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Getting set up to operate virtually is critical right now and fortunately, there’s a healthy range of awesome tech options ready and waiting to come to the rescue.

Yesterday I reached out to Inman Group technology writer Craig Rowe who sent me a recent blog he wrote comparing the best Virtual Conferencing Platforms. If you subscribe to Inman News you may have seen the article. But if not, here’s what Craig suggests.

“In response to the COVID-19 crisis, UberConference has moved its free account user level from 10 people to 50. This can make educational webinars, group market updates and broker sales meetings much more doable.
Over the years, I’ve found UberConference to be the easiest to use and most consistently stable online meeting tool. The interface puts the most important buttons upfront and doesn’t confuse the user with unclear icons.

I admit to never being in a meeting big enough to need its voice-identification tool, but I bet it’s a super-easy way to track who asked what during a well-attended meeting. Best of all? No downloads! Plus you can customize the wait-time music, which is a fun touch and makes UberConference the least clinical-feeling option” Craig Rowe. Technology Writer. Inman Group.

If you’re not set up with a Virtual Meeting Platform by now, check out and grab a permanent free account. If you subscribe to Inman News, here’s the full article

…and get awesome shit at

Hey everyone… Crazy times eh?
Less than a few weeks ago we were drinking in bars, eating in restaurants, riding the train, flying in planes, kissing and hugging our friends and family and generally, living our lives.
Fast forward to today and many of us are doing things very differently.
So change is coming and stuff is going to happen, and it’s what we do in the coming days and months that will determine how we come out of this financially and emotionally.
I can already see there are two types of agents emerging from this global event.
Agent one is throwing his hands up in the air in despair and becoming totally overwhelmed with coming changes and the consequences that follow. And honestly, who could blame him? There’s a lot to process, I get that.
My advice to agent one is stay calm, control what you can, avoid the misinformation that’s dominating social media and think about those around you looking to you for support, guidance and someone who can navigate through the chaos. Work out, meditate, start that project you’ve been putting off for years and oh yeah… wash your hands! 🙂
Agent two has accepted the status quo and is working towards what she CAN do to lead and inspire others. She knows her family, friends and clients are relying on her to be a ‘good driver in heavy traffic’ and a voice of reason in a sea of uncertainty and these times of unprecedented change.
In a sec I’m going to give you seven things you can do right now for yourself and your business to power through and leverage this very unique opportunity to gain precious market share in your area.
I know everyone is in a range of situations but I believe there is ALWAYS something we can do.
We can sit and sweat or we can take action and stare down the beast.
..and above all else, please know that we are here for you.
If you’re not sure what to do, I will personally jump on a call and give you my very best ideas and input to help you resolve whatever is stressing you out.
I don’t care if it’s real estate related or not so please don’t brush this off as a token gesture. If you want help, ask me.
My partners and I stand behind you and are here for you. You’ve put your faith in us to help you create and deliver great marketing but we are not some faceless corporation where you can’t find the help number or a silicon valley start-up looking for a quick buck.
We have families and businesses (outside of Jigglar) and concerns and responsibilities just like you.
Here are 7 things you can do now.
1. Your Current Listings
Go through your current listings and score them as to motivated sellers, 10 being high motivation to sell.
Once you have scored each listing, single out the 8s, 9s and 10s and note the asking price they need to be listed at to sell in less than 30 days. (that part is important)
Then call each owner and say “Hi. I guess you’re seeing the media and watching the news. If you’re serious about selling, we have a very small window of time. Right now I need to decide which sellers I’m going to be helping in this time. Do you want to sell or are you happy to sit this out for a year or two?”
Strong language? Sure and I won’t apologize for it. If I was a seller, I would be relying on my agent to tell me what’s going on and what the worst-case scenario might look like.
2. Your Pipeline Sellers not on the market yet
Go through your current pipeline listings and reach out to those close to listing (it’s actually a great time to speak to all your potential sellers but hit your motivated pipeline sellers first)
Have the same discussion. If they’re looking to sell in the next year or two, they need to move fast and get on the market.
3. Make building your list your #1 objective
Every crisis ends. When things get back to normal (hopefully quickly) folks will be looking for a an agent to help them buy or sell or both. Focus on building your list. Treat each name with contact info like money in the bank… because it is. Look for ways to engage people in your community. Social media and in particular Facebook is perfect for this.
4. Set yourself up with the best technology and tools
So right now, would you really benefit from offering your buyers and sellers an awesome virtual tour? (I heard you say yup) What about an online document signing service like Docusign (there’s a few out there) Jigglar* for all your marketing, reports and posts of course and for a killer client management platform, what about the new version of LockedOn*
What do you need to function? What do your clients need to function? How can you make their lives better? How can you make the process easier for buyers? What do you need to run your business like a well-oiled machine if this lockdown becomes extended?
5. Fine-tune your brand and your branding
Now is a great time to take a look at your branding and the way the market sees you. How’s your website? Does it load fast, do you have a great message and call-to-action above the fold. Is it fully responsive on all devices? How’s your social? Do you have a plan? What gets you results? How’s your SEO? What’s driving traffic to your site. Here’s the thing: Right now, someone in your patch is searching online for solid and reliable real estate advice? Are they reaching out to you? Why not see if you can get a complimentary ‘marketing health audit’ done on your business? Let me know if you want some names?
6. Systemize your business and your life
The system is the solution. 90% of what we do in real estate is repeatable. The best offices and agents I have ever seen are run by a system. Set up your systems and you’re done. Set up your standard letters, texts and emails in LockedOn. Set up your regular templates in Jigglar. Look for ways to automate and systemize everything you do. Our most important resource is time. Your time should be devoted to the 5 blue dollar actions that actually make you money. Everything else can be eliminated, delegated, automated or virtually assitanted (that’s a word… I just made it up)
7. Look at this time as an opportunity
This could be worse. We’re not at war, well not in the traditional sense anyway. And call me weird but I’m kind of liking this self-isolation thing. I’m free to do a few projects around the place (my honey-do list!) I’m free to write and work on my different business interests. I have my beautiful wife all to myself. We create wicked meals and work and brainstorm ideas and walk Roxi and binge Netflix and hang out on our own time on our own agenda. Someday this will all be gone. So what is there left to do but embrace it and turn it to your advantage? Explore your passions and interests. Dedicate 30 minutes a day to learning Spanish. Plan a world trip. Write a book. Get fit. Take photos. Create an online course. As my Indian friend Deepak says, the world is your oysters. (I’ve started a blog about our isolation adventures called The Corona Diaries.
Last night I had a call with Dan from my private client group. I was all prepared to give him some solid emotional support and tell him everything would be okay. But he tells me he’s looking forward to the change and working from his home office. He knows exactly what he’s going to do and he knows his competition will be dazed and confused and there will be market share for the taking. “Bring it on” he said excitedly!

