Written by Andi

Dear real estate agents,

A friend of mine is just about to have a baby.

It's her first baby and, despite everything happening in the world, she and her husband are so looking forward to welcoming their newest family member.

Now, you're probably wondering, what does my friend and her baby have to do with real estate?

Well, right now, my friend and her husband live in a one bedroom apartment. With a new baby, and all of the nappies, toys, cribs and other equipment that comes with it, they desperately need more room.

At the end of last year, with this need in mind, they started searching for a new home.

At the start of this year, the entire world changed.

But -- and this is important -- not everything changed for my friends.

They are still having a baby -- Coronavirus or not, it's coming!

They are still crammed into a tiny apartment that cannot hold them and all their new baby equipment.

They are still searching for a new place, and they will buy one, right now, if they find one that suits their needs.

The moral of this story is, even in the face of a global pandemic, restrictions on movement, social distancing and media fear-mongering... life goes on.

People still have babies. They fall in love, they get divorced, their kids move out, sadly, their partners pass on, they move into care.

Life happens. And when life happens, people buy and sell real estate to accommodate what is happening to them, regardless of what is going on in the wider world.

Will restrictions make it harder to list and sell houses? Of course.

Will the market slow down because of Coronavirus? Absolutely.

Will some agents not make it. Unfortunately, yes.

But, some agents will make it -- in fact, many will.

Agents who know how to read the room, how to understand the needs, motivations and movements of people -- who can and do adapt, who find new ways, will make it.

Over the weekend, while I wasn't spending Easter with my family for the first time in years, I took 15 minutes to interview our Director.

A regional agent and auctioneer of more than 30 years, who has survived financial downturn and recession, devastating droughts and fires, and numerous leaps and changes in both technology and legislation, he had a lot to say on how agents can survive the next six months.

Here are his three tips every agent should be living by:

1. Survival is about mentality as much as it is about money

"Someone famous once said, 'What you think, you become', and it is such a powerful statement, that I purchased a ring engraved with those words and gave it to one of my daughters when she was suffering from a few setbacks.

While money, and how much we can continue to make and how much we have to spend, will of course play a big part in whether or not our businesses survive the next six months, our mindsets and our positivity, creativity and resilience, I believe, have just as big of a role to play.

During this period, the most dangerous thing you can do is throw your arms in the air and give up.

Instead, sit down -- preferably on zoom or FB or skype -- with your team, and start to think around this problem. Because there is always a work around, a way to succeed.

Envision what you want to achieve, and then find a way to achieve it."

2. Survival is about smart, independent thinking

"At the height of our local drought, our town struggled, like so many. A lot of agents left the industry. They just couldn't take it -- there were plenty of properties for sale, but no buyers, the dusty land seemed impossible to move and money was tighter than tight.

The first move of most agencies was to shut down all marketing, to stop spending.

As an agency, we followed suit -- we shut off all marketing. And wow, did we suffer!

We lost serious ground, our market share dwindled and our reputation took a dive.

So we decided to do something different. We sat down and asked our team. 'How can we actually take advantage of this situation? How can we make it work for us so we survive and even thrive?'

And in this discussion, we realised something very important -- if we went against the grain, if we amped up marketing and advertising, while every other agency closed theirs off, we had an incredibly unique opportunity to continue to grow.

So we did. We invested!

We printed and distributed our own property magazine, while the newspaper real estate section was down, we purchased radio ad spots and do regular Saturday morning appearances, while locals travelled to sport. We got out there and helped at local events, dropped to mailboxes, distributed cards, volunteered our time, among a vast array of other activities.

During that seemingly impossible period, we not only survived, we thrived -- we built our market share and became one of the most, if not, the most, reputable agency in town at that time.

So, don't just do what everyone else is doing because they're doing it.

Look at the situation and ask yourself, how can we make this unique set of circumstances work for us? Because believe me, there is a way, and giving up isn't it!"

3. Survival is about your willingness to adapt

"One of the ways we made it through the tough times was to adapt, and actually that's where our online sales platform came from.

During those same days of drought and recession, every agency in town was trying to attract buyers and competition for their listings.

We had a potential client approach us -- as I'm sure he did other agents -- to let us know he was aware the property wouldn't sell locally, and he would basically award the listing to the agent who could think of an innovative way to make it more accessible and available further afield.

Armed with this challenge, we developed our first version of Sale Ezy, just for this one client.

At that point, Sale Ezy was meant to be a one-off, something to show the client we would work tirelessly to meet his unique needs and demands. As we all know now, the platform has become much more than this over recent years as we have rebuilt it.

Needless to say, we won that listing, and we sold the property online. And for the next year, we used that early online sales system (more than ten years ago) to help clients and agents throughout regional Australia sell property.

When times are tough, a vendor needs absolute commitment from their buyer, and equally, the buyer needs to know they have bought the property.

Sale Ezy provides this commitment for both with a binding contract on acceptance of an offer.

Our willingness to adapt, to try something new -- even though, to be honest, it was challenging and daunting -- helped to save us.

We have been challenging agents to adapt -- to try new ways of selling -- for around two years. We've been running courses, educating, mentoring and more recently, offering our updated online best offer and auction platform for their use.

In the current climate -- a set of circumstance unlike any I think we've ever seen as agents -- not adapting means being doomed to failure.

The world has changed, everything around us has changed, and thinking you can still function the same, in a world that has so dramatically shifted, is doing yourself, your clients and importantly, your team, a disservice.

I learned we need to adapt the hard way, so learn from my experiences and my mistakes -- examine the current challenge, ask yourself how you can make it work for you, then find and adopt the tools that will allow you to do that."

Thanks to our director Al for taking time out on the Easter weekend to share his experiences with us. As agents, one of the best ways to get through the next few months is to share with, learn from and support each other.

If you would like to know more about our Sale Ezy online best offer or auction systems, or you want to arrange a demo, please feel free to reach out to our friendly team on 1300 662 013 or hello@saleezy.com.au.