How to Take Advantage of the COVID-19 Slowdown
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken the country and the world by storm over the past several weeks. With many state governments barring any business that is deemed non-essential and urging or requiring people to stay in their homes, the economic consequences are potentially going to be more severe than those of the virus itself.
For people in the real estate industry, the chaos and panic caused by virus and economic disruption mean that many would be buyers and sellers are wanting to pump the brakes on moving forward. Clients are unsure about what the immediate and long term future will look like, they may be concerned for their jobs, their kids are home from school, and they might just not be inclined to take a big step like buying or selling a home.
Although, since we are right in the middle of it at the moment, the situation looks bleak, it’s important to hold on to the fact that all this will only be temporary. At some point, life has to go on as normal. People still need to move out of their parents’ house, people still need to downsize their home, growing families will still need to have more space. In other words, eventually sellers will jump back into the market and buyers will eagerly get out and start shopping again at some point.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, the housing market was strong. Just because the virus has caused a temporary disruption, does not mean that all that demand has simply vanished. It is merely being delayed. What that means is that, once the crisis period has passed, that demand will come rushing back in.
What Real Estate Agents Can Do During the COVID-19 Slowdown
Your task in the coming days and weeks is to protect your business and set yourself up to take advantage of the real estate market when it does bounce back. The best way to reduce your own anxiety is to create a proactive plan that you can execute. Once you develop a plan, you can rely on it when you’re worried and use it to keep your eye on the prize and maintain your focus on your business, not the virus.
There are three things the plan for your real estate business should cover:
- What you can do to protect the current business that you have
- What you can do to protect the future business that you have in the pipeline
- What you can do to increase your database, sphere, and market share during this time
How to Protect Your Current Business
The most important thing you can do right now for your real estate business is develop proactive strategies for protecting and maintaining what you currently have. Current business means clients that are in the middle of the process right now, deals in the pipeline, buyers who are currently shopping, and listings who thinking about putting their property on the market.
Now, since we are about a week or two into this situation really ramping up, I would hope that you have already spoken to each and every client that you are currently doing business with. If you haven’t, then that is something you have to do TODAY. Right now, if possible. You need to talk out their particular situation with them, listen to their fears and worries, and, if necessary, be their voice of reason through all the chaos.
What I wouldn’t do though, is try to change anyone’s mind at this point. If they are operating on fear, then it is best to not try to force them to take any action. The way the situation is now, it might be better to give certain clients a little space and time. For those clients who are open to having conversations about the general situation and their own specific situation with you, use your normal conversation techniques to get at what specific fears or concerns are keeping them from wanting to move forward.
Reach out to everyone to see how they are doing, just don’t be pushy! Being pushy makes you sound salesy and like you don’t have their best interests at heart. For clients that are scared and want to wait before taking any action, develop a timeline. Tell them that you both can see where things are in two weeks and go from there.
Share Positive Information with Your Sphere
When it comes to clients you are nurturing and future business in your pipeline, the best thing you can do right now is be a source of positive news. You should be checking news outlets and government websites for any good developments or any information that can remind people in your network that the world is not coming to an end. If not overtly positive, at least share news or stories that can bring them some clarity.
Examples of the types of information to share could be new developments on the testing front, news about creating a vaccine, government steps to stabilize the real estate market and economy as a whole, stories about people volunteering to help high risk segments of the population, etc.
If you’ve been watching the news, then you have probably noticed that there is a deluge of negative and scary information. Be your database’s source for the good and they will remember you for it once the situation has gotten more under control and they are ready to move forward with an agent.
Should You Be Prospecting?
A question on many real estate agents’ minds is whether or not they should be lead generating during this time. What you definitely can do is reach out to people from the angle of being a community connector. Call people, introduce who you are, find out how they are doing, and ask them if there are any resources that they or their families need that you can help connect them to.
In other words, introduce yourself as a real estate agent, but don’t go straight into asking the lead if they want to buy or sell a house. The goal here is to be helpful and for them to learn who you are. If they want to buy or sell a house, they will tell you. Approach them from a business perspective, but connect with them on a personal level.
The most important thing you can do for your real estate business is to continue to offer value to your clients and potential clients. Reach out to existing business, wade through the negatively to find positive pieces of information to share with your network, and, if you have the time, reach out to new business and try to connect them with the community resources they need.
Doing these things and generally being proactive during the next few weeks will be critical to your business’s continued success.