Even though every day, we hear new developments and restrictions on the daily freedoms we’re so used to, the real estate industry seems to be mostly business-as-usual.
I’m really concerned that there’s a serious level of a false sense of security taking place right now. Many of us are currently busy because of the actions and work we did in February, before the coronavirus crisis really escalated.
When it comes to sales and income, I’m not worried about right now — or even the next two to three weeks. Instead, it’s the next 30 to 60 days that I’m thinking about, even if things do return to some level of normalcy in a month.
Here is a question I want you to consider: Are you busy servicing the business you have (i.e., current pendings, current buyers and active sellers)? Or are you busy generating new business?
When people start panicking, they naturally go into protect mode or “close-out” mode, the way we do before, say, a vacation. That behavior, although productive and good for servicing our immediate-to-near future income, does nothing for our business 30 to 60 days from now. Those are the days I am most concerned about.
By the time June comes around, there are going to be two types of agents. There will be agents who will have a gangbusters-busy month. If you’re one of those agents, this means you’ll be handling two or three times your normal amount of transactions. Other agents will be looking around wondering how and why you’re so busy.
Why? Well, for starters, there should be plenty to go around because of the backlog of buyers and sellers who put their plans on hold. The only question is: who will be working that business? The answer to that is pretty simple, actually.
The agents who will be doing well are the ones who’re making contacts, connections and follow-ups on a regular basis during this time, even when we know most aren’t going to be taking action today.
Here are my thoughts and ideas on what you can and should be doing while in quarantine:
1. Have a daily social media and news plan
Look at your daily schedule and be mindful about how much time you’re spending on social media and watching the news. I recommend limiting that time to no more than 90 minutes daily — for both activities combined.
As hard as it may be right now, don’t start your day with news. I don’t mind you ending the day with watching current events, or even getting caught up during dinnertime, but don’t let it be the first thing you do in the morning. Save it for after 5 or 6 p.m.
2. Get active in your community now
There’s so much you can do to be a proactive member of your community right now. Check in on your neighbors. Host virtual social distancing parties. Create a neighborhood Facebook group. If one already exists, try to be a good leader and resource for its members.
Remember: Don’t be sales-y, and don’t ask for business. People will come to you and ask when they need help. Be prepared to answer the following questions from potential customers:
- How are you handling showings? Are you using and handing out wipes? Are you hosting virtual showings? Are you planning on being present and having sellers walk around the house?
- How are you meeting with buyers? Are you considering virtual buyer consults and virtual showings? Are you using Zoom or FaceTime?
- How do you get paperwork signed? (It’s all digital anyway).
- Who’s even moving right now? The answer: buyers who have to buy and sellers who have to sell. There are still divorces, deaths, financial strain and investors, which we will talk about later.
- Why should I sell now? You can say: There’s less competition from other sellers. There will be a mad rush come May or June. Do you want to get lost in the shuffle?
- Why should I buy now? Two words: interest rates. I don’t have a crystal ball, but what I do know is that rates can fluctuate based on demand. They already went up close-to 10 days ago because lenders couldn’t keep up with the refis. They’ll come back down a bit now, and then shoot up again when this is all over.
- How can we conduct a closing right now? Separate rooms, separate times, social distancing, wipes and etc.
3. Focus on investors, aka your best clients right now
I know what you’re thinking and going to say: “Oh, my God. I hate investors.” Well, you may want to change your tune on that. Why? Because investors get greedy when people get fearful. Just look at Warren Buffet’s quote (and actions).
Be prepared for low-ball offers on your listings, and investors surfacing. Where can you find them? Investor Facebook groups, landlords of rented properties, your CRM, past leads, past client database and so on. They are not fazed by this whatsoever.
4. Take this as a chance to break into a new source
There are a handful of Realtors out there paralyzed by fear of uncertainty right now, which means you have a greater chance of breaking into Expireds and FSBOs when far fewer people are calling on them.
The good news? Expireds and FSBOs need you now more than ever, because consumers are now looking to experts for advice on what’s going on in the market, and what to expect. Go after your unfair share (with hand sanitizer).
5. Take this time to learn and implement changes
You’ve probably been to conferences, and you’ve probably been to our summit or retreat. Go back and find those notes. What did you circle or star that you have not implemented yet? We always put notes and videos from our events online. Go find them, and use this time to actually master something.
6. Double the amount of people you talk to daily
If that’s too aggressive, add 10 more contacts. But either way, we should be increasing the number of people we’re talking to. Expect your contacts per hour to increase and your conversion to decrease. Don’t be as forceful right now. Think about future business if you sense they aren’t comfortable.
7. Use video now more than ever
Facebook is rife with updates, new listings, sales and more. Take advantage of social media becoming immune to conversations about the coronavirus.
There will be more attention to non-corona topics right now. Remember the basics of Facebook — get to 5,000 friends, share stories (not just Canva images) and go live like crazy.
8. Consider partnering with or starting your own iBuyer program
All of the sudden the idea of an instant sale becomes more attractive. No agents, no showings, no hassle and less time. Get your scripts ready to compete as well.
IBuyers will lower their percent of value that they will pay because of uncertain times. To start one, you need a sexy name, landing page and a marketing strategy. If you could turn it into an app that would be even better.
9. Evaluate your expenses and cut out what’s not working
If you’re buying a lead source or you subscribe to a program that has a low ROI for you, now would be a good time to re-evaluate that. Your cost per lead will increase during this time.
Why do you think Zillow announced 50 percent off current customers’ monthly bills? Take the detail report of your profit and loss statement, and cut subscriptions right now.
All to say, we’re all in this together. Let’s stick together, stay connected and make the best of the situation we’re all in.
Jeff Glover is a Realtor with Jeff Glover & Associates in Michigan.