March 30 2020. Day 18 in isolation. The Garage

The days are starting to blend into weeks and in a few days, we’ll start our third week holed up in the loft.

The feared explosion in the number of people contracting the virus has arrived as the global tally moves rapidly towards one million.  The speed with which this thing can spread blows my mind.

But as far as I know, the only way to shorten its effect and return to a normal world is to self-isolate. There are rumors of breakthroughs to produce a vaccine but they are just that.

Then why are people still roaming around? In a nursing home 20 minutes from the cottage, 9 people have died and 35 staff have C-19 symptoms. How can this happen when we’ve been aware of the potential danger of this pandemic for months?

Canada is yet to apply any form of enforced lockdown but fortunately, most people are staying home. Most people, even those in the reduced risk categories are doing what they are told and staying in.

Christine has adapted to our new routine and rallies her team with an 8.30 am Zoom call each weekday morning. Coincidentally, her company, busting at the seams with growth, was about to roll out a work-from-home strategy and suddenly it’s here and her people are doing really well.

For the first time, I get to see and hear what her workdays are like.

I’ve given her the run of the loft during the day and set up shop in the garage below. After spending the last two weeks cleaning up the garage and throwing out or selling stuff we don’t need, I have a nice space that’s warm, quiet and private. Perfect for writing and thinking.

We have enough food for another 3 or 4 weeks and I’m beginning to be grateful for my late February Costco missions and planning meals and storage. There’s plenty of food and yes, toilet paper, at the local Foodland but any trip or visit anywhere puts me at risk of contraction and infecting Christine. As an asthmatic that wouldn’t be pretty so, I’m staying in and keeping super busy looking after my private client group and Jigglar.

So here I sit at my $60 Costco table sharing the space with covered snowmobiles, workbench, tools, power saws and my 18-foot SeaRay bow-rider that I’m hoping to get into the lake this summer.

My heart goes out to people forced to stay home with someone they don’t get along with. That would suck!

March 25 2020. Day 13 in isolation. The Cottage

I made a dash for the lake yesterday. I need better Internet. 

We have a rather ghetto but comfy boathouse and converted garage on a lake about 70 minutes from the Loft and Chalet. It’s 2 hours from Toronto.

