While the possibility for summer blockbusters remains in doubt, Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller has assembled his own team of real estate superheroes for a new video series called LYFE Line, an acronym which stands for “Live Your Future Everyday.” In the first installment, which took place last Friday, Gary led a roundtable discussion about the market of the moment with three other KW luminaries – Jay Papasan, VP of Learning, Jason Abrams, VP of Industry, and Monica Reynolds, VP of KW MAPS Coaching.
If you missed the livestream, or just need a refresher, you can find a recording of it in the Pivot: Shift Ahead Facebook group.
It’s Time for Care Calls and Creativity
Papasan kicked off the discussion with the number he’s been following closely over the past week: unemployment. With economists expecting an additional 4.5 million Americans filing for unemployment, bringing the total to 26 million in just five weeks, there are a lot of clients out there in need of what Abrams calls real estate first responders. “This is the time when the ultimate mission of all real estate agents actually gets realized, which is helping people, not just through a transaction but through any of these uncertainties,” claimed Abrams.
Keller elaborated by lauding some of the creative ways he’s seen agents assist their clients beyond their property concerns. For example, he’s seen multiple agents form charities to support their communities. He’s also seen agents promote local restaurants, coffee shops, and other small businesses that are still doing takeout. Perhaps the most inventive act of altruism came from the agent who created a website similar to eBay where people can post their needs or find others to help in their community. These examples underline Keller’s belief that to truly prosper during a shift, you have to lift others with you.
“It’s survive and thrive, and we don’t know how long survive will last, but it’s critical that we survive. And helping others do the same thing is kind of what we do,” he said.
Abrams rounded out the topic by reminding listeners that the care calls don’t stop at clients. With Google searches for “What is a furlough?” increasing by 5,000% earlier last week, Abrams pointed out that there’s a lot of talented professionals out there who may be looking for a new place of employment. If business owners have the resources to invest in fresh talent, now may be the best time to do it.
This Is Not the Time to Sit on the Sidelines
If there’s one attribute every great real estate agent exhibits, it’s persistence, and Reynolds recalled how her endurance got her through the shift of 1986. “I remember that my business thrived, but I remember for two years I didn’t take a vacation.” It was her relentless commitment to solving problems for her clients that allowed her to excel at a time when many agents were calling it quits. “It’s about your database: double, triple down on your database. Reach out to people and connect.”
Keller reiterated, “Like Monica said, as long as you’ve got your laptop and your cell phone and you’re talking to people.” He also reminded listeners that this advice has remained true since he first got into the industry back in the late ’70s. “I knew a lot of real estate agents who said, ‘These are really bad times. People aren’t going to transact. We’re just going to wait and sit on the sidelines.’ I didn’t know any better, so I just kept connecting and calling people for all the right reasons.” After a five-month drought, his persistence paid off. “When the markets changed, we found ways to succeed through it, and I hit all of my 12-month goals in literally 5 months.” Keller is also no stranger to completing transactions while social distancing. “I got impetigo and I was quarantined for three weeks, and oh, by the way, I sold three listings during that three-week period.”
These unlikely successes underline Keller’s pitch-perfect summary of the market of the moment. “In the end, we’re here to solve problems for people. We’re not the cause of the problem, nor are we the philosopher around the problem. Our goal is to help them transact business, and they count on us in downturns more than ever.”
Digital Is the New Normal and Future Predictions
With people social distancing all over the world, “agents, buyers, and sellers are absolutely getting accustomed to virtual experiences,” noted Reynolds. “And many agents are sharing that they’ve gotten so much time back, they’re never going back to that.”
While Keller agrees there are exciting opportunities in the digital space, he is confident nothing will ever fully replace face-to-face interactions. “I believe the savvy agents go back,” he predicted. “If everybody just Zooms in, and nobody ever does anything in person anymore, it’s going to leave the door wide open for the savvy Realtors to say, ‘Well I understand the other Realtors aren’t going to come to your home, but I’m coming to your home.’”
Related reading: How to Host a High-Impact Virtual Meeting
Abrams’ stance on the digital revolution began in Vegas at last year’s FutuRE event. “We actually talked about these concepts months ago, and the idea was that people wanted to see less homes, but more of the right ones,” he observed. “I think what you’re seeing is on a long enough timeline, the consumer always gets what they want, and COVID may have hastened it. They’re getting the streamlined satisfaction of using their phone to do more.”
The speed at which digital adoption is happening is what really stands out to Papasan. “The biggest companies in the world have all pivoted to virtual training, because that’s where it is, and it won’t be the same when we go back.” For industries that can’t keep up, the future looks grim. “We knew that department stores were not doing well, and that trend got accelerated by this. Digital is accelerating faster than we thought.”
As for the real estate industry, Keller summed it up best, “The Realtor who figures out how to balance the digital and the physical is going to win.”
Capturing Your Unfair Share Through Your Pipeline
At the other end of this shift, those who focused on their database will flourish, and those who ignored it won’t. For agents who want to end up in the former camp, Keller recommends focusing on two buckets of business. “One of them is your repeat and referral business. And the other, your pipeline.”
According to Keller, the pipeline is where agents prepare for their unfair share. “Agents who took the time to nurture their pipeline will be rewarded in the end. It will be just like a starter’s gun,” he predicted. “Those who didn’t stop trying to do that pipeline business are going to have an unbelievable unfair advantage.”
To help keep agents on track, Reynolds recommends getting specific with your goals. “One of the things that I’ve always said to the coaches and our clients is that absolutely make sure that each buyer agent, each agent on your team has a goal that by June 1 or June 15 they have 15 people in their opportunities in Command in that pipeline, and be looking for 50 more opportunities. When you set a specific goal, you achieve it, versus, ‘Oh, I’ll go find some leads,’ so get very specific on that number.”
To Keller, the number-one most important message listeners should gain from this first edition is to keep going. “Do not stop. Get creative, and [figure out how to respond to the market of the moment], because those that do will be way ahead and there’s no catch-up on that.” For listeners hoping to stay ahead of industry trends, tune in to KW Connect on Friday for the latest installment of LYFE Line.