I am sure at this point everyone is hearing about the coronavirus. I have been paying close attention to this virus for over a month now. It’s now taken on a new life because it has made it’s way to more countries, specifically Italy, and it’s killing people. What is causing the major panic right now is the fact that experts really have no idea how it made it’s way to Italy and other countries such as Iran.
How many more countries could already be affected?
What seems to be the most troubling for the experts dealing with the containment of this virus around the world is that there doesn’t seem to be a clear understanding of how the virus jumped over to Iran and Italy. The fear of the unknown is real, and especially real when dealing with a deadly virus. It should be noted that the flu here in the US is still far more dangerous to Americans than the Corona Virus, but none-the-less this virus shouldn’t be taken lightly. What is more of a concern right now in the US than the negative health aspect of the virus is the economic impact.
How does this impact the global economy?
The coronavirus’s impact has already been felt in the global economy. In the past 6 days the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped over 3,200 points which equates to a 11% decline. This is historically significant and it shows how seriously investors around the world are taking the coronavirus. For weeks now the global economic impact of this virus has been felt mainly because of two factors: supply chains, and the Chinese economy.
China is the world’s largest manufacturing powerhouse. Quite simply, people have been under quarantine so they can’t go to work to make the products that need to be made. This puts companies all around the globe in a tight spot when it comes to inventories. Furthermore, the Chinese economy, which many global companies rely upon to sell their goods and services, is at a standstill. Until the past few days, most of the impact has been relegated to China and the companies which do business there, but now that the virus has moved on in a big way to other countries the panic is at a whole new level. So much of a new level that the 2020 Summer Olympics hang in the balance. There is news breaking that they might have to cancel the games for the first time since World War II.
How does the coronavirus impact the US Housing Market?
On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, I took some time to elaborate on how this virus can ultimately impact the US housing market as part of our most recent Housing Market Update. Click here to view the Housing Market Update recorded video. The discussion about the coronavirus’s impact on the housing market begins at minute #12. That said, that particular discussion was from the perspective of the virus largely being contained in China. Now that it has moved on and the financial markets are in a steep decline this whole discussion has taken on a new level.
There is no doubt that the US housing market is chugging along. In that video, you will see all sorts of strong statistics proving this point. However, it is my opinion that a potential global economic crisis, started and accelerated by the coronavirus, could cause the US housing market to slip into its own downturn. If the virus takes hold in the US, we too will need to quarantine. This means events will be canceled, schools closed, offices closed, etc. Some businesses already have so many external factors stressing their financials that a 60-90 day economic standstill could be the nail in the coffin. If businesses close, jobs are lost, so on and so forth. Couple all of this with the aggressive global monetary policy of the last 12-15 years and we might just have a recipe for the next US recession.
We will prevail
God willing, the men and women at the center of preventing a coronavirus pandemic in the US will produce an effective vaccine in short order and speed up the manufacturing of coronavirus test kits which are necessary to stem the spread. I have faith in those men and women, and I also have faith in our great country to respond in times of need. That said, it’s in all of our best interests to be engaged and to pay attention to what is happening because the coronavirus is not going away anytime soon.
In a space where every person is out to sell something, how can you stick out? How can you grow a list of connections that you can depend on? Let’s discuss the things that are > (greater than) when it comes to networking.
Networking is one of the most important tools for any Agent or Broker. It’s essential to have strong networking skills in order to grow your business and maintain it. However, many people approach networking in a way that lacks a human, genuine touch that is fundamental in growing a useful network. There are ways to approach this skill that will give you more powerful connections that forge bonds for a solid, interwoven web.
1) Paid > Free
A paid conference such as Inman Connect or Buffini and Company is a great way to meet other like-minded Agents and/or Brokers. It’s a space to connect with other professionals in a face-to-face way. Attend paid events because those attending care about their professional experience enough to pay to be there, too. According to Devin Someck, co-founder and Principal of Living New York, a Real Estate firm based out of New York City, “pay to play is always better.” He says that at those types of conferences, “people are not there for the free lunch, but” because they are there to “really learn, network, and meet people. They are taking it more seriously.” Free conferences, although tentatively informative, are not the best place to build a network that can truly serve you.
2) Elicit > Solicit
One of the best practices with regard to networking is to truly get to know the people. You need to elicit information before you solicit anything from anyone. Ask questions and see where people’s needs are not being met. Gather information about what their business is, what their interests are, what hobbies they pursue, etc. Agent Laura Marie of Tampa Bay’s “Your Home Sold Team” weighs in: “You need to ditch the pitch. Stop trying to get before you give and stop talking about the weather.” Laura knows that genuine conversation can build a relationship. You have to “listen to information and know where you are value added” says Devin Someck. In a lot of cases, “the best sales strategy is to listen more than talking.” Through being an engaged listener, you can gather information that may be valuable to you later on. Additionally, show how you can be of service given the information you gathered. Showing how you can help without having anything to overtly gain will strengthen the relationship.
