When it was announced on Sunday that Dallas would enter the shelter in place starting Monday, March 23, at 11:59 p.m., a lot of Realtors who are otherwise calm in the face of adversity must have felt the first twinges of panic. We are here to tell you: Don’t panic! We have some tech tools to keep your business moving forward.
This is Dallas. We are different. We get things done, and we are resilient. And we are going to learn to use our tech tools.
CandysDirt.com staff have been on overdrive, working to distill information that will help you keep your business running, keep in touch with clients, work on marketing and advertising, and most importantly keep you up to date on tech tools that will help you continue to safely showcase and sell homes. We are and will continue to be your real estate resource.
Let’s get started. A lot of our Realtors have been tech-savvy for years. And, a lot have not. That’s OK. The great thing about sheltering in place is you have a rare opportunity to learn, to retool and to get ahead. Because guess what? The way we conduct business is going to change, forever. And that’s actually a very good thing.
There are loads of apps out there specifically for Realtors but let’s get you started with basics. Most of us are familiar with Google Hangout and FaceTime. Google Hangout is a good resource for those heavily into Google products because it integrates seamlessly.
FaceTime is a one-on-one video tool. If you’re my age, you probably accidentally discovered this by answering a call one day from your kid and were absolutely horrified, because, ugh video. Then you realized it’s the only way you’d see your college kids so you better get used to it. What’s great about FaceTime is there is little to no learning curve. You can easily show clients around a house with FaceTime.
Zoom is getting a ton of attention now because again, it’s easy. The minute schools sent students home all over the country, administrators jumped on this tech tool as a platform for remote work. You can hold meetings, events, host webinars, build a conference room experience, and a lot more. It’s one of our favorite tools.
We could not live without Slack at CandysDirt.com. It’s like a private Facebook but with channels. For instance, we share ideas on an #editorial channel. We have direct channels with each other. Often two or three of us who rotate duties have a channel together. We have an event channel so we know when and where to show up to our fabulous CandysDirt.com Staff Parties, which will return the moment group gatherings are allowed again. And yep, we have a proverbial water cooler channel so we can just gossip!
I reached out to some Realtors this weekend to see how they were coping. Compass has always been tech tool savvy so I was not surprised when Jonathan Rosen told me that Compass has proprietary digital technology.
“We’re prepared,” Rosen said. “We’ve always used digital marketing materials and been active on social media. We do a lot of video chat and conference calls and we do use FaceTime. This crisis is going to further enforce that digital is the future of the real estate industry. This is a great time to get a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool if you don’t have one, get up to date on tech tools, and get organized. How often does a Realtor have this much time in front of their computer? I think we are going to be inundated when this is over because people see Dallas as safe. Coastal cities have more exposure and I think people will want to be inland. We are still going to be a strong economy and in the luxury market. We are better priced compared to markets like New York and Los Angeles. Tech aside, I’m going back to the old days, and also making phone calls. People want to hear from you. It’s very reassuring to have a voice at the end of the phone rather than getting a text.”
Britt Lopez at Paragon Realtors is also a fan of Zoom. “We’re using Zoom for team and client meetings and Facetime for home tours. We’ve done this for years, however with out-of-town buyers, so it’s not a new tool for us. I’m creating a YouTube channel to host more virtual tour videos. People still have to move, so we want to make sure we can help, no matter what.”
“Digital media is more important than ever,” said Jason Saucedo with the Hewitt-Habgood Group at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate. “Social media provides a way for clients and potential clients to have a window into who we are without the direct contact that is usually needed to remain top of mind with your database. That means they can see updates, and feel connected digitally by the content we post. It allows us to reach a larger portion of our audience on a daily basis. However, when it comes to finding a home, that’s 100% personal, and technology can only get you so far. The most important factor is trust. We won’t replace that personal connection. “
To that point, Compass Realtor Christy Berry told me, “To be honest, the good old telephone is important. I think hearing a human voice at this point is better than any piece of technology.”
Christy is right. While there is no doubt we are moving into a more digitally engaged real estate world, tech is an aid. It won’t replace your Relator and the trust you place in them.
If you have a favorite tech tool we didn’t mention, please let us know in the comments section.