At this year’s Inman Connect San Francisco conference, speakers discussed everything from today’s unstable market to the best ways to maximize leads.

In today’s housing market, agents need to be prepared for the unexpected — by studying complex economic indicators or embracing online lead generation tactics, a trifecta of real estate leaders said during a pair of Inman Connect panels Tuesday.

Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, NAAAM Real Estate CEO Prabhjit Singh and Engel and Völkers real estate adviser Christine Smith all weighed in separately on the latest challenges to arise from a volatile economy and emerging technology, not to mention rapidly shifting policy on tax reform and government regulation.

In a session on current economic conditions, “How to Explain the Current Market to Your Clients,” Gardner implored Inman Connect San Francisco viewers during a live streaming panel not mistake the housing shortage now roiling markets nationwide for a freeze on home-buying, or a reason to shrink from the market.

“In the 1990s, the mortgage rates were at 10 percent and we still bought houses,” said Gardner, adding that reemerging worries of a ‘housing bubble’ are simply a “myth.”

Gardner advised real estate professionals to keep clients informed of changing mortgage rates and rising sale prices while also focusing on long-term goals like seeking out clients who are ready to sell. “Home prices will go up but so will mortgage rates,” Gardner said. “You always have to weigh one against the other.”

In another session, “Five Ways to Grow Your Online Leads Faster,” Singh and Smith discussed strategies to make the most of a brokerage’s online leads. For Smith, this means following up online interactions with clients who may be interested in buying a home by phone but keeping conversations casual — in other words, listening rather than insisting.

“When I call, I don’t have an agenda,” Smith said, adding that most of the time, clients who are truly interested in buying a home will lead the conversation. “I just want to have a conversation with them.”

Singh also stressed the importance of taking agent-client relationships from online to phone or in-person as quickly as possible. That way, the agent can make an impression while the memory of the online discussion is still fresh.

“You only have that little bit of time for them to get to know you,” Singh said. As a result, agents should focus on what a potential homebuyer is telling them and listen to their needs.

“As soon as you make the conversation all about them, you start building that rapport,” Smith added.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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