Look for ways to improve inefficiencies in your business while working from home over the next several weeks, advises Shay Hata, a Realtor® in Chicago. Hata is a nationally known real estate speaker, having spoke at the National Association of Realtors® annual conference and Inman.
“Most of us haven’t been doing any showings. No one wants to be doing showings right now,” Hata said. “We’re finding ways to still work with clients in creative ways.”
So how do you keep your business moving forward if you can’t meet in-person with clients?
“I have clients who are thinking about putting their home on the market, so I use FaceTime to talk with them about what they can do to get the property ready for when we do get back up and running. They can be caulking the bathtub, touching up paint, working on the landscaping. You need to help them figure out how to add value to their home,” she said.
Hata suggested contacting your past and current clients to see how they’re doing and what you can do to help them.
“I have one client who has a child with an auto-immune situation. She went to four stores looking for toilet paper and that’s really dangerous for her child, so we dropped off toilet paper for her,” she said. “Another client has a new baby and two young children and she’s really struggling so we dropped off some toys for her.”
“When you call your client, ask them deeper questions. This isn’t about selling them a house now, it’s about finding out what they need. When this is all over, I think people will remember who has been kind to them,” she said.
Working from home also gives you time to set up systems to make your processes more efficient.
“I don’t like to have the same conversation with 10 different people,” Hata said. “I made the different questions into FAQs on my blog posts so when a client asks me a question, I can send them a link to that post. That saves me so much time every day.”
If you don’t have a website, now is the perfect time to create one. “Two out of three clients do extensive research online to find a Realtor®. If you don’t have a beautiful website, you need one. Why would I hire you to sell my house if I can’t find your website and you’re not effectively marketing yourself? I recommend using Placester and you get a discount through NAR.”
Organize your client contacts by using a customer relationship management system; Hata recommends Realvolve. Use this time to set up automatic drip campaigns, but turn them off during the crisis.
“I have a campaign set up that sends an email to the clients who are under contract every day, so they hear from us and they feel like we’re leading them through the process. The emails explain what happens with the inspection, what happens when the inspection is over and all the other steps. You can create campaigns for new clients, ones who are under contract and post-closing. By setting up auto campaigns now, you’ll be ready when we’re back up and running,” Hata noted.
If you already have a CRM, clean up your data base. “Most people’s data base is a mess,” she said. “Go through and check past clients’ email addresses and phone numbers. Then set up a campaign to keep in contact with them. Most agents forget to stay in contact with clients after about three years, but research shows that most people aren’t buying again for seven to 10 years. Turn this system on when life goes back to normal.”
Spend time friending all of your clients on Facebook or other social media outlets. “I create a ‘Friend’ list of clients so I can check that client list and I can keep up with what’s going on in their lives, as opposed to having scroll through my whole Facebook wall to find out. It makes my time on Facebook more efficient. Then I can reach out to them to see what their changing needs are.”
“I think the market is going to be insane with pent-up demand when this ends and people will be ready to buy and list their homes,” she added. “Now’s the time to prepare.”