Although the real estate industry has made dramatic steps in recent years to adapt to the increasingly virtual world, the arrival of COVID-19 has forced many in the industry to completely adapt seemingly overnight. In times of crisis, it can feel impossible to move forward and acclimate, but it’s the reality that most businesses are facing right now—and those who are able to adjust will come out stronger when all is said and done.
So much of the success of real estate agents comes from in-person communication. But without open houses and other lead generating community events, many agents are facing pipelines that are drying up and listings being pulled from the market. In fact, according to Lawrence Yun, a chief economist for NAR, nearly 20 percent of listings have been removed.
So with these and more obstacles ahead, what should real estate agents be doing to protect their business for the long haul?
Take open houses virtual.
Virtual house tours are nothing new, but while they may have been a small portion of your strategy, you can now consider them a replacement for in-person showings. This doesn’t have to involve investing in intricate software. A virtual tour can be as simple as going Live on Facebook and giving viewers a walk-through tour. You could also set up a free Zoom account and invite your followers to tune in during your tour through a provided registration link—allowing you to collect email addresses and follow up. Be sure to share a post inviting your followers to tune in when you plan to go live to give them advanced notice, and encourage interested buyers to contact you after the showing. Even if you don’t receive a lot of feedback during the video, you can go back and contact the people who watched to thank them and add the qualified leads to your database.
And if your client is able to do an in-person showing, be sure to send them this checklist so they can safely prepare.
Keep the lines of communication strong.
Just because you aren’t able to connect with clients and prospects in person doesn’t mean you should go radio silent. People are expecting to hear from the businesses they support, and simple messages to show you’re there for them and that you care are all it takes. Take this time and make it a point to go through your CRM. Prioritize the people you haven’t reached out to in the last month or longer. Send them an email, give them a call, shoot them a text message—anything to spur that connection.
Be a positive source of information.
Everyone is bombarded right now with stressful and concerning information. While it’s necessary for people to stay informed, you have an opportunity to provide them with other types of content that can help them get through this difficult time. Our Social Media Shares Premium platform is full of content to help you do just that. You are able to share personally branded family-friendly recipes, activities to keep kids busy, health tips, and so much more. There is even a category dedicated specifically to “Staying Home,” so you don’t have to search high and low for what to post.
In addition to sharing content, you can create your own content by way of videos and other educational resources. If you’re into fitness, for example, start a Facebook Live to encourage your followers to take 30 minutes of their day and work out with you. Or, if you’re a good cook, you could host a short cooking show and educate your followers on how to make your favorite pasta dish (or how to make one of the recipes you shared from Social Media Shares Premium).
Don’t give up.
In times like this, it’s important to get creative. Although a lot of the real estate process, especially closing, requires signing documentation in person, NAR has been pushing for a digital notarization bill to be passed in order to help agents and their clients. For now, NAR recommends following the CDC’s guidelines in regards to minimizing personal contact, and also encourages agents to stay up to date in order to best protect themselves and clients. The organization has created a series on its website that outlines more specific guidelines to help agents get through this while minimizing the effects on their business.
While the coronavirus has put a halt on much of the economy, this doesn’t mean that agents have to surrender all of their business practices and wait. Now is the time to be actively pursuing leads from a digital perspective, maintaining those valuable lines of communication with your sphere, and working on self-development so that when the crisis is over, your business is left standing stronger.