Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Talon Thompson, Real Estate Agent Associated with Pemberton Holmes (Victoria)
I am a REALTOR® in beautiful Victoria, BC. My business involves helping clients buy and/or sell properties. In order to do this professionally and ethically, all REALTORS® must stay educated on the process both from a legal and industry perspective.
I absolutely love this business. The satisfaction of knowing my clients are thrilled with the process of what is usually the biggest purchase and/or sale of their lives is second to none. I love helping new families move up into larger homes that they can raise children and create memories in.
On the other spectrum, I also enjoy ensuring that those struggling to get into something more manageable find the right property, as well as being there for families that are selling off a family estate due to death. I can't think of a better way to make a mark on the lives of others.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, how did you work with your regular clients and reach out to new ones. What type of marketing worked best for you?
In an ideal world, the best way to reach out to new clients is via social gatherings. Realtors love to attend events, parties and local get-togethers for just this reason. Word of mouth amongst friends and family, as well as referrals from past clients, are both powerful tools that can go a long way towards securing new business. Running Open Houses can also prove a great way to meet potential new clients. Basically, the best way to market what I do is to get in front of people face to face, get involved in local activities such as fund raising, have a great social media presence and show who I am as a person as well as the work I have done in the past.
How has the social isolations required to combat the spread of COVID-19 affected your business? What about this has been hardest for you personally?
As one can imagine, every client is different. Therefore, the best way to approach their real estate requirements in light of this pandemic will vary greatly.
Real Estate has been deemed an essential service, however that does not mean it is business as usual. We must be ever careful to ensure we proceed in a way that keeps public health in the forefront of our day to day business. All agents need to heed the advice of the Public Health Officer and take every step to ensure our safety and that of our clients.
Personally, I have found losing some structure to my day is the hardest. Like a lot of people, I have to take a moment to realize what day it is. I'm doing way too much baking - WAY WAY too much.
Have you found new ways to interact with your customer? Have you developed any new products or services as a way to help your clients through this time, or to fill a new need you see?
The Real Estate industry in Canada has moved forward very quickly with new and safe ways to conduct business. A live stream open house (LSOH) is an amazing tool. It is a live stream event a REALTOR® holds at a listing in place of the traditional in-person open house. For example, I would use my phone, tablet, laptop or other device to create a live stream broadcast through platforms like Zoom, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram Live. While broadcasting, I move through the property, displaying its features and interacting with the audience. I can do the same thing on an individual showing.
For more information on how as a REALTOR® I am adopting new
procedures, please see my recent blog on the subject HERE!
What type of marketing seems to be working best for you in this time of social isolation?
The best thing right now is keeping in touch with clients by email, text and phone calls. It's also important to send out recent updates on how this business is changing and adapting, and remind clients this is a great time to prepare their home for eventual sale.
I am personally conducting FaceBook Live walk-throughs in which a seller client walks me through their home and I advise them on things they can do to prepare their property for eventual listing. It is also a great time to discuss getting pre-approved for a mortgage. If they are considering purchasing a home this coming Spring/Summer, the interest rates will be held for 90+ days. If interest rates fall even more, you are guaranteed that lower rate.
Anything you'd like readers to know about you and your business? Any last words of encouragement you'd like to share with everyone?
Just like everyone else, we don't have a crystal ball as to when things will get back to ’normal’ in real estate. Word of mouth in my industry is that mid-June is a target to see things start to pick up again. However, as we all know that depends on how the next few weeks pan out.
Now is the time to spring clean, learn that language you always wanted to, start a new hobby, get out in the garden, and by all means make some noise at 7pm every night to show our front line workers that we care.