TAP 168. Why agents are lucky. The smart agent’s guide to COVID success and how long will this take?

I hope you’re staying home and staying safe. It’s day 27 in isolation for me and I’m very fortunate.

I don’t have kids to organize and entertain or their meals to plan.
I’m not on a health professional on the front line helping virus sufferers like a number of friends and family who are doing an amazing job saving lives. I’ve worked remotely from a home office, coffee shop and often my car for the last 15 years so there’s no major shift in work habits and so far, and  touch wood, I don’t have a sore throat or dry cough.

And if I bring the virus back home to Christine who suffers severe asthma… well, I don’t even want to think about that.

In times like this, I believe it’s important to focus on what we can influence.

For a start, we have the power to influence our own thinking. We can wallow in the cancer that is self-doubt and choose to take the low road of despair, pending doom and negative, destructive thinking which, as we all know, never ends well… or we can choose to remain optimistic and hopeful and reach out to others and either ask for support or offer it. Nobody is immune and we’ve all reached this fork in the road at some point. The important question is when you do?

When you think about it, we’re all born with the same two options… we can choose to be a tower of strength or a swamp of suffering and if I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that you will move towards what you think about.

You naturally gravitate to where your head’s at. In fact, it’s virtually impossible not to. For so many, success begins when we make the decision to hack into our optimism and achievement tools with things like exercise, meditation, a solid routine, focussing on the right business actions for these times and tuning our radar to actively scan for opportunities.

Since this thing started I’ve had the chance to connect with agents in many different places. Sometimes we email, sometimes we talk on the phone or face to face it with a Zoom call.

I’m honored and humbled that many real estate contacts (including quite a few I don’t know) have reached out to me for help and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share any ideas, suggest solutions and workshop options at a time like this and I’d like to extend the offer here and now. If I can help, let me know. Reach out and say hello and tell me what’s going on. I’m ready to welcome your message and looking forward to helping out wherever I can.

I can tell you I don’t have all the answers for what’s happening right now but I don’t believe anyone does. I do have some solid ideas and strategies I learned in the early 90s and 2008 that are working well for my private client group,

This morning we woke up to a very cold cottage because the fire went out during the night and there’s no other heating. I needed some kindling to get things underway but it had rained overnight and the kindling was wet. I cursed myself for being unprepared.

If you’ve ever tried to light a fire with wet wood you’ll know it’s a challenge but it’s the perfect metaphor for what’s happening in real estate at the moment. So many agents are trying to light a fire with wet wood. The things they were doing in February are not working in April. Adaption is key.

There’s no doubt this global health crisis will trigger an economic downturn and probably the most severe we will see in our lives.

Last week I checked in on my 87-year-old mother in law to see how she was doing. She lived through the blitz in London during the second world war and I was interested to know if she noticed any parallels. “Not really” she said. “During the blitz we honestly didn’t know if that day would be our last. Bombs were falling out of the sky and killing our neighbors. With this pandemic, all we need to do is stay inside and keep ourselves busy.”

In my view, this event is dramatically different from the early 90s recession and the mortgage meltdown of 2008. It’s different because we can’t go out and support local businesses. We can’t head out to our favourite bar, go for a meal, buy a fresh pair of jeans or buy a car because we’re stuck at home under personal self-arrest as it’s the right thing to do. The COVID 19 Pandemic means millions of businesses closed virtually overnight and with that, the monetary flow of the economy that makes the world go round. That’s why this time it’s very different. Many of us are lucky to live in countries that will support us with resources. But that can only last so long.

