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As businesses contend with the coronavirus crisis, agents and brokers feel largely optimistic, but are depending heavily on technology, new research shows.

According to an ActivePipe customer survey, which polled 560 respondents, including agents, brokers and marketing staff, 45 percent believe the housing market “may take a small hit” in the pandemic, “but it will bounce back” ultimately. However, 33 percent feel “uncertain” and 21 percent believe the market “will be very negatively affected.”

Similarly, when asked if their businesses can grow at this time, 58 percent believe it “depends on how it all plays out” and 26 percent believe it is “very likely,” because they are “growing relationships that will turn into business.” Fifteen percent believe it is “unlikely” because they are “struggling to stay afloat.”

Amid the pandemic, agents and brokers have leveraged technology, with email marketing the most utilized, at 92 percent, according to the survey; 86 percent leveraging property websites; 74 percent advertising online; 65 percent continuing to generate listing prospects; and 60 percent direct-mail marketing. Notably, 50 percent of respondents said they were “looking for innovative solutions.”

“For REALTORS®, it’s really important that they are efficient with their spend, and they understand how to connect with people during this time,” explains Mike Feller, ActivePipe chief revenue officer. “We’re biased, but email is also naturally a fit for the challenges right now.”

Additionally, when asked “How has COVID-19 affected your personal outreach?”, the results were:

  • “I’m making my interactions more personal because I have more time.” (43 percent)
  • “I’m using more online and virtual channels to interact with people.” (38 percent)
  • “I’m making less calls and emails because people aren’t interested right now.” (17 percent)

“Right now, it’s really important to lead with empathy, and be human and authentic and real,” Feller says. “Now is not the time for generic, cold outreaches—those are going to come across as very tone-deaf, because we’re all faced with things much bigger than business right now, and people are experiencing real hardship.”

The biggest survey takeaway? Because of the coronavirus, agents and brokers have reassessed their tools, and adapted wisely—an important strategy, according to Feller, to not only contend with the immediate situation, but also to compete in the future, when the crisis is over.

“Any extraordinary circumstance sheds a very bright light on your existing systems and processes, and illuminates what is working and what is not working,” Feller says. “Out of necessity now, agents and brokers are forced to take a good, hard look at the systems they have in place. The folks that do embrace this—put together the right tools and a solid, cohesive digital strategy—they’re not only going to help themselves weather this storm; they’re going to position their businesses to be even stronger in the future.”

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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