In these unpredictable times, it’s more important than ever to act responsibly for the greater good by maintaining social distance and sheltering in place. As a CRE broker, you’ve likely already experienced the effect of the global pandemic on your business, as well as in your personal life. But, fortunately, amidst the chaos and uncertainty, you don’t have to completely shut down your business. That’s because, thanks to the abundance of opportunities available via the internet, you can easily move various aspects of your business online to help your entrepreneurial venture survive during these critical times.
With that in mind, we put together a thorough list of effective communication strategies that CRE brokers can implement when you need to keep it online:
1. Phone Calls & Live Chat Tools
Keep communication flowing with your clients, even during these difficult times. For direct communication when matters are urgent, stay connected with the help of a simple, traditional phone call. Meanwhile, set up a live chat tool to simplify communication with potential business partners and manage customer service on your website. Plus, a personalized live chat support can even generate new leads, boost conversions and keep existing clients engaged. Additionally, be sure to respond quickly and provide a good customer experience online. Your clients will definitely appreciate and remember it.
2. Conferencing Tools
When face-to-face communication is of utmost importance, conferencing tools can be of great service. For example, if you like to make eye contact with those you’re speaking with, regardless of whether they’re business partners or clients, these easy-to-use tools can help you achieve a more personal connection. However, conferencing tools are not limited to remote meetings. You can also use them to offer live assistance for anyone in need. Because these applications usually offer the option to share screens, you can leisurely lend a hand to a client or peer during a live call if they need help with anything.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is still one of the most efficient tools for communicating with clients and peers. You can easily send important documents through email to multiple recipients – meaning that you’ll only have to write one message that will reach dozens of people. You also have the option to hide the list of other recipients, as well, by listing them in the blind carbon copy (BCC) list. Plus, the ability to reread and fact-check information you sent to others is another great advantage of using email marketing.
4. Social Media
Because the COVID-19 situation seems to change by the minute, most of us are constantly glued to our phones and social media pages in an effort to stay updated on the latest news. Consequently, this is also a prime time to keep contact with your clients on various social media channels by sharing content that’s relevant to the situation and helps educate them. At a time when we’re flooded with a multitude of information, content posted here should trigger interest and be informative, instead of just another post in an endless stream of information. During this time, check your messages and notifications regularly, as clients tend to reach out through social media messaging platforms.
5. Photo & Video Tours
Physically showing a commercial real estate property to potential clients is likely on hold for the foreseeable future. But, that doesn’t mean that real estate viewings have to come to a definitive halt. Rather, use the power of high-quality photos and even video to walk customers through the office spaces in your portfolio. If video tours are not an option, 360-degree photos can also do the trick and provide a fantastic virtual experience to potential customers.
Prologis, Inc. (NYSE: PLD) chairman and CEO Hamid Moghadam said he expects businesses to operate with a higher level of inventories following the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking on an April 6 business update conference call, Moghadam noted that for approximately the past 20 years supply chains have been structured for efficiency. “People have been squeezing more and more inventory out of the system. The supply chains have been longer and longer, so they’re very vulnerable to disruption,” he said.
Nareit Senior Economist Calvin Schnure said in an April 6 REIT Report podcast interview that uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and its impact on the economy and markets will remain high, certainly through April and likely into May.
Schnure also noted that while REITs and broader stock indices are at a deep discount compared to pre-crisis levels, they are up from lows reached several weeks ago.