This is certainly a very unique time to be in business. In the modern era, we have never had a common enemy worldwide like we do now. COVID-19 has spread throughout the world and caused a great deal of panic and uncertainty in its wake. As our leaders work to contain and mitigate the crisis, business owners are left to wonder when ‘business as usual’ will resume.
In an interview with CBS News (click here for the interview), Bank of America CEO, Brian Moynihan, likened this crisis to a time of war, not a financial crisis. This is important, because the word ‘recession’ is being thrown around quite regularly, and the most recent recession was rough on the housing industry.
Fortunately, banks are required to undergo regular stress tests (click here for details) as a result of the previous recession, and they are as strong as they’ve ever been. This means that a financials crisis like we had 11 years is highly unlikely. And as Brian said, we need to beat the virus, and business will then ramp back up to pre-COVID-19 levels, or perhaps even higher.
Unfortunately, we are not at that point yet. The virus is still very much active, and US citizens are spending more time at home as a result.
That does not mean, however, that you cannot begin to build relationships with them. We’re at a great point in history in that we can use digital tools to create relationships with customers, without them even stepping into the sales center. Businesses can start the sales process before customers even leave their house.
What we can do
Here are some quick points on the digital environment in the COVID-19 crisis:
1. 50% of Americans get their news from Facebook. Source: Pew Research Center
2. People look at Facebook the most when they’re at home.
3. Because of the coronavirus, more people are at home, looking at the news.
4. What does it mean? Now is the time to get on Facebook and put your product out there. Now is the time to build relationships with your future customers through digital channels so that when they do come out and buy (and they will), your business is the first stop they make.
Like we said above, this is not a housing crash, and a repeat of the ‘07-08 financial crisis is highly unlikely. When this passes (and it will), there will be a tremendous amount of pent up housing demand AND low rates. This will be a perfect environment for a massive increase in home sales. And customers will visit the businesses they became familiar with on social media while they were hanging out at home.
Selling homes is a relationship business, and we now have the technology to create and nurture relationships without leaving the house. To stay competitive, make sure you have good digital tools in place to keep potential customers engaged, even if they are not physically coming into your store.