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The pandemic has changed the way real estate professionals do business. With the new normal governing how people live their daily lives, real estate professionals have learned to adapt and maintain healthy relations with their clients as well as engage with new buyers despite physical distancing.
In episode six of Broker Central: You Ask, Experts Answer, Richard Carvajal, Chief Executive Officer of PHILGEMS Realty Corporation, shares his insight on how real estate professionals can manage customer relations in the time of COVID-19.
How can I craft a sincere and thoughtful pitch to my clients in the new normal?
“The most important thing is do not promote properties to clients directly, but rather give them information on the latest promotions, regardless if the situation is good or bad,” Carvajal said.
Whether it is a crisis or not, Carvajal said that what’s important is that you are giving the right information to your clients, as well as asking them if they need help in anything, or if they know anyone who needs help in selling their properties.
“Sometimes, you just have to give your well-wishes to your clients.” Carvajal stated that asking your clients if they need any help makes them feel that you are at their services and are there for them.
How often should a broker be talking to their clients during the new normal?
In relation to being there for your clients during times like these, Carvajal also mentioned that it is important to give your client continuous updates about their units when necessary. This is crucial especially for clients who have had their units vacant prior to the enhanced community quarantine and are worried they might not get a tenant during their transition to the new normal.
“You could also give recommendations [such as] if they want to change the prices or give promotions to their [future] tenants,” he said.
How can I promote my listings to my clients during the new normal?
When it comes to promoting listings to clients, Carvajal said,“[It can be too much] if your objective is to earn a commission, and no [it’s not too much] if your mission is to help your client get a good buy.” He emphasized that brokers and agents should also consider the current situation of the client. “[Let’s say] your client is a businessman who lost liquidity for more than two months from business hiatus, that client will definitely prioritize using cash.”
Carvajal added that while it’s important to promote your listings to your clients to help them find a good property, it will still depend on the client’s current situation.
What are your tips on how to sell in this time of crisis?
Carvajal highlighted the importance of avoiding hard-selling to your clients and instead, giving them the right information. “Because real estate is a heterogeneous type of asset, there really isn’t a bad time to buy real estate, but it will depend on the strategy when it comes to buying.” He said that you should make your clients understand that this COVID-19 crisis is temporary and that crises are a normal part of the real estate cycle.
Carvajal reiterated that brokers should give the right information and strategy to their clients. “Just give them the right strategy, whether they want to buy right now at a discount and then ride the value of property going up with them, or if they would like to liquidate right now. It all depends on the investment strategy.”
What modes of communication should a broker consider when talking to their clients?
Carvajal said that it is not proper to do any sales calls during this crisis. The best way is to send a professional email with a little branding to it. “Also, do not forget to add your well-wishes, [wishing your clients] good health, add tips such as staying safe in this pandemic, and how to disinfect condominium units,” he said.
As a whole, Carvajal emphasized that you shouldn’t just talk to your clients to sell your property. What’s important is to talk to them and build a good relationship.
What email content can I put out in the new normal?
Carvajal mentioned that some clients look for good opportunities to invest in a property for a good price. Real estate professionals should make sure that their clients won’t feel that they are hard-selling to them.
“A lot of clients are waiting for the right opportunity,” he said. He also recommended talking about the promotions and discounts offered with the properties when sending emails to clients and future buyers.
Is online viewing effective in your experience?
“Online viewing could be effective if we educate ourselves to learn new terms,” Carvajal said. Getting familiar with terms such as those used in interior design, the small details of the house or condominium, the floor sizes of the bedrooms, and the materials used to construct the exterior and interior of the property will help in making online viewing more effective for clients.
“Knowing Filipinos, they always want to see before they buy.” Carvajal said that utilizing relevant terms in doing online viewing can help clients be more familiar with all the parts of the property they are eyeing before they buy.
What are the ideal listings to post in this time of crisis?
Carvajal said that the ideal listing, in general, is any property that will give more than a seven-percent yield. He mentioned that achieving yields with these prices is a challenge nowadays, and recommended buying properties at a low price to get higher yields.
He also talked about how industrial lots will be a good investment, saying that the Philippines lacks warehousing. “[These warehouses] will complement the ‘Build, build, build’ program of the president, wherein roads and infrastructures will be connected. [More warehouses] will make the logistics and distributions industry bigger in the future.”
Carvajal also discussed bigger opportunities outside of Metro Manila, such as those in New Clark City in Pampanga, Iloilo, and of course, in Davao City. Clients should also consider these places when making an investment.
Will there be big discounts on payment terms in the time of the new normal?
“There are actually big discounts now.” Carvajal said that prices for the properties will roll-back during the new normal in order to avoid real estate bubbles.
He also said that developers call it a promo to remove discounts and bring back prices to normal, saying that the last thing that developers want is to sound like they are lowering the price of real estate because constantly lowering the prices will be bad for the industry.
As with discounts, Carvajal said now is the right time to buy because you may never know when developers will remove or extend the discount promos in their properties.
What is the best strategy for brokers and agents to close deals during the time of the new normal?
Other than giving the right investment strategy to clients, Carvajal mentioned that brokers and agents should have digital strategies in closing deals and virtually meeting with clients during the new normal. “It’s important to have an online presence through your own Facebook page and your Lamudi package because you will get a lot of listings after this community quarantine.”
For Carvajal, having an online presence will generate more clients to view your listings. It will also assure your clients that you are there for them even if it isn’t about business.
How can you successfully conduct an online tour of your listings?
While clients prefer to see the properties in person rather than virtually, Carvajal mentioned that conducting online tours has helped them generate more leads. “The most important thing when doing [online tours] is to show the features of the property,” he said, saying that videos should show the focal points and finishes of the property.
He also recommended adding the specific details such as the number of bedrooms, highlights of the properties, and floor areas in the tour. Carvajal also said that if you aren’t tech-savvy, hiring a videographer will be helpful in creating better shots of the property to engage more clients.
Managing relations with your clients encompasses being considerate of their current situation, offering your services, giving them updates about their properties, and offering the best deals and online tours so that clients can still invest in their dream properties despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
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