Dave Panozzo is the co-founding owner of The Panozzo Team-HomeSmart, a real estate team in Phoenix, Arizona.
The past year came with its own unique set of challenges. With every day seeming more apocalyptic than the next, real estate agents across the U.S. have been forced to find new ways to make a sale. In-person meetings became obsolete in light of the Covid-19 regulations calling for social distancing. Realtors turned to online Zoom meetings, webinars and online chat rooms to connect with clients and prospects. Those able to adapt to the new online protocol found success despite the turning tides. What separated those who were thriving in the chaos from those who had their worlds turned upside down?
The Magic Pill
Phoenix, Arizona, is known as a hotspot for the weather, the real estate market, and in recent months, cases of the coronavirus. While some realtors were beaten by the heat this summer, others saw an increase in sales. When I speak with agents on my own team, one mentioned a powerful idea: There is no magic pill for success. In fact, success in 2020 and beyond can be partly helped by getting back to basics.
What kind of basics? Personal touches like handwritten letters to clients or even a simple email to see how they’re doing can go a long way. Beyond that, care kits with masks, sanitizer, gloves and more offer a tangible connection — and can be branded for that extra touch. It’s more than just excellent communication with clients. In this age of tech, Zoom and isolation due to the pandemic, human touch is key.
Get Back To The Basics
Anything you want to know can be found on Google, so when someone is looking to buy a new home with a real estate agent, the first thing they do is research. What does building relationships mean in this new climate where getting back to basics starts with “Hey Alexa?” Old school tactics like handshakes and hugs have gone with the season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a special relationship with new clients and prospects every day.
After a new client finds us online, they already know who we are by the time they speak with us over the phone. They know who we are because of our online reputation from our social media, our reviews and our website.
If you treat your online reputation like a résumé and have outstanding results that pop up when searching your name or real estate team, clients will start their home buying experience with you on the right foot. They’ll feel a familiarity that comes with getting to know you online before working together.
To build your online reputation, start with your website and social media. Create brand consistency by making sure your usernames are the same across the board and if possible, the same as your domain name. Once your social media and website are set up, create a content strategy that outlines your target audience, brand pillars and posting dates/times. When publishing content, make sure the post is speaking to your dream client and optimize all of your social channels for your target audience. Building the online reputation means putting in the hard work first before seeing results, but your consistency will pay off.
Put In The Hard Work Upfront
Patience, persistence, focus and determination are the usual terms that come to mind when you think of hard work. What every realtor needs to know is that you’re going to have to go through the trenches before you reach the gold. If you are looking to optimize your client experience, switch your perspective. Walk through your client’s experience as if you are the client and view your systems through an unbiased lens. The areas where your client experience is flawed, time-consuming and/or inconvenient are the areas in which you should start improving. Think of creative ways to add a personal touch, optimize the client experience and watch as the referrals start pouring in.
In a highly populated, highly connected world, real estate agents are a dime a dozen. Finding a real estate agent is easy, but finding a trustworthy and skilled real estate agent is like finding a needle in a haystack. If you are looking to stand out, you have to work your way to the top and be able to adapt to the endlessly changing protocols and trends. We are entering a new normal of mask-wearing in public and keeping a distance from others. Creating an online presence that resonates with your dream client will go a long way for developing new relationships. Despite the chaos, don’t just survive — thrive.
Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?