Some advice from the trenches
First, let’s be clear. There is no magic formula to sell properties easily during this crisis. These are exceptional times that virtual viewings aren’t going to save. But this situation will surely change and those who are able to keep working during this time, I believe they will have a great advantage over the rest once the industry starts recovering.
So what can a real estate agency do during this time? Let me give you some ideas:
1. Keep investing in marketing but be picky
The interest in buying property is still there and it is possible to generate good leads. We can’t expect to get many ready-to-buy-now ones, but there are serious buyers that will convert to transaction later on. Now is a good opportunity to grow your pool of leads, while some competitors will cut their marketing spend.
Important to have crystal clear which marketing channels you should spend on. Now is no time for experiments or to put money in actions with a non-clear ROI. Lead-to-conversion tracking should be a must for everyone nowadays, make the decision based on it.
2. Ensure your lead nurturing process is top-class
The conversion window of the leads generated now is going to be longer than usual. So we better make sure we have a good process in place to try to keep those leads alive until the situation is better. Keep good track of what happens with every lead you generate and more than ever, focus on providing exceptional customer service.
3. Spread positivism
There is a mood factor that can help any industry to recover faster from a crisis. So it’s interesting if agencies share any positive piece of news. Let’s take for example the recovery of the Chinese market after the outbreak, Hong Kong with the SARS virus crisis a while back, successful online transactions during the lockdown, economic stimulus packages launched by governments and so on.
4. Use technology to keep buyers engaged and well informed
Virtual viewings and 360-degree tours are already available and they are a good tool to keep buyers engaged. You might even be able to sell through them, so be proactive in offering that option to your leads. Virtual viewings are not the panacea, but they have their use.
Besides that, would be interesting to produce your own updates to keep buyers well informed. Property developers will eventually offer good discounts to tackle the situation. Give visibility to your audience and use the information to keep your leads engaged.
5. Improve internal processes and operations
This is definitely a good time to review all the internal processes of the agency. Communication flows, policies, calling scripts, documentation handling, email templates, call recordings, qualification processes, customer service tasks and so on. Check if you can organize training for your agents, work with them to improve the workflow.
6. Monitor different market’s situation
Every country is following a different pace while the virus spreads. Some countries are now suffering the worst part, others are starting to recover and there are some with apparently a minor impact. If you usually deal with international buyers, could be interesting to shift your efforts while that happens.
There is no magic formula but hard work and making wise decisions to be ready when the sun starts shining again. Something that will surely happen, the world is not ending here. Many agencies without financial strength will struggle, that’s inevitable. But those who manage to keep working can turn out victorious.