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Like everyone else out there, I’ve been faced with the challenge of figuring out how to counsel and support my agents during this time of “social distancing” selling. The need to engage and connect with people daily is literally at the heart of how real estate agents work their business. 

As I thought about what guidance I might provide, I started to take a closer look at the relocation side of my business. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that relocation agents are already masters of long-distance selling.

They are already used to dealing with clients who aren’t always able to view listings in person. They’re masters at using technology to communicate “face-to-face” from anywhere in the world. And they’ve got the art of showcasing a home through a video tour down pat.

A typical relocation client relies on “feet on the street” intel from their real estate agent because they are “out of market.” Given the current global health situation, this description now applies to all clients who are hesitant or unable to visit homes and neighborhoods.

So now that nearly all clients are considered out of market, I put together some best practices we can learn from our relocation team.

1. Communicate conscientiously 

When working with out-of-town buyers, we need to be incredibly caring and understanding of their mindset about the move. Emotions run high as buyers struggle with the unknowns about their new community, amenities and neighbors.

My advice is to listen carefully and take their cues about how they’d prefer to communicate. Do they prefer phone calls or texts? Long descriptions or quick bullet points? Do they want you to lead, or do they want to do it themselves? Listen, take notes, and adapt each day.

2. Think video, video, video

These days, video tours of homes are pretty much table stakes for listings. Still, relocation agents go one step further, bringing listings to life using video conferencing apps like Skype or FaceTime to show a home virtually. This real-time tour can be personalized by immediately responding to a client’s desire to look inside a closet, see the view from the bedroom or inspect the furnace.

But relocation agents think beyond the property and provide video footage of neighborhoods, community offerings and nearby parks. Don’t have this kind of content? Go outside and shoot some video while practicing social distancing.

3. Market your market

Local intel is particularly important to relocation clients who rely on their agents to counsel them on a variety of factors including historic price appreciation, days on market and resale value, to name a few. Become a resource on the numbers, provide up-to-date information routinely, and most importantly, explain what these stats mean.

4. Connect the dots of the deal

Many relocation clients aren’t physically at a closing and rely on their agent to coordinate the legal and financial representatives on-site. In light of public health concerns, many of these services are making changes in how they do business, and it’s critical that you anticipate roadblocks to completing deals. 

5. Remember the referral

Relo experts know that they are “graded” on a variety of metrics that dictate future business. Outstanding effort results in opening new doors and referrals. Everyone should be thinking far beyond the immediacy of today’s deal. We need recognize that what and how we communicate today will have far-reaching implications for our future business.

6. Tap into your team

Now is not the time to flounder in the dark, wing it or even take an educated guess. Ask for advice. While you may not have an in-house support team, someone in your professional network has likely encountered a similar situation and can offer counsel.

Collaboration during a challenging time not only keeps you moving forward, but it also ensures the entire industry can maintain momentum in the coming months. 

Dan McCarthy is the broker and owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Lifestyles Realty. Based in Jacksonville, the company serves clients throughout Northeast Florida.

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