In challenging times, it’s a smart idea to revisit the fundamentals of good business. This April, go Back to Basics with Inman.
We’re now living in a world where social distancing and work-from-home has become the temporal norm for our society. As an industry, we’ve had to rewrite our entire playbook in just a few weeks. To navigate this new WFH reality, here are four tips for managing your team and your business virtually.
Start work early
Everyone has their natural rhythm. Whatever it was before the induced work-from-home status, consider waking up 30-60 minutes earlier. Early mornings are generally the quietest time of the day. They’re also a great time to focus your mindset.
Spend some time learning, growing and keeping up with relevant news that directly affects you, your team and your client base. Distill complex information into something simple, and integrate it into your messaging and communications for the day.
Dedicate some time to reviewing your business goals, key performance indicators and business dashboards. If you want some examples of business dashboards that turn the complex into the simple, shoot me a message, and I can share them with you.
Mornings are best for working in your business
When managing virtually, it’s essential you step up your communication skills. Whatever you were doing before, double it. Weekly team meetings should increase to twice a week in a virtual environment.
Listing clients can go to daily updates. Your daily admin check-in meetings should be held twice a day now. All of your meetings should inherently be shorter, more focused and more efficient than ones done in person.
In a virtual workplace, people still need to connect. Video conferencing and a solid set of noise-cancelling headphones have become as critical as a lockbox key. I’ve personally spent dozens of hours trying to find the right equipment that doesn’t sound like you’re in a tin box, underwater or picks up the neighbors barking dog. Find the combination that works for you, both on your computer and your phone.
Block off a couple of hours every day and spend them on the phone. Call the clients in your database. Reach out and touch base with those past clients you haven’t talked to for way too long.
Don’t feel the need to make the calls about business. Check in on how people are doing, and be human. We’re in a people business, and they should always be a priority over a potential commission. These calls are about them, not you.
Afternoons are best for working on your business
Now is a great time to evaluate all of your marketing and advertising. Take a look at the return on investment each spend is giving you and the team. Cut the ones that aren’t performing. Cut the ones that will no longer work in the “social distancing” world.
Double down on the relationships that offer business-to-business referrals. Strategically reach out and build relationships with other business owners and leaders within your community.
In the last few weeks, conversion rates from social media spends have gone up dramatically. Now is a great time to learn how to do targeted social advertising. Think about how you can incorporate more video and content beyond “just listed” and “just sold” announcements. Both have great return, engagement and conversion.
Look for how you can be a content resource for your market. What are the trends? Where are things heading? Who are the right contacts in your area for all these unfolding stimulus opportunities? Why do you do what you do? What makes you different?
Start obsessing about your client’s non-transactional real estate needs. Work with each person on your team to find creative ways to fill them. An idea for the foreseeable future is to deliver branded care packages to those in self-isolation. That’s just one idea. Brainstorm with your team, and I bet you can come up with dozens more you can implement this week.
“Breakage” is the term we use with real estate mergers and acquisitions to describe the downside in moments of change. In times of disruption, the professionals shine and gain market share.
There will be a number of agents who won’t survive a 90-180 day break in commissions. When the government subsidy runs out, they will have let their pipelines dry up. There will be a unique opportunity to expand your team as we get to the other side of the crisis.
Evenings are the best for socializing
Take the time to socialize with friends, family, clients, prospects and those on your team.
In times of isolation, people crave a sense of connection. Use the evenings to do virtual happy hours, host a watch party for an out-of-work musician (who would be happy to work for tips) or start a virtual book club. Think creatively, and get people together to share, talk and build connections in ways they never thought about before.
Everyone is adjusting to working virtually, and leadership in those times is rewriting how we manage our teams. We’ve seen the widespread acceptance of terms like “shelter-in-place” and “social distancing,” which didn’t exist until weeks ago. The world has changed, and the change has happened at record speed.
Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building.