How to Succeed in the Post COVID-19 Real Estate World

selling real estate during COVID-19
selling real estate during COVID-19

How to Succeed in the Post COVID-19 Real Estate World

It looks like we are finally seeing some light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. As more and more states end shelter-in-place orders and loosen restrictions, our lives are at least beginning to become somewhat normal again. In the majority of states, real estate agents are once again allowed to buy and sell houses, and most markets are starting to pick back up again. Although there are still fears of a second wave of COVID-19 and it’s important to take the proper precautions, I believe this is great news for our industry.

We get to go back to work!!

What does that mean for real estate agents? Well, if you’re like many agents, your business probably has taken a hit over the past two months. You may even still be taking a hit. However, now is the time to surge forward. It’s time to safely gain back as much ground as we possibly can for 2020.

I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of memes and jokes out there about 2020 being the worst year ever. After COVID-19 it’ll be killer bees, then 5G sickness, and then aliens will invade and wipe us all out. However, the most extreme calamities we can imagine notwithstanding, the year is still young and there is plenty of time to salvage your business and even thrive.

Take Advantage of the Work You Put in During COVID-19

Knowing you for the productive, forward thinking agent that you are, I know that you took advantage of the last two months as much as possible. If you’ve been following the advice we’ve been giving at Smart Inside Sales, then you’ve been nurturing your existing leads by offering to help, becoming a community connector, and being the bearer of good, positive news in the face of the negativity.

Right now is when all that work starts paying off.

Being a community connector during times of hardship isn’t only the thoughtful, right thing to do, it also means that the people in your sphere think of you as someone they can count on when things are tough. You’ve built up trust, which means that they are more likely to think of you when it comes time to buy or sell their home. It also makes them think of bringing your name up if a friend or family member is thinking of buying or selling a home.

If you were consistently reaching out to your network, then you should know of at least some leads who are looking to buy or sell now that things have settled down a bit. Now is the time to reach out to them if you haven’t already.

Use the Credit You’ve Built Up  

When contacting leads or prospects, you should still be focused on how they are holding up, what their situation is, etc. Many people are still out of work, sick, or going through difficult times. Continue to come from the angle of helping out (which is really the angle you should be coming from in any situation, COVID or no COVID).

Start using the credit you’ve built up with your sphere over the past two months. They know they can trust you. They now have proof that you are looking to assist them in solving their particular problem instead of only making a sale. Plus, hopefully, their own situation is improving to the point where they want to starting acting and moving forward with buying or selling a home.

Be the COVID-19 Real Estate Situation Expert

Be an expert for your market. That means know what restrictions are still in place and understand the dos and don’ts of showing and selling homes as we move back towards a more recognizable world. People are still going to be a bit apprehensive, and you have to be there to put their nerves to rest.

It would be a good idea to continue offering virtual showings, as well as to offer the capability to complete as much of the home buying process online as possible. Even if you are allowed to meet or show houses in person, give your leads and clients the option to do so or not, so they can feel as comfortable as possible during this transition time period.

Now Is the Time to Surge Forward

Now is the time to move forward full steam ahead. Virus or no virus, economic slowdown or no economic slowdown, there are still people who need to buy and sell homes. Like I’ve said in the past, people are still having families who need a bigger house, people still need to downsize, people are still moving for work, and people are still getting out of their parents’ homes.

You’ve got a solid sphere, you’ve built up your network, and you’re itching to help people move forward with their lives. Now’s the time to go to work.

In the words of Walt Disney, I heard there’s going to be a recession. I’ve decided not to participate.”

It’s in your hands to make the most of this year that you can.

How Real Estate Agents Work Zillow Leads

Zillow for real estate agents
Zillow for real estate agents

How Real Estate Agents Work Zillow Leads

Zillow and similar websites like it divide the real estate industry. Some agents swear these types of sites are very worst thing in the world, while for others, they’re their bread and butter. As our society, and the real estate industry in particular, become more and more dependent on doing things online, viewing and purchasing products virtually (yes, even houses these days), and, generally living digitally, tools like Zillow are becoming more important for both agents and clients.

