In A Downturn, Real Estate Agents Should Market With Future In Mind

Realtors who lean into this seedy market can gain market share that could benefit them for years to come, real estate executives argued at the virtual event Inman Connect Now on Thursday.

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Real estate agents who withdraw marketing and lead generation when home sales slump risk losing market share and momentum to the competition, two real estate executives argued at the virtual event Inman Connect Now on Thursday.

Brokers should think ahead of how they plan to position themselves for more active markets in the future when determining their marketing strategies for this slowdown, said Fathom Realty CEO Josh Harley and Laurie Reader Real Estate CEO Laurie Finkelstein Reader.

Josh Harley | Fathom Realty

“If we go into depression, a lot of people will withdraw their marketing just to survive and hope to get to the other end,” Harley said. “But what ultimately happens is they are [businesses] they die.”

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Agents that invest the time, energy and money to market themselves during a downturn — when competitors typically cut back or exit the market — will survive and thrive, Harley said.

More importantly, he added, these agents have a good chance of emerging from the downside with a larger market share than before.

There is new precedent for this, he said. At the end of the 2007 real estate recession, the proportion of agents who had exited the market outpaced the decline in real estate transactions. The agents who were still standing had more business as the market improved, he said.

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The reader agreed that this is a time for agents to seek marketing and lead generation, even if business is slower than it was a year ago.

Laurie Finkelstein Readers | Laurie Reader real estate

“It’s just a matter of leaning in now,” Reader said. “Have no fear, lean in and do what you can from that marketing perspective.”

Since attending Inman Connect Las Vegas in August, Reader says her team has grown even further, emphasizing day-to-day activities that serve the consumer and drive business through their sales funnel.

“I’m telling you, Katie, we [as an industry] got away from it,” Reader told the event’s moderator, Katie Kossev of the Kossev Group. “And it was really obvious from the conversations on every panel that we heard [at Inman Connect] it was about going back to human connection [and] human interaction.”

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The importance of building a deeper relationship with clients over time becomes clear when one considers not only the impact of repeat business, but also that of previous clients referring their friends to a valued agent.

“People typically move for valid reasons,” Reader said. “It’s not always a good reason. And I just think that consumer will come back to you [and] We recommend five clients a year – it’s that human interaction and that human touch.”

Agents who focus on maintaining a more manageable number of meaningful relationships are likely to be more successful than those who try to balance large numbers of surface acquaintances, Harley said.

Listening to customers and understanding their needs — even if it hurts the chances of a short-term transaction — can earn their trust and lead to more referrals later, he said.

“We as agents tend to be almost psychologists,” Harley said.

Email Daniel Houston

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