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Many markets across the nation are experiencing their first seasonal slowdown in more than a year, meaning that many agents have some extra time on their hands as buyers and sellers hit pause on their real estate plans.
Instead of agents twiddling their fingers, leading brokers Tiffany Curry, Tiffany Harris and Daniel Gluckin said a lull in sales activity provides the perfect opportunity to double down on other activities that bring value to you and your clients.
“I think a lot of people feel like this is the vacation season or the season that you kind of just relax and sit back,” Curry said to the virtual Connect Now crowd Tuesday. “But I think there is a lot of opportunity during this time to reach out.”
Here are four things Curry, Harris and Gluckin suggested to make the best of a slowdown:
Focus on the clients you have in front of you
Instead of struggling to grab the attention of new clients, Gluckin, founder of the Gluckin Group with Compass in North Carolina, said agents and brokers need to focus on current clients and past clients who could make a referral or decide to jump back into the market themselves.
“I doubt we were all focusing on our past clients with 20 to 30 deals going on at the same time,” he said. “I know we’re limited on events [due to COVID-19] depending on where you live, but try to do something that maybe brings everyone together in some manner.”
Gluckin said donations, gift drop-offs and other tokens of appreciation help keep you top of mind, which will pay off when the housing market begins heating up at the beginning of the year. “We believe that January, February, March — your business in that time starts now. It starts with the things that you’re doing right now.”
Invest in additional training and education
Harris, who leads a team of 31 agents and staff at Harris Hawkins & Co. in Maryland, said the market slowdown has provided the perfect opportunity to add more evening training and education sessions to her team’s calendar.
“We do aim to have meetings in the evening for many reasons, but the main reason being to accommodate our dual career agents,” she said. “For the first four years of my career, I was dual career and found that a lot of times, there was nobody to reach out when I couldn’t make the trainings.”
“It’s really near and dear to my heart to help a dual career agent master and manage their full-time job as well as their new second full-time job and hopefully get them to the position where they can do real estate full time,” she added.
Harris said her brokerage’s training covers business planning, navigating taxes and other common financial pitfalls, and creating a schedule that eliminates non-money-making activities.
“I might even have the agents do an exercise where they write down how many hours they’ve spent on real estate every day over a period of time [and] they then give themselves a monthly rate,” she said. “That includes everything from posting on social media to sending out a text message and really looking at how your time equates to the amount of money that you’re making. Or do you need to make adjustments and being more considerate of wasting time?”
“We really help agents determine how to meet their goal of being a full-time agent,” she added.
Upgrade your social media presence
Video has been the name of the game for years now, and the fall and winter are the perfect time to upgrade your video content with new editing skills, higher quality and long-form storytelling.
Gluckin said agents should explore uploading longer, in-depth videos on YouTube, practice playful editing on TikTok and take advantage of Instagram’s reel feature to connect with clients and build your credibility as the go-to person in your market.
“Make yourself known,” Gluckin said. “People are on their phones a little bit more [when] it’s cold outside. They’re just curled up watching something. So why not give them something to watch to remind them who they want to work with in the future?”
Gluckin said he’s challenged himself to make an Instagram reel a day for 30 days, which has already paid off. “I’m watching the growth already and it’s fun to get into it,” he said. “It’s keeping my mind active throughout the day to figure out what’s next and things like that.”
Expand your and your buyers’ horizon
Harris said the inventory crunch has led buyers to become more flexible, which in turn, has led to Harris digging up “hidden gems” around her market, including new developments, new builds or nearby suburbs and towns that provide just as great of a lifestyle.
“I’m excited about buyers exploring different areas of our great city,” she said. “I think there are so many hidden gems in Baltimore that with limited inventory, it has increased the number of buyers opening up their pool of where they would consider living. That has been a joy to watch.”
As you show buyers around your market, Curry, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Tiffany Curry & Co., Realtors, said it provides an opportunity to create content that highlights your favorite neighborhoods, restaurants, local businesses and so much more.
“[Buyers] want to know what to do, where can they get their haircuts, and if they worship, where to go,” she said. “I think it’s a great time to just hone in and perfect what we do, not just as real estate professionals, but showcasing our knowledge and expertise of our communities.”