We all woke up this morning to a new and hopefully temporary “normal,” and it’s likely very unsettling. Even for those of us who have weathered housing market downturns, this is very different. During those downturns we found ways to keep working, relying on the fundamentals. This is just as important today, but we will have to work those fundamentals in strategic and creative ways as we remain socially responsible.
Get ready to work every day
It’s important to adopt the mindset that you will be working every day. One of the first steps you can do to help establish this is to set up a dedicated home office space. My wife and daughter are also working from home, so we set up individual spaces that do not intrude upon each other.
At the end of your commute down the hallway to your workspace, you need to approach it like you are entering your traditional office. Eliminate distractions and get to work.
Oh, and because you’re going to work: Dress for work. Keep your routine. It’s fun for a day or two to wear your fuzzy slippers to work, but don’t make a habit of it. Again, it contributes to a sense of being focused on work.
Time to cover the basics
When the housing market is humming along and we’re taking care of the million little details we handle for our sellers and buyers, it’s easy to let some things slide. Now’s the time to:
- Update your client list, birthdays, purchase anniversaries and more. Tip: Use the MLS history to find closing dates.
- Polish your social media profiles. As many people find themselves with extra time on their hands and missing interaction with others, social media traffic is going to skyrocket. There is no better time for you to make sure your profiles are up to date and that you are actively posting. Be fun. Be knowledgeable. Make sure your followers know that you’ll be there for them when this is over. It’s also a good time to make sure that you have a presence on platforms that you may have ignored in the past. Tip: Don’t post about the virus.
- Put cold calling on hold. Know your state’s position on this. In New York, it has been deemed prohibited due to the state of emergency.
You can still interact with your clients
Fortunately, we have a variety of tools that enable us to get face time, pun intended, with our clients. People are stuck in their homes and will be open to talking with someone outside of their household. You can:
- Set up video calls with your clients via FaceTime or Zoom. Use it as a touch base to reassure them that you’re on the job and ready for when the housing market resumes. This is a good way to deliver a CMA. See if they need help with anything, especially, older clients who may not have local family members to help. Tip: If you wind up shopping for someone outside your household, be sure to follow all the CDC guidelines for their well-being and yours.
- Host a virtual happy hour on Zoom. Tip: Use the grid view so that you can see everybody and limit it to 10-15 people at the most so that everyone can participate.
- Conduct a virtual walkthrough with your potential sellers via FaceTime or Zoom. As they walk through you can give them the same getting-ready-to-sell tips that you would deliver in person. Tip: They can use Zoom on their phone.
- Help sellers “look at a home” by setting up a video conference to share a virtual tour or listing photos. Tip: Floor plans for listings are going to become an essential tool.
Managers still play a key role
Agents trying to navigate these uncharted waters will need their managers more than ever. Video conferencing tools provide managers with the ability to hold meetings and be available. You may want to consider:
- Setting up office meetings via Zoom or another video conferencing platform.
- Conducting scheduled “office hours” on Zoom that are available to you your agents two hours a day. Speaking with you can help them remain calm and focused.
- Teaching agents how to use video conference technology in a one-on-one setting.
- Touching base frequently with all of your agents.
Not only will implementing these ideas help you navigate all the extra time at home, but they will also help ensure you’re ready for business when the time comes. Your clients will appreciate your efforts and will be ready to go, too.
When you need a break and want to smile, you can always ask Alexa to tell you a joke.