The effects of COVID-19 have been felt far and wide, but as a handful of states begin to reopen their economies, navigating the uncertainties that lie ahead will continue to be a challenging proposition for real estate professionals and the consumers they serve.
Impacting lives worldwide, and with critical housing implications to boot, real estate professionals in markets large and small are doing what they do best: forging ahead by pivoting to meet the challenges of today's uncertain market and keeping their clients informed every step of the way.
During RISMedia's latest webinar, "Adapting to the New Normal, and Emerging on the Other Side"—panelists Dava Davin, founder and CEO of Portside Real Estate Group; Michael Koval, COO of ONE Sotheby's International Realty; and Mike Pappas, president/CEO of The Keyes Company/Illustrated Properties, shed some light on how they're stepping up to the plate in order to come out on top.
Sponsored by RISMedia's ACESocial, and moderated by Darryl Davis—owner of Darryl Davis Seminars—the webinar took a deep dive into the brokerage leader's role as we navigate the uncharted waters ahead.
"As brokerage leaders, I believe your leadership and communication skills over the next 90 days will help your organization provide the assistance consumers are seeking to move forward with their own personal real estate goals and objectives," said John Featherston, founder, CEO and publisher of RISMedia, as he kicked off the webinar.
While sensitivity and safety are of utmost concern, according to Featherston, communication is a key facet that can't be overlooked.
"We're trying to fill every nook and cranny of the day with content, so we've focused on overcommunicating by leveraging the technology we have to inundate our agents with interesting content related to how to use technology, how to better yourself in real estate, how to host a virtual open house and how to stay healthy," said Koval.
With 60 different virtual events on the calendar within the last week alone, Koval is committed to keeping everyone informed and motivated.
"We didn't miss a beat as we transitioned from a traditional brokerage to completely locking down our offices and working remotely," explained Koval, whose firm has been building out its tech platform for years. "It was an incredibly rapid and painless transition."
Thanks to a foundation that had already been laid, Pappas was able to go hard on communication, as well. Between sharing videos every few days, conducting manager meetings and training programs twice a day, the team at The Keyes Company/Illustrated Properties has been working a lot harder for less.
"While the past two decades have been all about real estate digitization, we had a revolution recently as everyone was focused on how to do business virtually and socially," explained Pappas. "We had the platforms and programs in place, so we've been able to leverage and rely on them."
Communication aside, buckling down and cutting costs is another strategy resilient real estate leaders have turned to.
For Davin, who started her company in 2012, since the coronavirus hit, her mindset has done a complete 360.
"I've been inspired through all of this," said Davin. "It has been a time to lead and bring out the best in me as a leader and everyone relying on me."
While the firm has experienced explosive growth over the last few years, growing from a company of five to 95 with a billion dollars in sales, Davin has been able to cut expenses by 33 percent in the midst of the current crisis. "We're trying to be creative and tighten what we can," explained Davin.
As the future unfolds, there's no doubt that we're all looking forward to better times ahead, but brokerage leaders are holding steadfast to the lessons they've learned throughout the pandemic and incorporating newfound best practices into their day-to-day business activities path forward.
"One thing I've learned throughout all of this is that Zoom meetings are awesome!" said Davin. "I'm choosing to focus on the positive, and part of that is how our communication has changed and how much more efficient we are now. We're getting things done quicker, and we'll continue in 2021."
"This whole experience that we were forced into has pushed people who would have never gone to a sales meeting or coaching session into using technology and services with names no one had ever heard of," said Koval.
This has led to a substantial increase in engagement throughout the company.
"We've seen upwards of 50-60-70 percent participation, with a recent sales meeting garnering 90 percent participation," added Koval, who believes that this is beginning to tell us what the future will look like. "The technology transformation is happening so fast right in front of our eyes that if you blink, you will be at a significant disadvantage in 2021 and beyond."
Even though things are likely to get worse before they get better, Pappas reminded webinar attendees to remain flexible and keep their ear to the ground.
"I think this is a fluid market, and while adjustments are going to be made, I'm hopeful that business will pick up by 2021 as people begin to make decisions."
In the meantime, attendees were encouraged to stay active on social media.
"This is the time to ramp up your social media campaign," said Davis, who pointed to RISMedia's ACESocial platform as a leading contender for today's real estate professionals.
"ACESocial can put you on social media automatically, and if you aren't on social media, I don't think you are going to be as relevant tomorrow as you are today," added Pappas.
No matter what the future holds, the panelists agreed on one thing: there's no better time than right now for people to get into real estate.
"It's always a good time to evaluate real estate as a career," said Koval. "This has been the best time for our agents to take a breath, pause, then refocus and re-energize themselves. We're going to see agents come out of this turn with the gas pedal slammed down."
As the future continues to unfold, there's no shortage of anticipation among real estate professionals as to what the next six to nine weeks will bring.
One thing that's for certain?
"Today is the new normal," concluded Pappas. "Get used to it, figure out how to do business, then go do it."
To learn more about what brokerage leaders are doing to successfully emerge on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic, watch the webinar below:
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