It happened after a funeral in 2012. At the wake, which was on a beautiful lake north of Toronto, we got talking to a woman about real estate and told her we were looking to buy.

She told us about this little place down the south end that had been on the market since February. This was early June.

To own a cottage on a lake has been my dream. We bought it and Christine and I were married October 5 the same year.

The cottage doesn’t stay open in the winter. The lake freezes and snow falls. It’s colder than a mother-in-law’s stare.

But Summer’s coming soon and in all honesty, I’m looking for projects plus I’m as hyper and anxious as Harvey Weinstein’s cellmate so yesterday I drove over, cranked up the heat in the boathouse and lit the fire in the main cottage.

Today I chainsawed a hole in the ice to bucket water back to the kitchen and bathroom.

I feel like a frontier fur trader from the 1890s.

Christine is back at the loft managing a team of 100+ who have just started working from home. She’s totally awesome.

March 23 2020. Day 11 in isolation. The real cost of worry.

Wow. There sure is a lot of anxiety out there!

…and if I get one more message from some company I gave my email address to a few years back telling me they are here for me, I’m going to scream!

It’s snowing outside. It started before dawn and hasn’t stopped. It’s lovely but I know plenty of people are starting to freak out.

So I’m dedicating today’s message to anyone feeling a bit of panic and overwhelm.

The producers at CNN and Fox and every news channel on the planet must be fizzing with the eyeballs they’re winning during this crisis. They love painting doomsday scenarios that play on the minds of the vulnerable.  It’s like they’re all competing to come up with the most frightening headlines.

Eff that!

I’m convinced now, more than ever, that this is definitely a time for a mindset reset and practicing some good old fashioned thought control. Here’s why:

There is a substantial longterm cost that comes with constant worry.

Yes! Things are grim and the unknown is well…  just that, the unknown. Our world has been plunged into uncertainty and it’s messing with our heads.

But we’ve faced bigger challenges. Our grandparents were called to fight in wars. We’re being called to wash our hands and sit on the couch.

Investing ‘think energy’ into worrying about things we can’t control won’t help us.  It can only hurt. We need to accept that spending brain power on worrying not only gives us a zero return, it leaves us in a worse position.

Sure, staying informed and planning is important but crippling your head with spiraling worry gets you nowhere.

If you were asked to write down all the things you are worried about, it would be a lengthy list and your fears would manifest.

But that’s exactly what so many people are doing over and over in their minds every day.

When you’re cooped up at home and your brain is left to its own devices, it can wander into enemy territory.

If you’re anxious and stressing each day, try some of these ‘tricks’ to turn things around.

  • Keep clear of Social Media. It’s mostly bad news.
  • Mediate. (I’ve started doing this more since we’ve been locked up and I’m amazed how much it’s helping me think, decide, plan and generally keep an elevated and enlightened mental attitude amidst the chaos)
  • Get your news from the right (trustworthy) sources like CDC, WHO and your local public health authorities
  • Exercise each day as early as you can.  It will set you up for a better day
  • Reach out to friends and family. If you need help ask for it. If you can offer help, strength and support, deliver it.
  • Indulge your passions. Write down your dreams. Make a list of mini-projects you’d like to complete this week. Take an online course to grow your business, or start on online business or learn photography or cooking or Latvian belt making or whatever floats your boat. There’s a world of great advice and advanced guidance out there waiting. Use your Pandemic wisely! (see list below of free online things)

My buddy and mindset coach Jet Xavier has some great strategies for this. One idea is if you feel like you’re getting overwhelmed with events, just make the decision to ‘mindswitch’ to something better.

Have a ‘go-to’ distraction that keeps you focussed and feeling positive.

Understand this thing has a beginning, a middle and an end. Our leaders are asking us to serve by staying home and reach out to help others.

I’m going to finish cleaning out the garage then maybe paint something.

Stay safe and stay inside.

March 21 2020. Day 9 in isolation. We’re way past that.

It’s Saturday. Outside it’s -9 degrees and the second day of Spring. The sky is Facebook blue.

627 deaths in Italy in the last 24 hours. That’s not great news. Meanwhile, Sydney’s Bondi Beach was packed with people on Friday seemingly oblivious to the danger of contraction and spreading the virus to those less able to handle the consequences.

I know folks are worried about fuelling an economic downturn but I genuinely believe we are way past worrying about that. This dog is already off the chain.

Germany has just announced a curfew for its 83 million citizens. All countries should be doing that.

The countries that have been slow to respond like Italy, Spain, Iran and even the US are starting to pay the price of delay and inaction.

I guess governments can only do so much to help out. I think we’ve reached the point where we need to be accountable and take responsibility for our own health and safety and for those that we love and care for.

