The Key Questions Agents are Asking Through this Crisis (Part 2)

Welcome to the week of May 18th … brighter days ahead … there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re seeing more things happening that are good in Real Estate. You know, May is a good month for Real Estate, almost always, nationwide … and it seems to be better for all of us.

At the same time, we have to be open to some of the changes that are taking place. So, what I want to do is I want to continue what I did last week by answering some of the questions that I’m being asked all the time. I’m almost at 100 webinars that I’ve done personally since March 15th and, of course, you know and I know that this webinar type of thoughts is a new type of thought for what we’re all experiencing.

Obviously, the question comes up … “Mike, this has always been a face-to-face industry and now we’re become a virtual industry. What does that mean?”

Well, first of all … we haven’t always been a face-to-face industry. If you look at our industry throughout North America … what … 15% … maybe 18% … 20% … of all the transactions that take place in North America have always been done virtually because they’ve been done by phone and fax. Now, that’s antiquated for today because today we have Skype and FaceTime and Zoom and DocuSign and all these great virtual techniques to use. But, see, if you look at the two coasts of Florida … if you look at the mountain resorts of the Carolinas … you look at the Jersey shore … you look at the deserts of, say, Arizona, Nevada and California where they have second homes … and then you look at the mountains of Denver, Colorado … Vale and Aspen and Utah … the second home market … the resort market … the ski market … these have always been a very, very active part of the business we do and they’ve always been done virtually because many, many, many times, we never get to actually see and talk to our Seller when we’re listing a property in one of these types of markets. So, it’s not new … it’s just different … because now a lot of us are having to learn something different and new.

How many years has it been that we’ve been preaching … and it’s been a hard thing to accept … technology is going to advance and move us forward? We’ve been hearing that … what … 5 … 10 … 15 years? Well, I think now, because of this home isolation and the openings that are taking place in most states today, it’s starting to really take effect … and the first place it’s taking effect is this virtual side of the business. It’s been interesting because as most of you know, with everybody being at home and everybody on their cell phone … on their iPad … on their personal computer … the amount of technology we have available can’t keep up with the demand that is up there … and that’s the biggest challenge we face today.

I don’t think 10% of the hundred webinars I’ve done virtually now there was not some kind of a challenge in the communication and the system. The screens are freezing … the voices are hesitating … we just learn to live with some of these technological challenges we face. So, technology is advancing and is making our lives better, but it’s also making it a little more confusing because we want it to work right and it doesn’t always work right. We have to look at how we’re going to now use virtual technology.

Think about it this way … it’s a Saturday morning, you’ve got a great prospect coming in at 10:00 … Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They’re going to be a $300,000 … $500,000 … $800,000 home … depending on your market … and you’ve prepared 5 or 6 good homes to show them. They’ve been prequalified by you … the lender is giving you the stamp of approval and you can go do your job. So, before you go and take them out the front door, you say to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, “Question … we’re going to be spending 4 to 5 hours together today looking at homes so you can pick the home that you would love to have for yourself and your family … or, what we could do is, if you’d like, we can take my iPad and we can virtually look at those 6 homes I want to show you and then we can choose the 2 … maybe 3 … maybe 1 that looks like the right home for you and then we can go look at that and make the decision. So, would you rather spend 5 to 6 hours or maybe spend an hour and a half in the time we have together?”

90% of all people are going to say, “We’ll take the hour and a half.” Now, one of the little fallacies about Real Estate … and I’ve said this several times on my webinars and sometimes I can almost feel through the screen some of the resistance to what I’m going to say next … I’ll say to them, “One of the fallacies … crazy thoughts of Real Estate … is Real Estate people actually think the public want to spend time with us.” I mean … think that one through. It’s like our time is so precious and so wonderful that for a Buyer to be in a car with us for 3 or 4 hours … what a treat for the Buyer. Cuckoo! Or … how about this … to go sit in their home for 30 … 60 … 90 minutes … and tell them how wonderful we are … that’s such a treat for them to hear my story. Cuckoo!

See, everybody is looking for speed, saving of time and efficiency. What does virtual offer us? Speed, saving time and efficiency … but it also allows us to make our presentations in a much more professional manner if we learn how to do it. So, the big problem we have is, of course, learning how to do this because, see … you know, that old theme song … “You want to be in pictures … you want to be a star”? Well, guess what? When you’re doing virtual, you’re in pictures and you’re going to be a star because. Here’s what you have to understand … they’re looking at you on camera … just like you and I right now. If this was a Zoom presentation, I’d be looking right at your face. Are you prepared to do a listing presentation live … virtually? Are you prepared to show property virtually to a Buyer until you can actually take them in and sell them a home?

My friend Brian Schmitt down in the Keys shared with me last week an amazing story. As this pandemic really started to take off, they closed the Keys. Now, if you’ve ever been to the Florida Keys, it’s 120 miles of islands going south towards Cuba … one entrance by car … one road … that’s it. That road extends 120 miles. To keep the pandemic from spreading into the Keys, they barricaded the Keys. I mean, you have to go through guards to get into the Keys … and if you’re not a resident and you’re not working in the Keys, you can’t get in the Keys. Now think about that one. Well, couldn’t they come by boat? Well, the marinas are notified that if you come by boat and you don’t live in the Keys, they turn you around. What about landing your airplane at the airport? Same thing … they’ll just tell you to take off.

