“How do we approach this time with empathy and a little bit of grace?”
We spoke with luxury real estate business coach Debbie De Grote about how to keep growing personally and professionally while everyone is sheltered in place.
If you’re wondering what these times mean for your luxury real estate career, you’re not alone.
Most agents are wondering how to network now that events are cancelled and what kinds of conversations they should be having with their existing network.
Assume the Role of the “Wise Adviser” in Your Luxury Real Estate Market
Debbie, like the Institute, believes the best way to continue growing in your luxury real estate career right now is a heightening focus on deepening relationships with clients and prospects, tying up loose ends, and becoming a true resource for your local luxury real estate market.
“The old scripts you’ve used in the past maybe aren’t appropriate for the moment…but just being there, and just showing up in the best capacity we can, which right now means the role of the ‘wise adviser’,” she says.
She suggests calling clients to ask what you can do for them right now—not transactionally, but to lend a helping hand.
“I might call them and say, ‘How are you? I’m here under ‘house arrest’ and working on my marketing…I saw your name come up and I just thought I would like to check and see if you’re okay. I have a lot of great connections to vendors in the community—is there anything you might need?”
From there, she suggests just listening. If they sound stressed, help where you can. If they seem receptive, it may be okay to let them know you’re open to answering any questions they have about real estate, too.
Debbie offers a gentle transition, suggesting something like, “Lots of friends and family are calling and asking what this is doing to the real estate market—is there anything you’d like to ask me?”
The goal is not to get a listing or a buyer to work with, but to let them know you’re available for any questions they have.
Educate Your Market
As a coach, Debbie has the opportunity to work with many different luxury real estate agents. She works with agents who are just starting their luxury real estate career and those who are well into their veteran years, and she says the most successful agents in both groups are the ones who are taking the time to educate their markets right now.
Her network of high producers are wasting no time in sending their email lists information about the community and financial resources like grants and market data. She also has agents who are hosting weekly livestreams with their networks just to answer any questions they may have about their options.
People Are More Receptive Than You Think
Right before she spoke with us, Debbie had just gotten off a call with one of the agents she coaches who said that people have been more willing to talk than ever.
And with so many people at home with not much to do, it’s likely that they will be more receptive to getting a phone call and having a conversation with you, too. In fact, this may be the best opportunity you will ever receive in your entire luxury real estate career to really connect with current and past clients.
While there will be those who are less open, you won’t know until you reach out. That’s why right now, Debbie says the best thing to do is to let them lead the conversation once you open up communication.
Beyond conversation, there are also plenty of buyers and sellers who are still ready to take action. One of Debbie’s agents recently closed on a $700,000 home sold completely online.
Right now, if agents can’t go into the client’s home but the client wants the home listed, some sellers are making their own video of the home to give to the agent to post on the MLS listing, which is posted with instructions to submit a pre-approval letter and an offer contingent upon interior inspection.
Tie Up Loose Ends
As for professional growth, Debbie also recommends getting to those projects you’ve kept on the backburner for months. If you haven’t had time to organize your CRM (or get one!), have needed to hire a virtual assistant, or need to revamp your website, now is the time to focus on these things.
And while she acknowledges that these changes may be hard to work around with kids or partners home, she says agents who continue to stay productive and proactive during this time will have a much easier transition back into the swing of things when the world gets back to a faster pace.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, Debbie points out the importance of taking care of yourself during this time. She recommends continuing to get ready in the morning, exercising and doing anything you can to maintain normalcy in your routine. These things will help keep you energized and positive.
She also recommends limiting your intake of news beyond what you really need to know to stay safe. As always, it’s best to hone in on your local real estate market and really listen to what’s going on around you before making assumptions about what’s possible for you in your business. This can be your chance to take stock of your luxury real estate practice and finally gain the momentum you’ve been looking for.
Looking for More Ways to Continue Growth in Your Luxury Real Estate Career During These Times?
We’re staying committed to your professional growth in a number of ways during this time. Here are a few of our best resources to help you continue to grow your skills and your practice from home:
– Luxury Livestream: Luxury Livestream will replace our Luxury Live Events, and still qualify agents for their Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist designation and its exclusive benefits.
– Ditch the Pitch: This one-of-a-kind training is for Institute members only and helps agents master the art of relationship building with affluent clientele. All current CLHMS designees can access this course in their membership portal.
– Estate of Mind Podcast: The Institute has taken some of its best members-only trainings, instructors and other guests to bring you into the most important conversations happening in luxury real estate right now. You can access these for FREE on any podcast platform or The Institute’s YouTube channel.
Diane Hartley is the president of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, a premier independent authority in training and designation for real estate agents working in the upper-tier residential market. Hartley brings her passion for luxury marketing and more than 20 years of experience growing and leading businesses to her role as president of the Institute.