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.

Court Cunningham

Court Cunningham

CEO and Founder, Orchard

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

Way more communication. Weekly team emails, every other week team video meetings, department heads doing the same. Try to strike a balance between realism and optimism.

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

Offline marketing channels have traditionally been great for us, but with people not leaving their homes, online marketing channels have performed much better, so we shifted marketing spend from offline to online. 

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

I have always been an optimist who sees the future and is drawn to it. The future has not changed. Orchard is creating that future by transforming the way people buy and sell their homes from search to close. We want millions of consumers to experience this new way to home, and the pandemic has just slowed us down. We keep our eyes on the prize. The future is bright; it’s your future; be there. 

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

We see a three-quarter recession, with a slow return to normal. A pandemic of fear has taken over parts of the country, which we think will make people slow to return to their normal routines, but we are confident that by early ’21, things will be mostly normal. We do not see big declines/are forecasting moderate declines in housing prices as housing supply is still very tight unlike 2008.

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

Inman for me has been about making great connections with other leaders in the residential real estate community. You bring together great minds, leaders, and people who can and do learn from each other. Thanks! 

Kelsey McGaughey

Kelsey McGaughey

Realtor and New Agent Trainer, True Houston

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

The biggest change has been the way that I show homes, through video and virtual tours. Thus far, it has had a great success rate. The other biggest change would be the weekly meetings with our teams. We have been utilizing Zoom, which has been great!

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

I have had an immense amount of success doing an online buyer seminar through a Facebook group I created. I had the potential buyers join me on a Facebook video and sent them a buyers’ guide through email. I had 12 join, and two of them I had pre-approved and house-shopping within a week. With most of the city having to stay home, I’m noticing a lot more people have the time and interest to join an online buyer seminar.

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

On a personal level, I have to remind myself it’s OK to take “me time.” Just because I am still actively working does not mean that I’m not going through the same feelings as most of the community. As far as the team goes, we have a group chat, as well as weekly team meetings. Recently, we started a fun new project where we are putting out pink flamingos in people’s yards. It is a paid for service by the client; however, they can request to “flock” a friend or family member’s home with pink flamingos. The agents at True Houston will be setting these up personally. 

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

My team lead, Nicole Lopez, always impresses me and helps us as a team come up with ways to help the community. On top of that, every team member has created a page to help the local restaurants and promote their to-go orders to help keep the community afloat in any way we can during these uncomfortable times.

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

I’m hoping that we don’t see a lot of foreclosures and short sales coming up, but I know there will certainly be some. We have prepared ourselves for this as a team and have become well-versed and certified in the short sale/foreclosure process. I predict by Q4, we will be back to normal and thriving. One thing that has started to happen is because the kids are out of school for the remainder of the year, families are not restricted to the timeframe of summer to move or prepare the home for market. I have many families getting their home ready for market now and beginning to start searching the market for their next move.

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

Inman has helped me stay up to date with important market information, helping me stay in front of my clients with value. I know I can trust the sources and information that come from Inman News.

Chris Finnegan

Chris Finnegan

Chief Marketing and Communication Officer, Bright MLS

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

At Bright MLS, we’ve made the transition to supporting our subscribers’ virtual/remote business models — all while shifting to a virtual/remote model ourselves. It’s a lot happening all at once, but I think the fact that we’re all in a similar position makes it easier for us to respond to the needs and preferences of our users.

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

This period has been really intense for us at Bright MLS. We’ve been in over-service mode for a couple of months, and sometimes it can seem like one long, never-ending day. Maintaining connection with colleagues and a corporate culture has been huge. During team meetings, we’ll share more about family and personal matters, and we’re also doing the virtual happy hour thing. We’ve also instituted a Mental Health Day to give folks a little time to unplug and take a breath.

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

We have 43 shareholder associations across six states and Washington, D.C., and I have been amazed at how they have teamed together and partnered with us to collectively serve the real estate professionals of the Mid-Atlantic. At the beginning of March, we rolled out our Bright Steps COVID response program, which has been widely adopted and is making a difference in the marketplace. Our 43 shareholder associations launched that with us, and that made a huge difference when it came to reaching their members and gaining real traction. 

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

Bright MLS is going to make sure that our subscribers are ready for whatever is thrown at them. If we get through this sooner rather than later, we’ll be ready to support a quick market ramp-up. If things remain touch and go, Bright MLS will keep offering tools such as virtual open houses and tailored data reporting, along with expanded status allowances and in-depth training and support, so that our subscribers can keep their businesses moving from home. We’re not just trying to ride out this period — we want to use this time to make Bright MLS better for the long term.

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

Inman is the first thing I read every morning. The quality of the reporting combined with breadth of the coverage — from MLSs and tech players to brokerages and policymakers — gives me what I need to know each day. Specifically, features such as the state-by-state market snapshots have been go-to resources for me during the COVID-19 period.

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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