In challenging times, it’s a smart idea to revisit the fundamentals of good business. This April, go Back to Basics with Inman.
A month ago, most of us were just entering the new norm of working from home. We were learning to pivot our businesses to be sensitive to the ever-changing situation of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders.
Throughout the process, the real estate community rose to the occasion through teaching, informing and serving our neighborhoods. By changing the way we did business, we were able to serve and connect with those around us. This helped strengthen our relationships and build a stronger base for future business.
If you’re in the process of shifting the focus of your business, here are a few ways you can improve your strategies while leading your community through the pandemic.
1. Change the way you advertise
As our social and economic situations change, it’s crucial that we are sensitive and tuned in to our audience’s needs. Be aware that an advertising strategy that focuses on selling may backfire in the current environment. For many, that means a complete overhaul to ad campaigns. Our current focus should be on market updates and easing fears.
Acknowledge fears by letting your audience know that this is not a repeat of 2008. In most areas, properties are continuing to move, and prices are not dropping. Let people know that you are still running your business virtually, and that their needs are your priority.
2. Engage in professional development
The leaders in real estate have stepped up to give back during this unprecedented time. Great coaches are offering free or reduced-price programs that help people pivot and strengthen business during the pandemic.
Tom Ferry is offering a “Pivot” program with webinars and other resources, and Inman Connect Now has some of the best speakers in the nation lined up for its digital event in June. Taking advantage of these great programs at a fraction of the normal cost is a no-brainer.
NAR and local associations are offering free and reduced-price continuing education courses and designations during the pandemic. Participating in professional development opportunities now enables us to keep our finger on the pulse of real estate. When we do meet face-to-face again after this, we’ll be better, more polished leaders.
3. Learn new technology
It’s a necessity to work virtually now, but it will most likely become the new norm once business-as-usual resumes. Try to focus your efforts on learning video technology and getting used to being in front of a camera.
Make sure you are comfortable with virtual conferencing tools. Zoom, BombBomb and Instagram TV will continue to grow in importance for marketing and connection. Learning all about new platforms now puts you ahead of the game.
4. Clean up your database
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a lot of leads in your database that are tagged improperly. Ideally, we should be cleaning our database at least once a month. However, when things get busy, that task gets put on the back burner.
Now is a great time to organize workable leads and delete the ones that are clutter. I guarantee there are good leads that have been forgotten. A quick phone call to reconnect can lead to new business.
5. Rethink your systems
Thoroughly audit your systems. Eliminate anything that’s redundant or that you’re not using. Comb through the free stuff offered by your brand. Sometimes they offer programs that are equal to or better than similar ones that charge fees.
Minimize and combine as many applications as possible. We only need one CRM, one website and one email marketing program. Yet, if we audit our systems, we usually find we have several of each.
6. Learn how to market through video
Now is the best time to become comfortable in front of a camera because everyone is doing it. After the pandemic is over, many agents will revert to their old ways and put the video camera down. However, the ones who continue to market through video will become leaders in the industry.
7. Find ways to serve your community
Even during a quarantine, there are ways to reach out and serve. Use social media to draw attention to local businesses that are still open and operating. Give them a shoutout.
Do something nice for healthcare and grocery store workers. If your neighborhood still has takeout options available, support local restaurants by ordering and posting about their services. You can serve your community just by getting valuable information out on social media.
8. Collaborate with other real estate professionals
Remember — we are all in this together. The more we collaborate and share, the stronger we become. By teaming up with lenders, closing attorneys, inspectors and other Realtors, we can work together to inform the community, support local businesses and bounce ideas off of one another.
The current social and economic conditions are temporary. In a few months, things will be back to normal — but with a twist. Some of the remote procedures and technology we’re using as a result of COVID-19 will carry over to the new normal once the states are fully operational.
Due to their efficiency, expect to still see Zoom meetings, virtual showings and virtual listing presentations after the pandemic is over. Learn them now, and be a market leader in the future.
Missy Yost is a Realtor with Century21 Diamond Realty in Bluffton, South Carolina. Follow The Yost Group on Facebook or Twitter.