Amid this COVID-19 world, filled with social distancing (i.e. minimizing contact with people), how does an industry built on relationships thrive or even hope to survive?
Social distancing is defined as "Avoiding public transportation whenever possible, limiting nonessential travel, working from home, and skipping social gatherings — and not going to networking events crowded bars or sporting events."
"These are not normal times. This is not a drill," said Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. "We have never been through anything like this before."
With vital networking, social, and "main streets" off-limits, how do we continue to do business? The answer is through technology. Commercial real estate professionals that act quickly to show their ability to thrive in this new world have the opportunity to take substantial market share and command a significant competitive advantage.
I have always said, "the real estate industry has not changed. Technology either gets in the way or accelerates the way to closing more transactions." In a post-COVID-19 era, the world will have forever changed — and the Real Estate Industry must adapt with it.
To properly fight the COVID-19 Pandemic, we as an industry need to:
1) Work remotely: Limiting in-person contact via social distancing. Deploying video conferencing technology, so we can be virtually present to communicate with our clients, will soon be a part of every business person's day-to-day, with companies like Cisco, Zoom, Microsoft, Skype, and Slack, the productivity boost, time saved in travel, and reduction in overall travel costs will keep remote work in our lives long after COVID-19 is gone.
2) Network digitally: Connecting to industry peers, allied professionals, and potential clients will have to be done on-line for an indefinite amount of time. Connecting to the community and network online through LinkedIn, CRECo.ai, Facebook, etc. The shift from analog networking practices to digital ones is no longer an academic debate. "I recognize the importance of RECon in helping our members build and grow their businesses," stated Tom McGee President & CEO International Council For Shopping Centers. This statement from an email on March 13th, 2020, is part of a sequence where they announced the cancellation of one of ICSC's most significant annual events, RECon.
3) Identify opportunities: With businesses projecting 50-80% losses for the next 3-6 months, there will be a cascading effect on the real estate market. Real estate developers, investors, owners, lenders, and other professionals' ability to hold assets, continue reposition projects, have a workforce on hand, and acquire assets will all be in flux. Using real-time market data with proper processes will provide ample opportunities to transact new business. Data services like Attom Data, GeoData Plus, and ZipAnalyser, will be essential to take first-mover advantage, and CRECO.ai offers all of these services all in one place.
4) Communicate securely: In a time of worldwide insecurity, we must ensure we take steps to protect our clients' information. Using technology like Scribo will allow you to send and shred documents, leaving no copies in the cloud for hackers to steal or exploit. Bad actors will also take advantage of this situation to send spoofing and phishing emails, so clicking on links -- even "forgot password" ones -- should be done with more extreme caution. Hover over the link to check the URL before clicking.
5) Establish or Sync Your Digital Self: Now, more than ever, the digital side to your business must be up-to-date, present in social media channels, and carry you and your business forward. Using services like Carlson Integrated, and the latest in CRECo.ai social media and digital promotions tools will get you there!
What does it all mean? Being a success in Real Estate was a combination of having a Rolodex, shaking hands with customers/clients, picking up the phone, attending at least one event locally per week, one national event quarterly, and rubbing elbows. As I have said before, the real estate industry has not changed; however, the world stage and how we do business is already forcing it to change, and CRECO.ai will ensure you adapt and help you focus on what you do best -- virtually.
A real estate professional who transforms/evolves to a technology-enabled real estate executive, with a clear digital image, an enhanced ability to execute, and a digital network will flourish. The same holds true for firms of all sizes to top-tier companies.
CRE Collaborative provides a search one and done portal connecting you to real estate data, real estate professionals, and real estate technology. Our advisory services ensure you get connected, stay connected, and gain competitive advantage connecting your business from end-to-end across the commercial real estate industry. Call us today for a free consultation 203-307-2242 or sign up for CRE Collaborative at no cost to search, network, and promote your business.
**Premium services include connectivity engines, advanced networking, and business promotion functions.