Avoid the glitz and glamour next year, and get back to tried-and-true personal touches when it comes to connecting with clients.

It has been a rough year, to say the least. And because of that, Candy Miles-Crocker, founder of Real-Life Real Estate Training is thinking about the coming 12 months a little differently. “2020 has been kind of traumatic for most of us and many of our clients and our customers, so in terms of marketing, [next year] is going to be my year of personal touch,” she told attendees at a panel during Connect Now on Tuesday.

Candy Miles-Crocker

Miles-Crocker told Tiffany Curry, broker/owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Tiffany Curry & Co., Realtors, who co-presented the panel, that she’s avoiding the glitz and glamour this year and going back to the basics, like phone calls and handwritten notes.

“It’s really just going to be, ‘How are you doing?'” she added.

Miles-Crocker then cited a National Association of Realtors statistic that a whopping 76 percent of past clients feel that a phone call is the best way to connect with them.

“The one thing that I can say is absolutely free, is just picking up the phone,” Curry chimed in.

Curry noted that her team has also been going out into the community to gather pictures and video footage of local businesses to share details with clients about who’s doing business in new, socially distant ways these days in order to serve as a resource of information.

Tiffany Curry

“There are a lot of people that want to get back out there, and we as Realtors need them to get back out there,” Curry said.

“That’s really what real estate is, we’re just the community” Miles-Crocker added. She also noted that doing that kind of community outreach is “goodwill” and very budget-friendly.

Curry and her agents, who work in Houston, have also started to bring adult-themed Halloween goodie bags to clients through “pop-bys” and sponsoring a local margarita truck to pass out frozen margaritas and other adult treats outdoors in places where it’s easy to socialize while social distancing.

Miles-Crocker pointed out that such personal marketing is more effective and shows off an agent’s humanity.

“It doesn’t feel like marketing, it feels like being thought of,” Miles-Crocker said.

“I think that’s the biggest thing — the extra care we’re giving customers. We’re not just transactional,” Curry added.

While Curry and Miles-Crocker sang the praises of personal gifts and handwritten notes, they also pointed out that targeted use of marketing through technology can also be valuable and a worthy investment when implemented effectively and consistently. In particular, Miles-Crocker cited the use of AI to target consumers who are likely to sell their home within the next few years.

“Let’s use technology, let’s use AI and hone that down and use our marketing even more strategically,” Miles-Crocker said.

But, Miles-Crocker also cautioned brokers about implementing a top-down approach to tech that agents may not really want, which may ultimately become a wasted expense.

“I think brokers really need to ask constituents, their agents, ‘What is it you need?’ and then do it,” she said.

At a time when most people have continued to work remotely, Curry and Joe Schutt, a Realtor with Unit Realty Group in Boston, who later joined the conversation, both argued for investing in office space right now.

Curry’s move to sign a lease for a new loft-style office space recently was made in an effort to help foster the brokerage’s culture. And with plenty of space, she feels confident that her team can meet with clients in a safe way.

Joe Schutt

Likewise, Schutt also recently moved into a new loft office space that he showed off at the end of the discussion, that features wide open spaces and easy access to clients who may prefer to stay outside through the use of a glass garage door that easily lifts for indoor-outdoor access. He’s currently working through plans to host a Halloween-themed pumpkin giveaway through the garage door.

“It doesn’t have to be big — just make it your own and have access to the outdoors somehow,” Schutt said of finding COVID-friendly office space.

In conclusion, Curry advised Connect Now attendees to get creative and think outside the box during 2021 in order to earn client attention and appreciation.

“Think different — re-think everything,” Curry said.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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