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It seems like there’s a lot of information — and some misinformation — about what’s going on right now with COVID-19. As leaders of sales teams and agents, it’s hard to navigate what we should and shouldn’t be passing on to our team.
I’ve made the decision to try and lead my team from a place of confidence. I let my agents know what I believe to be true, while giving them advice on how to protect themselves and their clients so they can feel safe doing their jobs. Here are five things I’ve instilled in my team so they can better decide what they should and shouldn’t do in this crisis.
1. Talk to people
Use this opportunity to talk to as many potential buyers, past and current clients. Virtually everyone in the world (except for a large group of extremely irresponsible spring breakers) is home right now.
There’s no better time to call people who are probably more willing to chat right now than ever before. This is the most important and best use of time right now for salespeople.
2. Don’t make predictions
When you call these people, don’t make predictions. This current situation could go either way. It could last for several months or it could be over in six to eight weeks. We simply don’t know. But we can talk about what’s happening in our own markets right now.
At the time I wrote this, we had several agents experience losses in a multiple-offer situation. The same number of agents had buyers who decided to drop out of the contract within their inspection period. We had investors get cold feet, and we also had investors who pulled money out of the stock market to invest in real estate.
It’s a mixed bag. The point is: tell the truth. The goal here isn’t to sell. It’s to establish a relationship. If you’re trying to sell in a time of crisis, people will see right through that.
3. Be safe, and don’t do anything that makes them uncomfortable
If agents are young and healthy, and they’re comfortable showing properties, they can do so as long as they’re practicing the guidelines that the medical community is advising us to do. Wash your hands frequently, carry disinfectant, and practice social distancing. Don’t meet a client and ride with them in the car. Don’t shake hands.
When you open the door, use a glove, and disinfect the door and anything that may have been touched. During all of this, make sure to wash your hands when you get in the showing and on the way out. Feel free to ask your clients if they’re feeling sick.
Be safe. You can practice social distancing while serving your client. However, if you’re over the age of 60, you might want to think really hard about whether you do any of this. Consult your doctor if you have any doubts.
4. Offer virtual showings for buyers
This is a great service for potential buyers. But again, be safe. Feel free to wear a mask or even a bandana. This is not a time to look cool. This is a time for precaution. Do a Facebook live or Zoom call or Facetime — but only if the property is vacant, or if you’re absolutely sure there’s no chance of an infected person previously being there.
5. Don’t feel obligated to offer an open house
This could potentially be a risk. If there’s a chance that 20 people show up (and there obviously is), then don’t do it. I’m erring on the side of caution and advising against it right now. See a vacant property that you want to show off, and do it virtually. Remember to disinfect it first.
Make sure that anything you do or advise your agents to do is within the guidelines or rules of your city, state and national recommendations. You don’t want to give advice that’s contrary to what we’re being told.
Currently, in Austin, we haven’t been told not to show houses. We’ve been told to not gather in groups of more than 10. Meeting a client at a property you want them to see, while exercising precaution, seems to be within the guidelines of the authorities at this time. The moment that changes is the moment this piece of advice goes out the window.
We have a responsibility as leaders to guide our people with confidence in what they should or shouldn’t be doing. You have to make sure that when you offer advice, that you do so with a disclaimer. Your team members should only do something if they’re absolutely comfortable with it, and if it’s within the guidelines issued by authorities.
Be safe, don’t panic, and be the leader of your team.