Although it was a challenge at first, now we’re realizing the enormous benefits of running business in the digital space. That’s why teams have to work on having the basics of virtual meetings down pat.

This July, Inman’s editorial theme is Teams — what it takes to build and join one, how to optimize your team for summer 2020, and even when to consider leaving one. And if you’re not already a subscriber to our Teams Beat email newsletter, sent every Thursday, sign up now.

With states and provinces implementing their own economic restarts, people are getting back to work, and small businesses are starting to reopen with new safety protocols. 

The real estate market, which has been operating in some locations through the pandemic, will continue to buy and sell properties with more virtual home tours, online open houses and electronic contracts. But what does this mean for real estate teams?

Although there are now guidelines to allow for physical tours of properties, the next phase of economic reopening will not change what you and your team are currently doing.

Teams have the technology and knowledge at their disposal to do virtual showings, and we’ve had this since the start of the pandemic. These modern tools have helped us facilitate remote transactions and video calls with clients and our team members.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Zoom by now. Zoom has become the saving grace for many real estate individuals and teams. Schools are still conducting classes, businesses are meeting with their employees, and real estate is still going — all thanks to the nifty Zoom application. 

At first, the shift was a challenge. The truth is, change is always a frightening concept. However, once this crisis is behind us, real estate teams will learn this is the way to work

Working from home makes sense. Previously, a lot of us didn’t even want to try it. But now, we’re beginning to see the perks. With collaborative tools like Zoom and Asana, you can track your progress and meet to delegate tasks right from the comfort of your own home. 

Not to mention, meeting with your team members and contacting clients online makes sense when considering factors like office space rental fees. You’ll save more money in the long run, all while growing closer to your team. Here are a few things to think about when navigating client consultations in the digital space. 

1. Know your technology

For many clients, a video call with you might be their first video call. If you’re finding yourself technologically challenged or frustrated by the platform while on a call with your clients, they will pick up on your mishaps. 

They could incorrectly misinterpret your confusion as a lack of professionalism, skill or know-how on your part. This could translate into a lack of confidence in your ability to meet their needs as buyers or sellers

To avoid this scenario, do test runs before any call — no matter how many times you’ve done them before. Practice and record these run-throughs with your team members. Watch the practices with your team before your meeting, so they’re able to understand what the team’s expected standards are.

Know your technology; know your presentation platform; know what links, attachments, or assets you may be sending or presenting to them. All of these are ways in which you can work on bringing your most prepared self to your consultation — just like you would for an in-person meeting. 

2. Know your clients

Even in the best of times, it can be hard to remember names and recall the kind of important personal details that make clients feel understood and valued in their relationship with an agent.

It happens. After a while, Zoom calls tend to blend in together when every client meeting and every home research or presentation takes place on a computer screen. 

But those personal touches are important in developing the client-agent relationship, and they can make a world of difference in retaining leads, gaining repeat business and earning referrals from satisfied clients. 

When it comes to working with anyone in a sales capacity, consumers tend to have hesitations. Buying and selling a home is such a personal process tied to such a large investment, so it’s crucial that your clients know they can trust you and your team as their representatives.

Although you might know how experienced and trustworthy you are, it’s a part of your job as a real estate team to put the minds of your prospects and clients at ease by demonstrating your trustworthiness. 

So, if it means setting aside a bit of extra time to remind yourself of the specifics of your next client, review previous calls or otherwise take notes, find ways to maintain and nurture those important connections.

One way to feel prepared, especially when meeting new clients, is to do your homework. As Bernice Ross wrote in her column, “Want to convert listing appointments into signed listings? Here’s the solution,” Tami Bonnell, the CEO of EXIT Realty, recommends searching the prospect on Google, friending him or her on Facebook, checking his or her LinkedIn profile, and finding out more about him or her as a person. Doing this before a meeting will give you confidence.

And if you find yourself getting stuck, be clear in your process so you can get back on track quickly if need be. Which brings me to my next point. 

3. Know your process

Just as it’s important to know the medium for your presentations and the key aspects of the individuals you are meeting with, it’s also crucial that you know the process you and your team will be following. 

If your customer experience process has changed as a result of your business moving online, make sure you have internalized that new process so you are able to confidently explain the next steps to your client.

Make sure that you’re also able to create a chain of commitment that will lead you into your next meeting and start you and your team on the right foot.

In addition to unfamiliarity with technology, another thing that doesn’t inspire confidence is an agent who is making recommendations for next steps that do not reflect today’s market or the current socially distant means of communication. That can come across as unpreparedness — no matter how well-informed you may be on the market and the clients’ needs.

Reworking your business and team processes for a totally digital world is no small feat. Be patient with yourself as you face this challenge. And if you find yourself in need of more assistance, look to the right advisers for how to transition smoothly.

Make sure sure you’re not only setting yourself up for success as you move through uncharted territory, but also that you’re able to build on that success afterward. 

Kathleen Black is the CEO of Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Connect with her on Instagram at @kathleenblackcoaching or through her website ItTakesa.Team.

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