If you’re not already staying home, can I suggest you grab some supplies and self-isolate today?

Experts are saying the better we can contain the spread, the fewer people will become infected and the faster we can look at getting back to normal. That’s the quick and dirty plan that seems to be working in countries where the virus is beginning to be contained and the number of new cases is falling.

I’m doing my best to embrace this change. Loving the peace and quiet and the chance to finish a few jobs and start some new projects.

Stay positive, stay safe and stay home 🙂

March 20 2020. Day 8 in isolation. I smell a big fat Wuhan Province rat

Well, that was an interesting first week.

When we left the city last Thursday night, it was going to be just for the weekend.

Eight days later the Kung Flu has gone postal. The world as we know it has changed so fast and I only packed one pair of fresh undies!

And I’d lay money that wannabe Netflix movie producers are searching for COVID-19 scripts like crazy.

It’s funny where your mind goes at 3am on day 8 in self-isolation.

I have to wonder if one of those movie scripts lands on a popular conspiracy theory.

Does anyone else smell a rat? …or should I say a bat?

Is it just me or is it amazing China recovered so fast from this thing?

And let’s build a 1600 bed 80,000 Sq Metre hospital in 8 days! …Sure.

Then we’re going to lock down millions of people in an entire province to reduce the spread …Piece a cake.

I’m not big on conspiracy theories. I believe the lunar landing was real and Roswell isn’t.

But come on! Is it a stretch to theorize China, reeling under US trade sanctions, an ongoing trade war and more pent up hate for the West than ever before, bred this thing?

Okay… just a theory and probably bogus. But hey, your mind goes into dark places when you’re cooped up in a 70o square foot space with crappy WIFI and no fresh undies!

And did I miss the Chinese leader’s apology?

The one where he says “Sorry for fucking up the world” and “Sorry for ruining a gazillion weddings” and “Sorry for triggering an economic Armageddon” and “Sorry for allowing our health and safety regulations to deteriorate so badly that something this evil can be born”

Nope. Didn’t hear that. Must have missed it on CNN when I was polishing my Karate trophies.

This is a highly secretive regime with a black belt in lying so who really knows the numbers or what’s actually going on?

The information coming out of China is sketchy but if what they say can be believed and the number of new daily cases is close to zero then that only happened with some very strict and harshly enforced stay-at-home policies.

Some hospital images I saw looked to have bars on the windows and the army or police or both were armed and present at the entrances to many buildings.

There’s no way anywhere else in the world is being that militant.

In other news, the floor I’m laying in the loft entrance is coming along and I still have all my fingers!

Stay safe and stay home everyone.


March 18 2020. Day 6 in isolation. Finally starting to get into a routine.

Up at 5am. Complete 10km run. Meditate for 30 minutes then Breakfast (kale, celery and apple juice) then wake up from that bad dream sweaty and anxious from the thought of drinking kale juice!

There are no blinds in the loft so we get up with the sun which is around 7am and that’s only going to get earlier as we get into summer.

Here’s what’s happening today:

Most, if not all Canadian provinces have now declared a State Of Emergency. The US-Canada border is now closed to all but non-essential traffic so no more beer and outlet mall runs to Buffalo New York which is about 2 hours south of us.

Ford and GM announced today they are shutting down all US plants. (That’s huge!)

There are now confirmed reports of COVID cases in all 50 US states plus most Provinces and territories up here.

The first Canadian COVID related death happened yesterday just 20 minutes South of us.

Between us, Christine and I have 3 kids overseas trying to get home. (I forgot about my stepson Joey coming back from Thailand in yesterday’s post)

They all have plane tickets with direct flights back into Canada so hoping no further restrictions will interfere with those plans.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has just pledged a support package of $82 Billion. He’s now delivering daily AM reports which is a clear sign he’s off the weed and on the tools. Today he told us to self-isolate and help our neighbors.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo estimates the number of COVID cases will peak in 45 days. But that’s based on the Chinese experience and I have so many questions about that so who knows. Some experts say the summer heat will reduce the life of the virus but that’s untested.

It’s very quiet up here. And cold. Our place is in a subdivision of about 300 homes. There are normally few signs of life but with folks working from home we’re starting to see and meet more neighbors. Everyone seems pretty relaxed.

The trees are still bare but the Blue Jays and Woodpeckers are starting to appear. The big Woodpeckers with the bright red notch on their heads are so amazing but tricky to find.

I got a great deal on 10 boxes of flooring from Costco this week so I’m going to have a crack at laying it in the entrance downstairs. What’s the worse that can happen?

