It’s no secret that when the market begins to shift, agents must double down on lead generation. What’s sometimes forgotten, however, is that as agents become more communicative, they must also become more sensitive. Jason Abrams, head of industry, and Cody Gibson, director of expansion growth, discussed this tightrope walk during a livestream training session, and Gary Keller even addressed the topic of sensitivity and care during his Mega Camp 2021 market update. Here is some timely and timeless advice on how to take heart and connect with clients on a human level.
1. Proceed full speed ahead with care calls: As virus uncertainty continues putting clients on edge, reaching out from a place of care is essential. “When confidence gets shaken, people want to see their leaders, and you are the leaders of your data banks,” Abrams says during the Market Update. “So if you were doing care calls at the peak of this thing, it might not be a bad time to make those calls again.” Keller adds, “The bottom line is that people are less confident than it’s ever been recorded right now. I believe that the real estate industry, particularly real estate agents, are more in tune with their buying and selling customers than any other industry and show more direct concern than any others.”
2. Seize the opportunity without being opportunistic: According to Abrams, “Every single day there’s an opportunity to be a positive force in someone else’s life.” Those are the kind of opportunities agents should be looking for during a market shift. It’s not about convincing a client who lost their job to sell their home or rushing a buyer through the close before they change their mind. It’s about genuinely helping people in their time of need; not because it could lead to business down the road, but because you believe in your heart it’s the right thing to do.
3. Be a hub of knowledge: In the same way your heart pumps blood throughout your body, agents should use this time to pump helpful information throughout their entire contact list. One of the most beneficial ways agents can do this is by forming connections between their clients. For example, if one of your clients is a personal trainer, ask them for some simple workouts your other clients can do from the comfort of their home while sheltering in place. If one of your clients is a teacher, ask them to share homeschooling tips with your network. Agents who establish themselves as a valuable source of knowledge will never be forgotten.
4. Talk your heart out: In-person meetings may be off the table for now, but that doesn’t give agents permission to slow down their client outreach. Gibson suggests calling clients weekly, or in some cases, daily. “You can’t talk with people too much,” he promises. But phone calls aren’t the only way to stay in touch with your network. With all of the teleconferencing apps on the market, and the country’s growing familiarity with how to use them, scheduling face-to-face meetings has never been easier. The same is true for virtual showings and open houses. Thanks to technology, there are endless opportunities for agents to stay in touch with their clients. According to Abrams, “You’re moving emotionally closer every time you pick up the phone.” It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking to the receiver or the camera.
5. It’s better to be fun than funny: When the market is stable, humor can be a great icebreaker for agents. When the market shifts, jokes can be a little insensitive. It’s important to remember that most people find uncertainty scary, and making light of a client’s concerns could rub them the wrong way. Rather than soliciting a laugh, aim for more universally appreciated emotions like joy. Abrams mentioned an agent in Alabama who hosted a children’s coloring contest on his Facebook page. It’s hard to tell if this fun and inoffensive activity was loved more by the young contestants or the parents who were thrilled to receive a new way to entertain their kids. All that matters is the agent was the hero in the end.
6. Fight F.E.A.R.: To Gibson, fear isn’t a word. It’s an acronym that stands for “False Expectations Appearing Real.” At the beginning of a market shift, some clients forget that all shifts eventually come to an end. They expect it to last forever, and those false expectations lead them to make some unfortunate decisions. “We can’t let fear get in the way of a good thing,” Abrams cautions. One way agents can promote positive thinking is by sharing client success stories. Let your apprehensive clients know that people are still happily buying and selling homes. Even if that doesn’t move them to transact, it will at least reassure them the world still spins.
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7. Reach out to your fellow agents: Clients aren’t the only ones who could use a hand right now. Agents all over the world are just as confused and concerned. Abrams recommends picking up the roster of your market center and introducing yourself to every name on the list. If you already know everyone at your MC, reach out to a different one. In times like these, agents have to stick together. As comforting as it is to talk to friends, spouses, or therapists, no one provides a better sounding board than another agent. Befriend a fellow agent today and you’ll have an ally for life.
8. Stay Human: As Gibson poignantly puts it, “This is the time where we don’t choose to be more human, we’re called to be more human.” Agents who put their clients’ comfort before their own commission, who ask about their clients’ family before asking if they’re interested in buying or selling, who sit on the phone for half an hour without even mentioning real estate, those are the agents who lead with their hearts. And, when this shift comes to an end, which it will, those will be the agents with thriving businesses.
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