CEO of MoxiWorks. Start-up and turnaround exec with a unique blend of general management, sales and marketing and technology skills.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” We’ve all heard this phrase. It’s likely been uttered over a recent Zoom call while offering a virtual prost with friends and family.
We’ve seen a lot of toughness and resiliency during such a trying time, and I for one have been reminded why I’m so proud to be part of this truly tenacious industry. The real estate industry is full of people who are driven to help others around them, and that is never more apparent than during the hard times. We’re truly fortunate to be in this unique business that is completely built on the foundation of relationships and is full of people who don’t think twice about helping others in times of need.
Like many others, when the pandemic hit, our first instinct was to figure out how we could help. So, we called on some of the brightest minds in the brokerage space to come together and bring insights and inspiration to their peers virtually. We practiced what we preach and focused on being a resource for our sphere and helping our clients be one for theirs. And while the first few conversations were ones of uncertainty, they quickly moved toward productivity and optimism as we all settled into the new way of doing things. We also noticed the more we leaned on our community, the stronger we felt. The more ideas we all shared, the more quickly we got back on our feet.
While we didn’t know what the outcome of the pandemic would be (and still truly don’t), what we did know, and what we’ve seen, is that this industry is a strong one. It always has been and always will be, no matter what sort of recession or downturn we face.
Staying In Flow
Sphere-based selling is the model my company’s software is built on; I’ve always known its durability. And we have been reminded of why it’s so important to focus on sphere as budgets dried up and lead sources were scarce. Even during the peak of stay-at-home orders, activity inside our residential real estate presentation platform remained robust. When other industries were grinding to a halt, at worst, we only ever saw activity drop by half. That means that agents were able to rely on the strength of their spheres of influence to stay in flow and keep business moving each and every week.
The housing industry makes up 15%-18% of the U.S. gross domestic product each year, which means keeping business moving is a huge priority. And while inventory is still a bit of a concern right now, I am bullish on the future as we continue to climb back to near or beyond 2019 statistics.
This pandemic has changed a lot. It’s changed how people do many things day to day, but especially when it comes to business.
Thinking ahead to the next few years, I suspect we will see a few new trends surface, but one of the biggest changes I predict is the total number of real estate agents in the U.S. contracting, particularly over the next five years. The reason is that the number of transactions remains fairly constant over time, but the growing trend toward a higher level of professionalism, a higher bar for technology usage and the emergence of other transaction models like iBuyers will continue to be the norm.
Agents can prepare for this shift by doing three things:
1. Engage their sphere of influence. We’ve seen already how important it is to have a solid sphere when downturns occur. The best, most durable source of business for agents is the people who already know, like and trust them. Routinely communicating to those people with relevant content is how to make sure they pick that agent when the time comes to transact.
2. Use technology. Millennials are now the largest group of homebuyers, and they have a higher expectation of agents’ use of technology to communicate and provide information. Use this time of adjusting to new technologies to learn how to automate the process of staying in touch with your sphere of influence and prepare for the future.
3. Treat real estate as a profession, not a hobby. Agents who try to practice real estate as a side job will find it increasingly difficult to remain credible. I’ve seen an increasing percentage of the transactions go to professional, full-time agents, leaving the part-timers behind.
My crystal ball is just as cloudy as anyone else’s, but what’s been proven time and time again through every downturn we’ve faced is that this industry thrives on community and lifting each other up. There’s strength in numbers when we work together to help each other grow and succeed. Our spheres, and the country, are counting on us to do our part. Let’s continue to rebound, stronger, together.