We live in uncertain times. In the wake of current social and economic changes, many agents and brokers are wondering what they can do to keep up with this new normal of work from home culture and social distancing. Afterall, human interaction is the basis for almost all of the business that agents do.
First, it’s important to stay positive. Keeping a positive mental attitude can be especially difficult if your business has come to a screeching halt, but take a moment to take a deep breath. Don’t panic. Channel the iconic WWII poster intended to raise the morale of the British public: Keep Calm and Carry on. Afterall, the virus and its effects are completely out of your control. There are, however, certain things within your control that you can do to keep your business afloat. If you succeed, your business may emerge even stronger after the pandemic has subsided and life returns to normal.
So in the spirit of keeping a positive mental attitude, try to look at this as an opportunity. Be honest with yourself and recognize those areas of your business that need improvement. This is your chance to make changes or enhancements that will pay off in the long run.
This industry has been changing rapidly regardless
It’s important to acknowledge that the industry is changing rapidly – even before the coronavirus hit. Consumers have more access to information, more options and more tools than ever. And the real estate transaction itself has become a small piece of the value that agents offer. This is causing lead conversion rates to drop and is making client retention increasingly difficult as consumers abandon agents for digital tools and iBuyers.
This is a perfect opportunity to reposition our industry. To win, agents need to move further up the funnel and start providing value outside of the transaction.
Reposition yourself as an advisor
As agents, we often go above and beyond to differentiate ourselves and make sure our clients don’t view us as just a salesperson. That being said, we typically don’t provide much value when clients are not looking to buy/sell. And I mean real value. Cupcakes, the occasional wine bottle, and follow-up drips are not value. They are advertising. You should be showcasing your skills and all of the knowledge you have in the real estate industry. Not your affinity for baked goods. If the client knows you are the real estate expert they should be addressing with questions, they will transact with you more and refer more new business.
Sharing advice on other things related to the home that doesn’t directly have to do with buying or selling will help you stand out. Things such as improving credit scores or unlocking home equity for a home renovation. Helping people check the boxes in anticipation of a transaction will keep them coming back to you.
A home is usually a person’s largest asset, so focus on the financial side of homeownership in these uncertain times. Make sure your clients are aware of low mortgage rates. This could also be a great way to deepen your lender relationships since they are currently focusing all their efforts on refinancing.
Pivot to nurturing contacts over new business
Many agents spend a large portion of their budget on lead generation. Rather than focusing on leads, take this opportunity to deepen relationships with your existing contacts. Not just clients, but leads that may have gone cold.
Quality content will set you apart during these times. Being more consistent with content will start to position you as an expert, grow your brand, and encourage inbound communication.
One particular product, Digs, is currently filling a big need for agents whose purchase business is taking a hit. Their core product is a savings app for first-time homebuyers.
“Over these last couple of weeks, we have seen an uptick of people joining our platform, and our current customers are using our product more.” says Pat McLoughlin, CEO of Digs. “Agents and lenders realize that many of their contacts that were looking to purchase in 2020 may be pushing their goals back a year. Our product helps the agent stay top of mind during that journey.”
Explore new tech that leverages your existing pipeline
Most of the time, our busy schedules make it hard for us to explore new technologies. For the foreseeable future we will all have a decreased workload, which gives us the opportunity to look closer at things that we may have put on the backburner.
We are often drawn to tech products that make the homebuying process easier, faster, or more enjoyable for our customers. However, there are a number of tech products that are geared towards unlocking the full potential of your pipeline. In addition to Digs, companies such as First and Remine are there to help you stay aware of your most relevant prospects.
Taking the time now to increase your efficiencies will pay dividends when the market shifts and you increase your outreach.
We don’t know exactly how long the Coronavirus will affect our way of life, but we do know it won’t be forever. Rather than dwelling on the negative impacts to your business, try to focus on the opportunities you have to reinvent yourself into a modern agent; an efficient agent; an agent that provides value to their clients before, during, and after the home sale.
While everything happening in the world right now is hardly a laughing matter, I would like to quote the comedian Geoge Lopez. “When things are bad, it’s the best time to reinvent yourself.”
Stay calm and focused. We will all get through this together and come out better than we were before.