Savvy real estate agents know how to use tech to deepen relationships with their clients. But it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it action. It takes planning and forethought to build relationships that last for a lifetime. Take advantage of technology to help forge the way, especially in these COVID-19 times.
“Back in the day, all we could do as agents was send out newsletters through the mail or call our clients. Today, with the use of technology, we have many more effective and efficient ways to communicate and stay in touch,” says Mike Cartwright, broker of record at Main Street Realty in Newmarket, Ont. “Some great ideas for agents are video chat through FaceTime, Facebook, Zoom or Google Hangout if you use an Android phone. We keep in touch with people through a company called BombBomb and send out video messages to our clients and they can video message us back. We have smartphones, social networks like Instagram and TikTok, as well as texting. We can stay truly connected with everyone by using these easy, cost effective ways to communicate.”
Brandt Morris, a sales rep with Bosley Real Estate in Toronto, finds that COVID-19 has forced agents to alter their approach when it comes to maintaining strong relationships with clients and friends. “While Zoom has come in handy and has become somewhat of a necessary evil, the use of video has really exploded as a tool in real estate. It has allowed Realtors to stay in touch with clients, but more importantly, it has allowed the audience a much deeper look ‘behind the curtain’ into the life and personality of their Realtor. Video allows you to share moments, events and milestones, which ultimately keeps us better connected.”
Morris continues, “Two other tools that can be used to connect quickly with homebuyers are IG Live and, for Apple users, Clubhouse. Quick pop-up discussions about housing numbers in the news, the rental market, affordable housing or other hot-button topics can build a connection to potential clients who will call you when they are ready to buy as they get to know your opinions and you as a person, not just a Realtor.”
Using technology allows Jess Nakrayko, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Signature in Saskatoon, to connect with her clients on a much deeper level.
“It is so much more than a text or a call with all of the tools at our fingertips,” Nakrayko says. “I love sending my clients videos or voice notes rather than newsletters/emails as it gives a more personalized, genuine touch. As our world has changed the way we are able to connect in person, FaceTime and Zoom have been a huge component to my business. I also like utilizing my social media to connect with my current clients and also prospective clients. By using the latest trends, whether it be IGTVs, IG Reels, IG Stories or TikTok, I can connect with a broader audience. Through trial and error, I’ve identified that sharing value and educating people on buying or selling has allowed me to build credibility and in turn, find new clients to help. I think that now, more than ever, real estate professionals have the tools to deepen connections, build relationships and find new clients looking to buy or sell. The technology is there so why not use it?”
Face-to-face contact is usually the best way to strengthen relationships but when that isn’t a possibility, technology steps in. The options for what to do are only as limited as your imagination. Try things like hosting a virtual happy hour. Or text people to see if they have any questions. Send them a quick video when you see something that makes you think of them. Email them an article tailored to their interests. You get the picture.
Dayle Carmody, a sales rep with Trace Property Group in Toronto, incorporates technology with her clients. “I use automation called Zapier, which takes so much time and repetitive tasks out of my customer relations manager, calendars, text, email and calls. It links in everything to one. It triggers new actions or tasks across different platforms to make everything work seamlessly.” Carmody also sends voice notes to clients to make follow-ups seem more personal and less generic.
Carmody also uses tech to connect during buyer consultations. “During COVID-19, when sales centres closed down or to accommodate health-conscious buyers, technology helped with sales for distances far away or too remote. It’s made it possible to buy a home over Zoom. Virtual tours, screen sharing, voice and video can make a virtual presentation surprisingly personal.”
Navid Rashid is also a sales representative with Trace Property Group. “Rather than sending boring weekly/monthly updates on the market and current projects, we host webinars,” he says. “Emails are easily lost and may seem repetitive at times and as agents, we are always looking for more engagement. As a brokerage that works alongside many developers, we host live webinars that provide real-time value to existing clients and prospects. We have seen a very large return on engagement and our clients love it.”
Rashid continues, “Our team has acknowledged the importance of digital relationships. In the past, clients simply walked into a brokerage, met with their agent and immediately was assisted. Unfortunately, due to recent restrictions, in-person meetings have been much more difficult. We are working on a brand new service, completely free for the public to use. From morning to night, Trace Property Group will have a Realtor on-call at all times. Clients can simply schedule a Zoom meeting at any time and receive the information they require immediately.”
Technology is an invaluable tool to help agents stay connected to their tribe, which is vital. At its heart, real estate is about making human connections and building those relationships.
Toby Welch is a contributing writer for REM.