I loved this message, and what jumped out to me what the communication has been from our CEO, Bess Freedman.
“I’m getting everyone through this.”
We are some of the best agents in New York City, but when no one is doing business, it is clearly going to impact everyone. It struck me as a Danny Meyer kind of philosophy, in that she’s focused on her agents first, the talented people who “go up and down the elevator” and are, effectively, the value of the business. When this is all is said and done (and it will be), the companies who took care of their agents will have a sense of renewed loyalty. I believe that for sure.
And there is discussion of other companies laying off staff right now. This sends the exact wrong message. What is a company loyal to? In that case, they seem to have a fiduciary to their shareholders, such as Softbank. I get it, you need to see everyone through the storm here. But this will always sit in people’s minds. Where are corners going to be cut.
I continue to be grateful that my firm is privately held, by owners who invested through the crisis of 2008-2009 and will continue to do so today. And we have the best staff in the business, which doesn’t hurt, either.
No question that they want to cut expenses where they can- but I sure hope that they are extremely thoughtful about which staff gets let go, if anyone.
How Are Agents Handling Renegotiations That Are Happening in This Environment?
The company is also discussing what can be done in an environment of deals being kept alive? What are suggested strategies? Helping keep deals together seems like a good use of time by our management. Some ideas being floated:
o Extending the close date to later in the year
o Seller offering free carrying charges for a period of time after closing
o Seller agreeing to a reduction in the sale price.
o Seller providing the financing (holding paper) if and all cash buyer gets nervous or if buyer is worried about financing due to changes in their net worth
o Restructuring the contract so it is a rent to own scenario. A portion of the rent will be credited to the agreed upon purchase price.
I love these kinds of discussions. Creating a forum for this is sensible.
What Can We Do to Adjust our Business to this New Environment?
Our firm has spent the last 2 years increasing its visibility across social media channels. As you well know, I’ve always been focused on creating marketing content. We were given the “get with it or die out” pep talk. Such tough love is really important to hear.
“If you weren’t using social media platforms before last week you will need to get up to speed fast. Thank goodness many of you have already jumped in and taken command of such platforms as Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook, but for those who are new to this and find it uncharted territory, we will be offering continual workshops and marketing support to help you transition.” Love it. They go on, and I love this message: “Video is an ideal format for conveying information with the kind of empathy and compassion that is needed in these times. There is nothing more dynamic that a moving image. It’ll be an excellent format for keeping customers and clients up to speed on the market and agents who take advantage will be poised and ready when the market heats up.”