Technology is necessary, but relationships bolster business in uncertain times
In my 30-plus years as a commercial real estate broker, evolving technology has influenced how we all do business. From Black’s Guide (paperback, of course), my first 640k computer, and my Palm Pilot that dramatically increased my efficiency and responsiveness early in my career to iPhones, video drones and detailed digital data that have become a necessity today, our business relies on tools to connect and inform our clients. However, as much as these technologies have made us all more efficient, two values drove our success then and now: trust and the power of relationships.
Along the way, email and text messages have replaced the phone call, take-out has replaced the power lunch, and Zoom has replaced the face-to-face meeting – at least during this time of social distancing for the greater good. As we adapt, evolve and battle through this pandemic, we should not lose track of those core principles that have been the foundation for our success, even as technology has streamlined our businesses and made it possible to work in these current conditions.
I was traveling home from a conference in Mexico in early March 2020, as we were just beginning to understand the severity of this virus. I returned home to government officials beginning to implement restrictions and prepare for shutdowns. Shortly thereafter our pipeline began to crumble, and business had all but completely halted, morale was down, and we found ourselves in damage-control mode.
I am fortunate to have a strong group of young brokers on my team and they looked to me for advice asking, “What should we be doing?” My advice was to take it back to the basics: call, not email our clients. When they asked what to tell them, I said, “Ask them how they are, what they need, what we can do for them.”