3) Quality > Quantity
Collecting cards and adding connections on social media is a way of making “networking” with a lot of different people. However, having a true conversation and making a connection will serve you better long-term. When Devin Someck’s agents come back from networking events with tons of collected business cards, he asks them to consider which, if any are “actually business perspectives.” If you have a thousand contacts, but do not maintain a strong relationship with any of them, you have no true network or contacts. If you have fifty contacts that you work on bi-monthly, then you have the start of something. This is just to say, quality is greater than quantity. “Focus on the quality of the connection. Enjoy having coffee with people, have email correspondence, get to know people to pair with others” says Laura Marie. You should try to cultivate “real connections and know who people are and what their values are.” So, your network can be wide, but you must invest time into it. Otherwise, it is essentially worthless to the growth of your business.
Social Media and Real Estate Networks
When it comes to networking virtually, use these same guidelines stated above. When you make connections via social media or on networks like REALLY, add quality content and have sincere engagement. Be strategic about your selections and connections as to make it worthwhile to all parties. Post content from areas of expertise. Engage meaningfully with responses that you gather from putting yourself out there. Be sure to spread the love. Do not just expect engagement from others. Add comments and ask questions to elicit and engage others within the virtual communities.
As technology and our dependence on it only increases over time, finding ways to meld networking virtually and in person will be critical to your own business growth. No matter which way you begin with networking, know that this investment of time, if done well, will yield connections that will be long-lasting and beneficial.
Has this scenario ever happened to you?
50 darn homes.
I took a client to see 50 homes and they decided they did not want to live in the territory that I serve… 😡 Yes, this scenario takes Buyer Agent frustration to a whole new level.
Why does this happen?
Living an hour north of New York City, many folks look to the Hudson Valley, my current marketplace, as a possible place for relocation out of NYC. It has great schools, land, and proximity so that clients can commute into the city for work. However, many buyers are still learning about the area that they want to end up in. Often, a realtor can receive some unintended collateral damage given a client’s learning curve of their ultimate desired location.
Mitigate Risk By Planting Referral Seeds
This situation can be a very typical Buyer Agent frustration – the client is unsure of what areas to relocate to and while I am happy to take them around, it can often end fruitless. Months of time spent, miles put on my car, gas costs incurred, days seemingly just lost, gone. And, what am I to do? As a buyer-agent, taking on any client brings about some risk, we all know that. But, the question I’m most interested in is – How can we mitigate risk in a situation where a buyer decides that your service territory is not where they want to be?
Short Answer: Planting seeds. I’m not talking gardening, but I am talking referral.
Many realtors are not thinking “referral” from the onset of a relationship with a client, but they should be. And, they should be planting seeds with their clients when they start the home search process to not only mitigate risk, but to possibly capitalize on the positive relationship they are building with that client.
What does that look like in practice?
When you first meet with a client and you know they are relocating, you should always assure them that you are going to show them everything in your marketplace. Next, you should be clear and specific and let them know that if they should change their mind about the area and want to try a different marketplace that you can refer them to another quality agent. Let them know this before you even start your search.
What are the benefits to the client if you refer?
Be sure to tell your client that you hope to help them find their dream property, but that should things change, there are many benefits to them if you are able to refer them forward.
- Put you with a quality agent who knows the marketplace well.
- Warm up the agent for you with all of your likes, dislikes, preferences, and other details so that you can hit the ground running with your home search.
- Make sure you avoid any sales pitches and save valuable time during your home search.
- Always give you my advice – I stick with you and am always available to answer questions.
Why have this conversation?
Through planting these seeds early on, you are helping your future self and your client. No client wants to feel awkward when they realize your marketplace is not for them and they do not know how to tell you. Letting your clients know that this may be a possibility will help you both in the process. Do not be afraid to plant seeds and to refer. As you continue to search with clients, properties can still land in your territory, but they can become too far out or even a region of which you are unfamiliar. Too many realtors drive too far and waste too much of their time when they and their client would be better and happier if their realtor (you) referred them to a local, regional agent.
So, be sure to remember to keep the end in mind when you begin with a new client. Plant those seeds early on to streamline communication. Should your client need to be referred forward, use REALLY to select and vet a possible agent should you not already know someone in that territory. Additionally, use REALLY as an easy way to refer to a professional you already know, too.
REALLY simplifies the referral process. Using this tool reduces the risk you take on with your business, giving you time, money, and assurance located within one technology. Every time you spend time, you are taking on risk – so why not reduce your risk and your level of Buyer Agent frustration and pass along your client to someone who knows the local territory? Secure that referral and use the REALLY referral app to make it happen.
This post was co-written by Geoffrey Green & Lindsey Quistgaard. We hope you enjoyed it!