Covid-19 and the continuing lockdown has undoubtedly been a unique and extraordinary challenge to the housing market. Thanks to our restricted day to day movements, the market’s usual buying and selling activities have all but frozen. Whilst we understand this will pass, and activities will resume in due course, rather than sitting and waiting for that day, there are plenty of things you can be doing to ensure your business thrives when we’re out of lockdown.
Take advantage of this downtime to position and promote yourself as a trusted business who is there for your customers and prospects even if temporarily that is online rather than face to face. Staying positive and confident and not getting caught up in the hype of the media will serve you and your customers well. Be proactive and continue communicating with your audience.
Local News/Media: Get in touch with your local/regional press (newspapers, radio, TV) and let them know that you’re available to comment on the housing situation in your area. Keep them up to date with any news that you think locals would be curious to know about and would likely share with others. Also share any news related to your own business especially if you have a good news story – maybe you’ve donated your time to help a local hospital or you’ve raised money via a challenge for the NHS Heroes.
Social Media: Take a look at your company’s presence on social media. Are you really doing your business justice? For example, does your About Us profile need updating? Can you add some great case studies and testimonials of recent customers? Can you share some great tips and advice in the form of short videos – either go live on Facebook or pre-record them but keep them short and snappy (1 to 3 minutes long) to grab people’s interest. They don’t need to be professional videos – simply film them on your smartphone.
Emails: Keep in touch with your customers and prospects via your email list. Send them updates on any new incoming property on the houses/rentals relevant to them. The lockdown has caused many people to rethink the sort of property they want to be living in, so now would be a good time to ask your customers/prospects if they would like to update their own wish list – you may well be sitting on the property of their new dreams.
Pick up the Phone: Nothing wrong with the old technology and a quick phone call to check in with your customers to just ask how they are doing. You don’t need to have anything to sell them – just let them know you’re there if and when they need your help.
Share advice with your peers: This period is more about collaboration than competition. Join peer and expert groups to share your advice and opinions and position yourself as an expert or thought leader. One such group is Agents Here to Help – a free Facebook group with expert estate & letting agents from across the UK who are available to answer questions from members of the general public. It could be a great way to meet new prospects in your area.
Enter Awards: This is an excellent opportunity to take stock and look at what your business has achieved over the past year or two. There are plenty of awards that you are probably eligible to enter but perhaps you haven’t done so before because you never had the time to do so. Why not use the time now. Winning awards or being shortlisted as a finalist is a nice pat on the back for you but also your team. Many business owners forget to celebrate their wins and recognise their staff for the important part they’ve played.
Go Digital/Virtual: There’s a wide range of tech you can use now to help organise real-time video appointments with clients, virtual tours, pre-recorded viewings, etc. If you haven’t explored these yet, now would be a good time. Some are high-tech and costly but others are much more familiar such as Zoom and FaceTime.
Increasingly serious buyers like to do their research behind the scenes so virtual viewings are really helpful to them. What has been a helpful alternative for overseas buyers or students looking for rental accommodation, may well now grow to become the norm for many of your customers.
Whilst we can’t control the timing of when lockdown ceases, we can control activities from a marketing and business perspective. Use this time to your advantage, put in the effort so now you can grow and come out of the Coronavirus period stronger.
Which one of the above opportunities are you going to implement first?
By Alison Shadrack Brown is the founder and CEO of Adia PR