By Suzy Lins
March 30, 2020
Most everyone is working from home at this point due to the Coronavirus, but with real estate you still need to talk to and interact with people. How exactly do you do that, especially if you’ve never done it before? Here are specific tools you can use to work virtually and keep your real estate career on track as you work from home.
Meet with clients virtually
Meeting “virtually” with your clients means to interact with them via apps and software that allow you to see each other and have conversations as if you were there in person. Here are a few different ways you can meet with your clients without leaving your house:
Video Conference Apps
These apps are perfect if you want to have a face-to-face conversation with a client or prospect.
- FaceTime – This is an Apple app and only available on their devices. It comes pre-installed on your iPhone and iPad so it’s already at your fingertips.
- WhatsApp – This is a messaging app that also supports voice and video calls. It’s available for Apple and Android devices in the App Store and Google Play Store.
- Skype – This is a video calling platform available for Apple and Android devices. This platform requires the user to log in. This is a great option for computers and tablets.
Find out what kind of phone your client has to determine which app to use. Get familiar with more than one of these video conferencing apps so you’re ready for any scenario.
Video Conferencing Software/Apps
These platforms are an easy way to do a virtual property tour or hold a virtual open house. You log into a website and create a virtual meeting with your client. Once you send them a link, you both appear on the screen and are able to talk as if you were in person. To do this, both users need to have cameras on their computers. Here are some of the most popular:
- ZOOM – This is the one that we use and have had great results with our virtual meetings and agent training. There’s a free version that allows up to 40 minutes of video conferencing. Paid versions start at $14.99 per month. For personal meetings the free version should be sufficient. Find it here at Zoom.us.
- GoToMeeting – This is another platform for video conferencing. There’s a 14-Day Free Trial and the paid versions start at $12 per month. Check it out at GoToMeeting.com
- Google Hangouts – For this option, it’s easiest if everyone has a Google account. If someone doesn’t have an account, then the inviter or another invitee needs to have a G Suite Account in order for everyone to participate.
Show properties virtually
Once you have a chance to talk to your clients or prospects face-to-face you’re going to need some way to show them properties. By using one of the virtual conference software programs I mentioned above, you can share your screen to show them a virtual tour (video) or photos of the listing. They can ask questions and you can interact with them via the camera on your computer.
Select a day and time to meet “virtually” with your client and send them a link to the video conference. Have the property photos and virtual tours of the properties ready to go on your desktop. Share your desktop with them and give them a tour of the home with the photos and virtual tour.
Virtual Open Houses
Publicize the day and time you will be holding the virtual Open House and have guests request the video conference link. This gives you some control over who is coming and going at your Open House. If you decide to post the link publicly, take precautions to eliminate Zoom-Bombers coming to your Open House. A Zoom Bomber gets the public link to the meeting and once in the meeting wreaks havoc or displays inappropriate pictures on the screen. Don’t worry, there are several ways to prevents this from happening. Here are some reminders to keep those party crashers out.
During the Open House show the photos and video of the listing and answer any questions visitors may have. Depending on the length of the Open House, you’ll probably have to run the video tour and photo slideshow over and over again depending on how many people attend and when they pop in.
Video Conferencing Tips:
- Set up your video conference in a room that has a distraction-free background.
- Make sure the room is well-lit and that the lighting is not behind you. Back lighting will make your face difficult for them to see.
- You’ll be on camera so make sure you’re dressed properly.
- Look into the camera when you are talking to them instead of looking at their face on the screen.
I recommend that you practice using these apps and tools with a family member or friend before you use them with a client. A couple of practice runs and you’ll be open for virtual business.
About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.