However, what we do know is that it will end… and as real estate professionals, I think we’re lucky.  Here are 4 reasons why:

First off, we’re essentially self-employed. We don’t really rely on anyone for ‘a job’. Our mission is to find property owners looking to sell and show them how we can make it happen.
Second, We can work from anywhere we like which right now is our home office or kitchen table. We can work the hours we want and don’t need to burn daylight on a lengthy commute. We’re professionally autonomous and I’m tipping many agents will adopt this as their new norm from now on.
Third, we have established contacts in our database who may need real estate help right now. It’s knowing how to reach out and what to say that’s critically important. By the way, if I see another ‘I’m Here For You’ or ‘we’re in this together’ email I’ll scream. Your contact’s inbox is jammed with the same subject lines. Don’t go there!
And fourth, we have so many amazing tech tools to make it happen. We can conduct a virtual orchestra of real estate business without moving our butts from our home-office chair. This is the remote revolution so many in our industry have been hoping for. For those of us prepared and equipped, this is our time.

And here’s the thing: Real estate in your area will be sold in the next 3 months. Maybe not the same volume as the last three but property transactions will happen.

Our challenge? Right now people can’t go out. So what do folks do when they’re stuck at home? In 2020 they spend more time watching Netflix, more time on social media and more time sending and answering emails. In other words, more screen time.

So how can real estate professionals use this change to maintain our connections and stay actively involved and open for business?

There are a 5 ways:

1. Be willing to put yourself in places where opportunity can find you, and by that I mean creatively online. We can ramp up our community involvement. Which services are open, which are not? Who’s delivering and how we can go about ordering. Supply names and numbers? Who needs support in your community and what can you do?

2. There are still essential services serving your community. Who are they and how can they be contacted. Let your people know. Be a conduit of highly useful and relevant information.

3. In the last few weeks, I’ve done more chores around the house than I have in the last 3 years. I’ve painted, re-floored, replaced lights, cleaned out the garage and right now, I’m rebuilding a deck. It’s funny but my ‘honey do’ list continues to grow.
So plenty of people are using this time to keep busy and tick off tasks that need completing. Can you help your contacts with your local traders list? We just sent a new template live at Jigglar.com   All you need to do is build a list of local traders and offer to send your people a pdf. Our local hardware store won’t allow people in but you can order over the phone and pick up. Same with the supermarket. If this is available in your area, let your people know.

4. Get proactive in your marketing and offer an online Virtual Market Update.  All you need to do is send your contacts an email and offer a contact-free property value opinion via a live and customized landing page. If you’d like to see a very cool online landing page sample that does just that, let me know. Details are in the shownotes for this episode.  The agents using this landing page are winning leads because they can virtually prospect without cold calling. You can take it to the streets by setting up a Facebook campaign to promote your virtual market update offer.

5. When you’re ready to get your listing to market, ask your owner or tenant to take the shots. Our buddy Brad Filipponi over at BoxBrownie.com has just made a very cool video that will give you and your owner or tenant the very best instructions on how to make that happen. They’ve even done a pre-photo checklist and you can watch the video and download the list in the shownotes.  Just go to topagentsplaybook.com/168

I hope I’ve shared some ideas you can put to work ASAP in your business and please keep in mind, these ideas are out there working right now. All you need to do is get started, implement and reach out if you need support.

So how long will this last? It’s up to us. The Chinese model shows things are just starting to get back to normal after 12 weeks but that was with a military enforced lockdown and quarantine and god only knows what else but clear evidence shows that staying home and isolated works.

When the COVID virus first started to escalate in California, the Governor ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay home. They were the first state to do so.
New York, with a population of less than 20 million did not.
Today, April 8 2020, the California numbers are 17000 cases and 452 deaths compared to New York’s 140,000 cases and deaths over 5000.
Okay there were a few other factors like California’s aggressive testing and better access to personal protection equipment but come on…  8 times more deaths and cases in a state half the size. I guess one Governor is enjoying his last term.

There is no vaccine just yet so I think the evidence is clear. The fastest way to work our way back to normal is to stay home and stay isolated. New Zealand shut down hard and shut down early while amazingly, my mother’s nursing home south of Melbourne is still allowing visitors. Maybe they’ve stopped watching the news!

Dream big, take names, stay safe and let me know if I can help