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How April and Her Team Are Staying Off the Sidelines

Apr 3, 2020 8:31:18 AM

“I tell them all the time, ‘There is a delay; there is not a denial.’ We may have a few delays, but we don't have any denials here at House Hunters Realty.”

That’s the attitude April Hunter, a real estate agent and broker based in Atlanta, Ga., is striving to instill in her team as they navigate working during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

April’s brokerage is still relatively new, and she employs a team of about 10 agents. 

“The way I got these agents was because I started doing so well with my listings — as you guys know if you've followed me from on social media and through Smart Agents,” April says. “I got my broker's license and wanted to take a step back. So then I became a coach, and I started being able to teach people how to do these things for themselves. And then, those same people converted over to being my Realtors under my brokerage.”

Before the outbreak, April was having a lucrative first quarter, having sold 8 homes herself while running the brokerage. 

“My team was up and running. Eight houses — that's a lot when you're building a brand, you're building a team,” April says. “I'm dealing with their situations that they have coming with their clients, with some of them not knowing how to do contracts or need my help with contracts.”

But despite the current hurdles they’re facing, April is helping her team pull through and keep closing deals. 

“My team is awesome,” April says. “You know, there is a huge support system. They're helping themselves. I'm helping them.”

The most important thing, she says, is not to wait on the sidelines. 

“With everything going on, you have to make sure it's all about really your mindset,” April says. “First of all, you do have to make sure that you stay top of mind. Now is the best time to follow up. Now is the best time to still try to send out mailers if you can.”

 

Taking Advantage of Technology

During the outbreak, April has stepped up her social media marketing and has been using apps like Ripl, which allows her to create branded videos and images in minutes, then instantly post to all of her social media accounts at once. She also uses the Over app to create custom overlays on her images and videos. 

“I will say try to buy the pro feature. That way, you won't have their logo; you'll have your own. You'll have your colors. You can customize it.” 

But while she is investing in new tools and apps to enhance her business, April is quick to point out that she isn’t spending a lot of money to do it. 

“This is not something where you need a marketing person. They'll try to tell you and charge you hundreds and thousands of dollars a week — you don't have to do that,” she says. “You just use these apps to take it to the next level if you don't have a marketing specialist. Now, if you do, awesome. But if you don't, do it yourself.

“I'm just a person where I'm not afraid to do video. I'm not afraid to talk. If I stutter, I'm not afraid. I'm human, and that's more natural,” April says. “That's what people want. They want to see someone who is human, someone who makes mistakes. ...If I'm at home and I'm making some food or something, I want to post that as well so you can see a different side of me and people want to interact with that and be able to build a rapport with you.”

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Encouraging Team Morale

April holds weekly meetings with the agents on her team to keep up morale and encourage them to keep working hard despite any current roadblocks they may be facing. 

“I tell them... ‘Now is the time, more than ever, to stay top of mind. Now is the time when you must follow up. Now is the time. ...I don't want you to go extinct,’” April says. “Especially for the people who just started this, now is the time to stay in contact. If you have books, send your books. If you have any knowledge, send them text messages, use your social media outlets, DM them, send them messages. Just let them know you're thinking about them.

“I just told them, ‘Send all of your past clients, your current clients, anyone that you want to be a client — send them a text message, just checking on them during this sensitive time. Ask them and tell them to eat well, maintain a healthy diet ... and we are here for you. If you need us, we can do things remotely.’ So that's what I had them do, and it worked.”

Creating a Pipeline for the Future

As for her own business, April is continuing to keep potential listings in her pipeline. 

“I do have a couple of listing appointments. I've been having them send me the photos. I've been having them send me videos. I'm running comparables. I can send them to them, a CMA, and then we can get on Zoom and we can share screen. And I let them know, ‘Hey, we have DocuSign. You don't have to leave your home. … We can still get you professional photos done. You don't have to be there.”

April has the same message for other agents who are trying to figure out how to do business during such an unprecedented time in our industry. 

“This is not the time to be a couch potato,” April says. “This is not the time to be comfortable because I promise to you — if you do that — six months from now, you will probably not be in the business.

“We have a few different people right now. We have the people who are fearful. We have the people who are planning and strategizing. And we have the people who don't know what they're going to do — they're going left, they're going right. So be one of those ones who are trying to strategize and think of new ways.”

When she’s met with hesitations or doubts about listing, April pushes for people to book an appointment with her in the future. 

“Start trying to fill up your month of April and May,” she says. “And then if something happens, you can always cancel or move it to online again if they'll allow you. ...I want to continue to be there and to help and encourage, and I'm not a sales-y person, right? I'm coming off from a place where I truly want to help you. So therefore, it has slowed some things down. But I know when it's time, they're coming for me, they're coming to me because I've built those relationships.”

Selling During the Pandemic

April recognizes that people have legitimate fears about listing and having strangers walk through their homes at this time. She has been putting together kits for her sellers, including gloves and disinfectant wipes that can be left in the home for showings. She also reassures people that agents must adhere to a strict code of ethics that won’t allow them to bring visibly sick people into other peoples’ homes. 

“And then you do have some people that say, ‘Hey, I'm ready right now. The house is vacant. Let's go,’" April says. “So I've been doing that. I've been helping my team, my agents — I've been helping them with their clients, as well. You have several vacant houses that we're trying to put out there. I've been assisting them with their buyers, with their sellers. We're doing virtual tours. We're doing virtual listings.”

For home sellers who are concerned about rising interest rates driving buyers out of the market, April has been relying on her trusted team to stay up to date with the latest information. 

“As soon as I see something, I'm able to call my loan officer,” April says. “That's why it's so important to build relationships, real relationships with other agents, with other brokers, with other vendors, so you can reach out and ask what's going on.”

By staying informed and responding to the changing climate, April is confident she can thrive and survive through this difficult time — and help her team members do the same. 

“So it's time to make the change, and you've got to make the change quick. If not, I can guarantee you — I'm telling you — if not, you will see your business it will go down. It's not a may. It will go down.”

April recommends taking advantage of this time to do things they normally wouldn’t have time to do.

“This is the best time,” she says. “Make yourself polish up your websites, polish up your PowerPoints, build funnels for sellers and buyers to go to. Do everything now in this time. Because when we can go back out and everybody's gonna leave to go back to work, you're going to have so many agents out there running, trying to get things, so it's going to be even more difficult. Stay top of mind now. Do this now. Talk to people now. Follow, follow, follow up right now. Right now.”

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