May 15th, 2020
Embracing a New Normal at Helen Adams Realty
Throughout the past few months, our world has shifted as we spend more time at home and less time out in public. Real estate has seen these shifts in mindset and workflow as well, with a temporary inability to show occupied properties, meet clients face to face, and physically be out in the field. At Helen Adams Realty, we have always put an emphasis on our company culture, collaboration, and digital communication tools which have allowed us to adapt quickly and effectively during this time as we navigate the path forward together.
How Do We Stay Connected While Socially Distanced?
“When the stay at home order was issued, Helen Adams Realty needed to formulate a plan quickly,” explains Geri Mullinix, Broker in Charge at the Fort Mill office. “Real estate agents often work from a home office, but how can we as managers continue to coach and communicate with them effectively? We very quickly got more comfortable with technology software like Google Hangouts, Zoom, Bomb Bomb & Asana.”
The use of technology has always been integrated into the culture at Helen Adams Realty but now it’s more ingrained than ever before. Through DotLoop, our agents are able to work paperless and share documents with clients from anywhere and our administrative staff continues to process contracts with no time lost. Our CRM platform offers a digital communication tool between agents and their clients so that they can stay in the flow with the people in their lives while we all spend more time at home.
The Effect on the Buying and Selling Process
While many buyers and sellers have taken some time to pause on physical showings, we do understand that finding necessary housing is essential for certain situations. Because of this, our agents have learned to be extremely careful and respectful of their surroundings when working with clients out in the field. We have incorporated health and safety signs at our listings, encouraged the use of face masks, gloves, and extra cleaning supplies, and are regularly informing our firm’s audience on social media channels about the precautions real estate agents are now taking. When sellers prepare their properties for showings, they’re encouraged to turn on all light switches and open all doors ahead of time to eliminate extra touches. On the buyer side, agents and clients use social distancing practices while touring homes and only allow a small number of people in the home at a time to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Increased Digital Marketing and Online Advertising
Our marketing campaigns have evolved to be heavily digital as we have doubled down on online advertising for listing marketing and turned to social media to stay connected. Agents at Helen Adams Realty have access to an exclusive library of 1500+ social media images from which they post to their pages and create touch points with their clients, friends, and family. They are also using digital media more than ever through targeted Facebook ads, digital email campaigns, and the firm-level social media partnerships with local influencers around Charlotte. With more buyers now looking online to browse for homes, we’ve felt the need to cater to this growing audience. Thankfully, our marketing department was ahead of the game and we had the right tools in place before the pandemic to organically grow our online presence throughout the stay at home orders.
“The marketing team has been amazing throughout this ordeal and has carried so many of us,” said Susan Hutchins, out of our Randolph Road office. “The department’s expertise in social media, knowledge overall, patience, friendship, and support go above and beyond!”
Growing our Communication at Home
As our staff has become more reliant on Google Meets, Zoom, and other video conferencing, we have actually seen an uptick in (virtual) face-to-face meeting time between agents, management, and staff. Through weekly office meetings, one-on-one conference calls with agents, live virtual training classes, and an ongoing connection with staff and management, we’ve been able to continue our company’s focus on high touch communication with a few upgrades. Throughout this time we also built a robust library of video how-to’s, tutorials, and webinars on best practices to share with our agents as an ongoing resource.
“Though the work from home period has us physically distanced, many of us feel closer bonds than before.” says Rebecca Adams Starrs, CMO and Relocation Director. “Daily calls for the management team, the relocation team, and the marketing team have meant more opportunities for connection and collaboration as we came together over shared successes, challenges, and projects. In “normal” times we meet in person at varying frequency so seeing everyone every day has truly been a silver lining for all of our teams.”
While we navigate these uncertain times, it is vital for us to continue the high-touch communication and friendly culture that we’ve had at our firm for over 40 years. Through face to face virtual meetings, increased health and safety precautions, and digital marketing and communication, our agents have been able to adapt to the necessary changes in life.
“Of course, everyone is looking forward to in-person meetings, public social gatherings and unlimited office access,” concludes Mullinix. “But for now, I’m so proud that agents have rallied and done a great job servicing their clients past and present using online tools.”