They are especially critical in the current times we find ourselves in full of pandemics and social distancing and quarantining.

Zillow in the Real Estate Industry

No matter how you feel about using Zillow as a real estate agent, it’s a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Close to 200 million unique visitors spend time on Zillow each and every month. These people are looking at houses, reading content, searching for real estate agents, seeing what homes around them are valued at, and looking for a place to call home for the next step in their lives.

Like other listing websites, in order for potential home buyers to view and access the properties they want to look at, they have to enter in some contact information like name, email, and phone number. And after they do that, on the other side of the screen (or across the country), companies and real estate agents are paying for that information. Essentially, Zillow uses its wide reach and exposure to translate its large audience into leads that agents, in theory at least, take and convert to sales.

Through the Premier Agent program, real estate agents can also have names, faces, and contact information posted alongside listings. Additionally, Premier Agents receive branding and exposure by appearing prominently where home shoppers are searching on Zillow and Trulia.

Why Some People Don’t Like Using Zillow

While Zillow acts as a plentiful lead source for many, others feel that it creates a lose-lose situation for both leads and agents. This is because, according to some real estate professionals, Zillow takes a potential buyer who is very early in the home buying process and overwhelms them with agents trying to contact them. You just wanted to look at some photos, and now you have 20 people calling you trying to be your real estate agent. On the agent side, many feel that they are paying too much money just to be fighting against a torrent of other agents going after the same lead.

However you feel about Zillow, the fact of the matter is that it can be beneficial to those who use it effectively. And how do you use it effectively? By understanding how to consistently convert the leads you get from it.

How to Talk to Zillow Leads

At Smart Inside Sales, we emphasize that your sales calls need to revolve around actual conversations that are enjoyable and productive for both parties. This means that, especially as you get more experienced, you cannot rely solely on pre-programmed responses. When contacting Zillow leads who are early in the home buying process, this concept becomes even more important.

For this, we developed a technique to handle objections and to get to the heart of what the lead wants that goes beyond scripts, called the PPO Process. PPO stands for Perspective Process Outcome.

The lead’s perspective is their past experience, knowledge and speculation.

The prospect’s process is their own plan that they have for their situation. The process is typically what will lead to an objection. They have their plan and you are not a part of it in their mind, so they turn you down.

And finally, the outcome. This is the unique result or benefit the prospect believes their process will deliver for them.

Confidently Deal with Objections

Perspective, process, and outcome are the three things that make up any objection. The key here is to understand these three parts of the objection from the lead’s point of view, not just from your own. Below are the five most critical aspects of dealing with an objection once they tell you it:

  1. Acknowledge – Listen to what they say and let them know that you understand it.
  2. Paraphrase – Restate what they said without leading and without interpretation.
  3. Inquire into their perspective, process, and outcome – This is where you dig into their thought process how they see it. Get them to walk you through their knowledge, plan, and the unique thing they hope to accomplish. These are the three things you need to know in order to counter their objection, so ask questions that get you the answers.
  4. Determine the unique benefit or result they hope to achieve – this is their sought after outcome.
  5. Close if appropriate – Close if the lead does not bring up another objection as a result of the PPO process or if it becomes obvious that meeting is the next logical step in your conversation.

Follow this process, understand where the lead’s objection is coming from (from their own point of view), and respond in a way that makes sense given their perspective and goal.

Conclusion: Should Agents Use Zillow?

I’m not here to tell you whether or not real estate agents should use Zillow or not. If it works for you then use it, if it doesn’t work for you then don’t use it. But if you are going to give it try, it all comes down to being able to have effective sales conversations. Understanding the situation from their perspective and approaching the call from the angle of helping them solve a problem is critical for any lead, but especially leads that are earlier in the process, like the ones from Zillow.