COVID-19 is changing the way all of us conduct business. Here are some things Realtors can do during times of crisis to keep the pipeline flowing.
Now is the time for real estate agents to shine!
Selling homes is rarely straightforward. Though there are always those deals that require almost no effort on the Realtor’s part, they are the exceptions that prove the rule.
That means if you’re a Realtor, you’re a hardy, hard-working, and insightful person. You know how to turn adversity around. And you’ve found ways to convert even the hardest situations into opportunities for yourself and your client.
Today is no different.
However, the novel coronavirus has likely hobbled the way you’re used to doing business. All networking events are on hold. Meetings with prospects and referral partners over coffee may be on hold as well. And your clients may suddenly seem skittish, feel unsafe at showings, or surprise you by putting their plans on hold.
But during a crisis, unique opportunities open up to those interested in buying or selling real estate. We saw this during the Financial Crisis of 2007 through 2008, and we’re seeing it today. Get out ahead of the current concerns, stay in the game, and keep things flowing for you and those counting on you right now.
1. Arm yourself with reliable information.
Above all things, the well-being of our clients should be the priority in any business, especially the people-driven world of real estate. Though you want to help people complete a transaction as quickly and painlessly as possible, you want to make sure you’re doing all you can to keep others out of harm’s way.
The challenges to safely doing business are everywhere, however, which is why you need up-to-date and levelheaded information.
Generally, the guidance is what you’ve likely already heard:
- Wash your hands frequently (or use hand sanitizer)
- Avoid touching your face with your hands
- Keep your distance from others in social situations
- Stay home if you’re sick—and encourage buyers, sellers, and others to do the same
The next challenge is putting these ideas into practice while making everyone you work with both at ease and safe.
2. Leverage the Power of Video Conferencing
There are several ways to use Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype to keep your pipeline full and business moving forward.
First, if you were hoping to meet someone for coffee or just touch base at a networking event, don’t put them off until things change. Hop on a video chat and spend a few minutes face-to-face, allowing people to read your reactions.
Though it’s tempting to look elsewhere during video chats (and sometimes you have to), remain as engaged as possible. Turn off notifications on your computer and phone before the call starts. And do your best to look into your webcam rather than at the various options on your screen—it’s the next best thing to eye contact.
Also, let your clients and other Realtors know you’re planning to conduct virtual showings. Though you may have to cancel an open house, most of the interested parties may be willing to take a tour of the home over a FaceTime call with you.
It’s also a way to find out if a buyer is even interested in a particular house without them having to come to your location. As you walk through the home virtually, you may save them time and provide them with an even better customer experience.
3. Communicate In-Person Policies Ahead of Time
When you need to get together with others, don’t leave those interactions open to chance. Let the people you’re meeting with know how you plan to keep them, as well as yourself, safe.
Communicate that you won’t be shaking hands, and let others know what your alternative is. It will save you that awkward moment of someone extending their hand to you without reciprocation.
Stay home if you’re experiencing cold or flu symptoms. Even if it’s a minor cough, you’ll breach trust with your client if they think you’ve put them at risk. Also, ask others to cancel or seek a remote alternative if they’re sick or have recently traveled out of the country.
If meeting with others in your space, communicate your disinfection plan. (See here for the CDC’s recommendations.)
If meeting with your client in someone else’s office, make sure they have concrete disinfection procedures and interaction guidelines in place. (Here is True Title’s policy.)
Now may not be the best time to drive clients to showings. If you must, however, let people know your disinfection procedure before and after they’re in your car.
If you’re asking someone to sign a contract, ask them to bring their pen (or be willing to give them a pen to keep). Bring a pen for yourself as well.
4. Find opportunities for clients unique to the moment.
Yes, this is all awkward and off-putting. But it’s also a fantastic moment for those getting ready to complete a real estate transaction.
First, as 10-year Treasury bonds have hit record lows and the Fed has slashed interest rates to bolster the economy, your buyers may be able to secure an incredibly low-interest rate on their mortgage. Second, since much of the real estate market is on “pause,” they’ll compete against fewer buyers.
Also, as the stock market is showing itself more volatile, it may be advantageous to remind people of the historically stable returns of real estate investments.
Sellers may have a unique opportunity right now, too. People who were planning to put their house on the market may have held back. It may be the ideal time to have your property listed as part of the currently available inventory. And, as mentioned earlier, buyers will be motivated to lock in their low-interest rates as soon as possible.
For those who might be on the fence, use your social media, personal contacts, and CRM to share these possible opportunities. You might have a prospect ready to convert if they could only receive a little reassurance.
5. Position yourself for life after the crisis.
If things slow down for you, it may be time for you to catch up on a few task items you’ve hoped to do.
First, is there a class you’ve wanted to take but haven’t had the time? If so, grab the opportunity so you can move your career forward when things start to move again. There are many online options and opportunities available from a variety of sources—even free ones through your public library.
Second, a leaner schedule might allow you to build a lead-nurturing system. We’ve detailed an excellent one here. Putting something like this in place will position you to ride the next wave.
And people who have put their real estate decisions on hold until after things settle down will have had recent contact with you. They’ll have a reason to call you when they’re ready to make a move.
Remember, True Title has your back.
We take this time of uncertainty seriously. As mentioned earlier, we’ve strengthened our policies and procedures to keep people as safe as possible during an outbreak (read more here). We also want to make sure you have the information, advice, and referrals you need to be successful.
If there’s anything we can do to help you close more deals—even during times like these—let us know.