After 25 years, Inman Connect is coming to you. Get ready for the top industry leaders plotting the path forward, new business ideas and opportunities, networking like you’ve never imagined it and tons of exciting new magic, all straight to you. It’s all part of an epic new Inman experience, Inman Connect Now, June 2-4, 2020. Click here to save your seat.

In advance of Connect Now, we’ve asked many well-known members of the Inman community for their insights on how they are working and keeping their businesses moving forward in this time — in other words, How They Connect Now. Here are three responses.

Mark Miles

Mark Miles

Director of Operations and Technology, Dream Town Realty

What’s the biggest change in the way you’re managing your business now? 

The biggest change in the way our brokers are managing their businesses is adapting various virtual methods so they can continue to work with buyers and sellers under the current stay-at-home requirements. As a company, we are leveraging Matterport and Property Videos to showcase our properties and various platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom and Teams to perform virtual open houses.

How do you find new business in a time like this? 

We continue to procure leads from online sources, as well as taking this downtime to reach out to our sphere of influence to see if there are any past clients or their referrals who needs assistance.

How do you keep morale up, for you personally, and for your team?  

The owner of our company, Yuval Degani, came up with the great idea early on to host daily live team meetings on a variety of topics. Our brokers have several options to engage in daily, from broker education to managing broker town hall meetings to showcasing their own talents. We have had our brokers do live mixology classes; we had brokers perform live music and cooking classes. This is in addition to regular educational topics like reviewing agency, procuring cause and the like.

Who in the community has impressed you or helped you most during this time?  

This will sound self-serving, but being a true leader in technology, I am impressed with our owner, Yuval Degani, for doing things like having in-house services for our brokers like Matterport and property interior and drone videos. By having these services in-house, many of our brokers were already marketing their properties with Matterport and property videos, so the need to go virtual at a moment’s notice had us ready for the transition. We also were able to use our own employees to get out and create Matterport models or property videos quickly and get them added to listings that didn’t have them so that virtual walkthroughs were available with a short turnaround.

What’s your outlook for the rest of this year?  

Our business has been busier than we expected during this time. Brokers with clients who have decided to stay active during these unprecedented times have seen their listings sell, and in many cases, due to others pulling off the market, they are seeing multiple offers. I anticipate the rest of the year will be slightly slower than last year; however, I am anticipating that sales will continue during the traditionally slower summer months and expect our annual sales to be close to last year.

Can you share a few words about how Inman has helped you grow your business, in bull or bear times? 

Inman is a great resource for the real estate industry. For a brokerage located in Chicago and the suburbs, it allows us to get insights about the national market as a whole and how things like the coronavirus are having an impact. This allows us to have a perspective into other markets so that we can compare our market performance against other markets. Furthermore, the annual Inman Connect conventions are loaded with great speakers and content. It will be exciting and interesting to see how Inman handles the remote convention this year. Can’t wait to attend!

Caroline Bass

Caroline Bass

Associate Broker, The Bass Team, Corcoran

What’s the biggest change in the way you’re managing your business now? 

The biggest change I’ve made is to my mindset over the past six weeks. At first, I was getting easily frustrated and flustered, especially while trying to work from home with a 1 year old and a 2 ½ year old. Now, I’ve learned to “go with the flow” and embrace the chaos.  I remind myself that everything I need to do will get done. In times like this, connection to family and friends is most important.

How do you find new business in a time like this? 

Given the circumstances, I personally don’t feel right going after new business at this time. Living in New York City, I know a number of people who have been affected by the virus, and sadly a few friends and colleagues have passed away. What I am doing right now is checking in with my clients, past and present. I’m asking them how they are, what are they doing to cope, if there’s anything I can to do help, things like that. If I get business from it, great. But it’s not my intention — simply being there for them is. My clients are savvy and they know there are going to be deals out there; right now we are all just keeping in touch and in contact.

How do you keep morale up, for you personally, and for your team? 

My team is amazing. They have actually been organizing biweekly virtual happy hours, which are a fun way to let off some steam. I thank Etie Khan and Michael Sargent for setting that up for all of us! As for myself, I get out of my pajamas and try to get outside and take a walk every day. Getting some sun on my face always seems to lift morale!

Who in the community has impressed you or helped you most during this time? 

Our leadership team at Corcoran; Pam Liebman, Gary Malin and Michael Sorrentino have thoroughly impressed me during these challenging times. They have kept up constant and clear communication with agents, compiled companywide surveys to provide us with valuable market statistics, and helped educate us through calls and virtual resources. I could not be prouder to be at this company.

What’s your outlook for the rest of this year?

Since the market was forced to grind to a halt, there is pent-up demand out there. Real estate is an “in-person” business. The outlook for our industry depends on how fast the stock market rebounds and how the economy recovers. Continued low interest rates will also help spur activity once we come back. 

Can you share a few words about how Inman has helped you grow your business, in bull or bear times? 

Speaking at Inman Connect New York greatly helped me build my relationships with other agents and boost my social media presence. I’m thankful every time I am able to connect with colleagues on such a well-known platform!

Kelli Griggs

Kelli Griggs

CEO/Co-Founder, Navigate Realty

What’s the biggest change in the way you’re managing your business now?  

It’s taking each call incredibly seriously — I listen to understand before I ever start to speak. We are all NOT in the same boat — we are in the same storm. Many of our clients are filled with fear and are worried about the economy. We spend a great deal of time comforting those who have lost a loved one in another area — or helping them understand what their options are if their home isn’t selling. I have been more of a trusted advisor than a Realtor. 

How do you find new business in a time like this? 

I’ve been pimping myself out for content with a PR company doing quotes in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and was featured on the cover of Real Producers magazine. I’ve been pushing this through my sphere to be considered the expert you can trust in my market.

How do you keep morale up, for you personally, and for your team? 

The good ol’ 9 a.m. Zoom call. We talk about becoming the “spark” for recovery in our small town community. We have launched a project starting next week called #SparkRecovery where we will begin to have local artists paint the windows of local businesses on Main Street — along with potted plants with our company logo. We are hyper local in our community, and we want to bring joy to those driving through our little desolate town. The windows will have bright spring blossoms, and when a business opens up, we will celebrate with a feature of them on the Facebook page. We will hire local photographers to take a photo of the grand reopening of the local business and let them share it through their own social media. Keeping our agents focused on something positive — doing good makes you feel good.

Who in the community has impressed you or helped you most during this time? 

The truth is my millennial Realtor, Taylor Hirst, created El Dorado County – Curbside Restaurants, which has over 4,000 followers in a small town. The community embraced it, and she is sharing wonderful content to support local business.

What’s your outlook for the rest of this year? 

I started the year with 40 listings — it was to be my greatest year ever. Sixteen of them are on hold. We have few listings going on the market, and I worry that all that on-hold inventory will all hit the market at once. It will be a wonderful time to be a buyer in my area.

Can you share a few words about how Inman has helped you grow your business, in bull or bear times? 

I attended Inman Connect San Francisco for the first time many years ago and was incredibly inspired by the speakers. It was my first venture out of my small town on my quest to look for better options than what was being presented to me locally. After listening to the success stories of others, I built something for myself that I am incredibly proud of and that works for me. 

Inman Connect Now connects virtually June 2-4, 2020. The digital event offers standout speakers, incredible networking opportunities, and the chance to forge business breakthroughs and build new relationships to last a lifetime. Don’t miss out — register today.

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