Jemila Winsey, a real estate broker and the co-owner of RE/MAX Legacy in Houston, thinks it’s unfathomable that a real estate agent would consider reverting back to their old ways of doing business, once the COVID-19 pandemic fades.
“You don’t want to come out of this the same way you came in,” Winsey said Thursday during an Inman Town Hall session titled, “Tips, Tools and Resources for Navigating Transactions in Summer 2020.”
Winsey, along with fellow panelist Stacie Staub, the owner of West + Main Homes, shared with agents specific actions to better equip them for success in the summer months. The panel was hosted by Valerie Garcia, the owner of Valerie Garcia Consulting, and Laura Monroe, global head of community for Inman.
Winsey highlighted the importance of keeping an up-to-date customer relationship management (CRM) tool and using that tool to constantly reach.
“A lot of agents still have their database on their phones,” Winsey said. “The ‘R’ in the CRM is more vital than ever, which stands for relationships. Building those relationships systematically is exactly what our agents needs to focus on right now.”
Staub echoed the importance of using the time to work on your CRM, to best position yourself for the summer months.
“My mantra has been, ‘if not now, when?’” Staub said. “If you’re not going to be sitting at home, working on your CRM right now, you’re never going to do it, so let’s just accept that and move on.”
“You have 20 hours a day at home in front of Netflix and you can’t go anywhere else.”
Staub and Wiley both emphasized that it’s also a good time for agents to invest in their businesses. They can pour the savings on things like gas money, canceled client parties and dry cleaning into things like marketing.
Video and 3D tours, for example, went from being a luxury to a requirement on all listings. In Wiley’s home market of Houston, virtual showings are built directly into the multiple listing service listing now.
“Agents are having to spend a little bit money on their marketing now,” Staub said. “We always required professional photos, but now you need to invest in a video, this is a chance to build your portfolio up and show what you can really do for listings, so take advantage of it.”
“Even though our deals have decreased a little bit year-over-year, our agents are still very productive and they have money to spend and now is the time to invest in some of these things you’ve been wanting to try or that you’ve always brushed off,” Staub added.
Wiley recommended agents use an email marketing tool at this time — her office specifically uses SendGrid — to send thousands of emails at once.
“You have an opportunity right now to capture your clients’ attention and your agents’ attention,” Wiley added. “It’s a rare opportunity to spend time, deepening those relationships from a digital standpoint.”
Garcia, one of the hosts of the panel, also highlighted the importance of using email right now, as its a low-cost way to connect with your clients. Not every agent is affiliated with a tech-enabled brokerage firm that provides myriad technology tools, but email is one thing all agents can use without expending a ton of capital.
If you haven’t started an email newsletter, now is a great time to do so, according to the panelists, especially with the barrage of corporate emails on COVID-19 finally slowing down.