Talk about a challenge to list and sell Real Estate in the Keys … but here’s what Brian said to me, “The agents have learned to show and close virtually.” So, in the Keys, the Buyer of a property in the Keys … because it’s almost all a second and third home market, the Buyer looks at the home with their agents virtually, they have to write an offer virtually, sign an offer virtually, make a deposit virtually … then they have to get a letter signed that they bought a home and they want to go see it for the first time … and then they can get through the gate. Or, as Brian says, “The Keys have become the largest gated community in North America today.” Talk about a tough way to do business … and yet they’re doing business every day … virtually.

Here’s what I want you to think about … you role-play and you practice … and I’m glad you do … you do it with each other in the office … you do it by phone … I want you to start doing it virtually. Separate, if you’re in the office … call one of your associates that you’re going to role-play with at their home office … and turn on your computers and make a virtual presentation because you need to learn to get used to being in front of a camera.

I have to tell you … in doing all these webinars … and the Brokers always say to me, “Well, Mike, I want to put on the screen some of the photos and some of the pictures of our participants.” It’s scary. I mean … it is scary. We had one a couple weeks ago where the lady is sitting in the corner on the screen … it was live … and she knew it was live … she hadn’t put any makeup on … she hadn’t combed her hair … she had a toothpick hanging out of her mouth and was eating a salad while she was watching. Well, I thought … if a Buyer or Seller calls her and says, “I want to look at a property now virtually” and there’s two people on the screen … you’re not going to want to see that picture. Professional appearance … professional approach … professional attitude … a smile … energy … enthusiasm … learning to talk right into the camera itself … this takes a lot of practice. There’s a reason why actors and actresses on screen get paid a lot of money because they’ve mastered the art of talking to a camera … because that’s what you have to learn to do. I don’t think there’s any question that the virtual world is going to be a big part of our world in Real Estate forever … and all it’s going to do is improve.

Question … “Mike, many people feel the world and the economy are coming to an end with this pandemic. Have you ever seen anything worse than this?”

Well … let’s do it this way. 1973 … Huntington Beach, California … FHA …VA …conventional … 30-year fixed loans … 20%-21% interest rate to a Buyer … that’s a little worse than today. Can you imagine if your lender walked into your office today and said, “Well, the interest rate just changed from 3.5% to 21%”? You know, most of us couldn’t adapt to that. We would freeze on the spot.

1987 … a day called “Black Monday” … biggest stock market crash in the history of our country up to that point. I know I had started my business 12 years before and that day the world crashed, I mean we were all nervous as business owners and as people … was the world coming to an end?

The worst day in the history of our country, in my opinion, was 9/11 … terrifying … disturbing … destructive … the deaths involved … the panic … I mean, the poor people of New York City to have to live through that terrible situation … and, of course, now they’re suffering with this pandemic that’s been going on for a couple of months. Here’s what you have to understand … we all thought the world was ending … we didn’t want to travel … get on a plane … be in a tall building, for goodness sakes … we made it through that.

Then, of course, we have 2007-2012 … the worst economic crisis in my lifetime … and I’m 75 … and in probably most of your lifetimes. The world economy collapsed … trillions of dollars lost … 5 … 6 million homes repossessed. I mean, it was a total financial disaster for the world. We made it through that.

My son Matthew has a great expression … “This too shall pass” and this too shall pass. There’s no question this is going to pass … we just don’t know the date it’s going to end … and it’s not going to end on a date … it’s going to fade away like all things that are bad fade away. So, my question really is nothing more than this … are you prepared to last it out? Or are you letting what’s going on completely stop you from being a productive Real Estate Agent?

I get cancellations to seminars … I see the cancellations to our Coaching … “The world is coming to an end” … “I can’t sell Real Estate ever again” … “You have to let me out of my contract” … “Refund my ticket to the Superstar Retreat” … oh my gosh … oh my goodness … grow up. There’s worse. We’ll see worse in the future. Every 6 to 7 years, we have a dip in our economy of some type. It’s part of the cycle of life … and we’re in a cycle right now that isn’t the kind of cycle we want to be in, but it’s also called part of life.

The next question … should an agent lower their expectations as we finish up this year? We still have May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December … we have a lot of time to be productive, but should an agent lower their expectations? Some of my competitors say, “Yes. Throw your business plan in the trash and start over.” I am saying 100% … DO NOT LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Raise your standards. Put higher emphasis on what you need to know. Put higher emphasis on what you’re going to do each day to be productive. Don’t lower your standards, that’s giving up. Raise your standards … don’t lower your expectations. Improve the quality of your business … your competition isn’t working today … you are. Go after that market that’s out there.

“Well, Mike, there’s 40% less transactions in my market.”

Okay … that means there’s 60% there. Is the glass half empty or half full? Half full. We turn lemons into lemonade … that’s what we have to do to make it a flavorable drink, so don’t allow yourself to get wound up in the negativity of what goes on in the world. Stop watching the news … stop listening to the news … stop talking to negative people. Start putting a lot of positive thoughts into your head every day to keep raising your standards of productivity so you can accomplish what you say you want to accomplish to finish May, June, July, August, September, October, November strong.

We’re here to help. We have a great system. We have tens of thousands of people succeeding at a high level during this time. We want you to be one of them. Go to my website … get involved … start looking at what we offer for you. It works … if you do. See you next week.


Mike Ferry is the global leader in real estate coaching and training. Watch Mike each week as he discusses a variety of topics to help real estate agents and brokers. Grow your real estate business by improving your mindset, developing your skills and creating a plan of action to increase your production!