I’ve just completed a detailed supply audit. I think we have enough food for a few weeks and enough wine for a few days.

March 17 2020.  Day 5 Self-Isolation.  Is this the new normal?

Today the Ontario government declared a State Of Emergency so we’re in isolation. We’re making some changes but apart from that, it’s business as usual. 

I’m starting this post to monitor things and hopefully help my real estate friends weather the storm. We are in this together and we will come through it together.

There was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, when I thought the Coronavirus wasn’t a big deal.

I vaguely remember the SARS virus back in 2003 but it seemed to come and go relatively quickly.

I don’t recall too much anxiety, fear or even panic.

I certainly don’t remember any economic fallout.

It seems this health emergency/crisis has arrived fully loaded with all of the above.

I’ll admit to sitting back for a bit and waiting to see what happened before I reached out to you and the thousands of awesome folks that subscribe to my VIP mailing list to talk about this.

I researched some decent sources and started following some well-respected experts and the warnings were there.

Then a few things happened:

The so-called Coronavirus turned into the ever more sinister COVID-19. When you see it in caps it looks like some kind of warning you see on the back of a truck that ships dangerous chemicals.

Next thing you know the World Health Organization (WHO) identified it as a Pandemic and then…. well, things got crazy.

Right now I know a lot of people are scared and more than a little freaked out which is totally getable.

I’m trying to get two of my kids traveling in Australia back to Toronto in a crazy climate of overloaded airline helplines and prices that seem to double every time I check. But we all have worries.

We worry about our own health and elderly or infirm parents (like mine) or grandparents who are identified as being in the higher risk category.

We worry about our bills and jobs and businesses and if you’re an employer, those that rely on us for a living wage.

We worry about our investments (our shares look like they’ve gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson)

And we worry about the long-term economic fallout.

It’s easy to understand how so many things to worry about can overwhelm and cause anxiety. But that’s a slippery slope.

In the last week, I’ve had some great discussions with friends, family, and members of my private client group who have made a number of valuable and interesting observations.

My big takeaway from these chats is that while it’s natural for people to worry, we need to accept and adjust. Where we are now will be the new normal for a while. There’s nothing we can do about it except for following health recommendations and staying safe.

We also need to know that, like every crisis faced in the past, this will pass .

These are times to stay carefully informed (be wary of fake news) and stay prepared.

There will also be opportunities to do things because of this event and as I learn more about those ideas, I’ll share them here.

If you need help, ask for it. If you can provide help, offer it. 

I’m here for you and I’m ready to do whatever I can. Let’s be good drivers in heavy traffic and do what we can with what we have.

By the way, I’ve worked from home since 2005 and I love it. I churn out content like crazy and walk to the beat of my own drum. Seriously, there’s nothing like it! 

I know, when this is all done and dusted, that so many folks will be addicted to the work-from-home lifestyle.

Christine, Roxi (our boxer) and I are holed up in the loft above our garage. (see pic above) It’s a little bit thrown together but it’s fun. Big question will be for how long can she can handle my dad jokes! Tonight we’re watching Contagion. 🙂

If you’re living large in the land of the long weekend or NZ, it’s Spring!

Winter is behind us, days are getting longer and the news is all about footy finals and Spring racing. Ahhh Two Stroke!

For those of us in real estate land it’s the start of our busiest selling season. More sellers more buyers more action. The run up to Christmas will be busy but VERY rewarding if we get it right.

Last week I was work-shopping ideas with a coaching client and we came up with (what I thought was) a very cool prospecting strategy. Today he emails me. Bang! 4 listing appointments and 3 listings.  I LOVE IT when a plan comes together.

Here’s what he did:

He called ALL his pipeline sellers (that included anyone who had even sniffed at the idea of selling in the coming year or two) and said:

“Hi. I just wanted to give you the heads up. It’s the very start of Spring which means more sellers will be coming onto the market toward the end of the month after the football finals are done. When this happens, buyers have a much larger choice which can have an effect on clearance rates and selling prices. I just wanted to let you know about it and suggest that if you’re planning a sale this year, you’re better off going sooner than later.”

You can tweak the specifics to suit your market and area but that’s the main theme. Spring is here. That means more buyers and prices could suffer. Seems to happen every year.

The two best motivators in the world are chance of gain and fear of loss.  This strategy (if delivered correctly) actions both.

By the way… if you’re interested in getting involved in my 90 Day Results Coaching, let me know. I have some places coming up in September and so far this year, I’ve gained some very powerful tools I can’t wait to share.  Message me privately for more info.  Cheers Ray

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