report problems. I really liked it better when it meant in-coming sales.

1 Like

I have 2 cell phone numbers the managers(she has a part-time job) and my rental only cell phone. I answer all calls or return the call and yes it takes time but it slacks off when all are rented and if I am having a lot of turn over the lease is broken so no deposit is returned and I do it all over again. I demand from all my tenants (and I have all kinds) a safe, drug free, quiet place for someone who makes minimum wage can live and raise there children. No one can promote my rentals and what we offer as well as me, with that being said I am not for answering service.

Anne,

Sounds like we’re working from the same business plan.

1 Like

It has worked for me since 1985 and still going strong.

If anyone needs help or some ideas on how to post on craigslist effectively, please email me at marketvertise at gmail.com. I am willing to give advice on how i successfully posted for over 3 years! I know how to get around the PVA’s for a VERY small fee and am working on proxy servers to help post in any area of the united states.

Hi Jefferson,

To get around the IP address block issue, you can use the TOR network. It’s an anonymous collection of particpating computers that even the spooks can’t crack. It will effectively change your IP every time you use it, and you can change IPs with a single click making you appear to come from any number of countries/cities.

https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en

As far as Craigslist account creation, I’m sure there are hack/spam tools that will create multiple accounts out there in single clicks. Or you can buy accounts pre-created in bulk.