By Gino Blefari
This week my travels find me … at home. (Although I did make the trek just now from my backyard to my home office to write this post.) As I sit at my desk, in the home I’ve been working out of for weeks now—just like you—I’m reminded of the concept that the bigger the challenge, the greater the opportunity. And we’re facing one of the biggest challenges our industry and world has ever known.
The question when faced with a challenge isn’t why but how, and the word is really transformative – How can you change this challenge into an opportunity? In real estate, we’ve already been hard at work adapting our current challenges into opportunities to collectively learn, grow and evolve. Here are just a few of those challenges-turned-opportunities at work today:
Digital transactions. Paperless has long been a buzzword in our industry, a preferable way to get business done. In a time when we can’t physically hand a paper to our sellers to protect everyone’s safety and well-being, digital is the only way. But digital transactions aren’t just good for navigating the complexities of this global pandemic; digital transactions are a solution for the future of our industry. When we can move a transaction along with the click of a link, we’re faster and more streamlined and efficient than ever before. If you think about it, the situation is comparable to the way the travel industry used to operate. Here’s my own personal example: As you know, I flew every week. In fact, my opening to every one of these blogs is, “This week my travels found me …” because I travel so much. And as a frequent traveler, I was willing to pay for TSA PreCheck so I didn’t have to remove my shoes or take my laptop out of my bag. I paid for Clear, which uses biometrics – eyes and fingertips – to confirm it’s really me, so I didn’t have to wait for a TSA representative to check my ID or approve my ticket. I also have Global Entry, allowing me expedited clearance to enter the U.S. through automatic kiosks. The same concept applies in real estate; you have a consumer right now willing to pay for the extra convenience of ease in a very inconvenient time. We are moving into notarizing people online, creating a fully digital transaction and all these fast changes toward digital are really allowing us to build even more convenience into the experience of a transaction.
One-stop shops for real estate. COVID-19 has also caused our industry to consolidate everything in one spot—brokerage, mortgage, title, insurance homeownership services. And HomeServices of America is a one-stop shop. Let no one ever lose sight of the fact that without Ron Peltier, our executive chairman, there is no HomeServices of America and I feel so much gratitude for being part of this organization, especially now because it is a company that can offer everything and is well-positioned for the future. The mission since HomeServices of America started was to be the safe and superior client experience, committed to the four pillars of our parent company – trust, integrity, stability and longevity. Our focus on that mission is coming into realization with incredible clarity today.
Digital marketing. No, digital marketing is nothing new but a recent increase in social media engagement and attention has caused us to shift our once experiential activations and physical marketing efforts online. Not only has social media become an even more constant go-to for live updates; it’s also the digital space where we can virtually empathize with clients worldwide who are experiencing the exact same anxieties and uncertainty as everyone else. From an influx of Instagram lives to a sharp rise in Zoom meetings, we’ve swiftly realized you can connect even with a screen and miles of distance between you.
Continuous personal improvement. Of course, continuous improvement was a concept we embraced long before stay-at-home orders and social distancing but now that we’re safely confined to our homes, the emphasis on creating positive routines and habits is more important than ever before. As I’ve mentioned in many of my blog posts before, powerful rituals and routines can increase the strength of your immune system and improve your mental and emotional state. We must maintain a solid schedule, manage our time—especially for parents now dealing with work and home-schooling—and focus on our M.E.D.S. (Meditation, Exercise, Diet and Sleep.)
So, what’s the message? As hard as it seems, we have to reframe our idea of challenges. Instead of dreading them, let’s welcome them. Approaching challenges with a positive mindset allows us to see them as the latent opportunities they are; when we emerge from this crisis, we will be more resilient, more productive and more operationally efficient because these challenges ultimately produced opportunities for revolutionary change.