What we’ve learned during COVID
As 2020 draws to a close, we are taking an opportunity to reflect on this extraordinary year, and the learnings that we as a business will take into 2021 and beyond. In my four decades in the industry, there’s never been a year quite like this one – but the fundamentals of real estate remain sturdy, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The way we’ve done business has been different this year, but the cornerstone of PhilipWebb is the same as it’s always been: building relationships, trust, communication and teamwork. What we have learned from the last 12 months is that these essentials need to be adaptable in order to weather any storms, but that if they are present, the rest is just a matter of adjustment.
In real estate, doing the right thing by clients – and building trust and rapport – is vital. With the industry forced online, maintaining these connections has been an important part of keeping the business going strong. We did this by checking in over the phone and following up with people in order to maintain proactive outreach and stay connected with our buyers and vendors.
Technology has been a useful tool for us this year, but only because we’ve combined it with the fundamentals we have been employing for years – they aren’t enough on their own. It’s thanks to the skills we’ve been building across the decades that we pulled it off.
For example, during the pandemic PhilipWebb pivoted to become experts in online auctions. These were successful because we had the skills and experience to command a crowd, create energy and encourage bids – having the right tech and set-up alone wouldn’t have helped us. Now that we are coming back into normalcy, PhilipWebb is offering dual in-person and online auctions to utilise the technology and increase access, while also catering to people who prefer a more traditional approach.
In the digital age, one of the most important consideration is having a strong online presence, including a functional and informative website. We take great pride in our website, which was recognised with the Best Website Award at the 2020 REIV Awards for Excellence. COVID-19 has reinforced the notion that digital presence is important for maintaining business during times when face-to-face contact is reduced; by having a great website, we ensure that clients (and potential clients) have all the information they need at their fingertips.
All of this comes down to one critical thing: maintaining a strong team culture. At PhilipWebb, we have always viewed our team as family, and COVID-19 has reminded us of the importance of sticking together and leaning on each other for support throughout difficult times. We strive to foster a fantastic office culture and champion a welcoming, friendly, fun and productive environment. This year, we have had to adapt this team culture online, using tools such as video conferencing to maintain this integral aspect of our company. Our people are the most important part of the business, and what makes PhilipWebb a great place to work and a driver of client success.
Through the challenges of 2020, PhilipWebb has emerged as a stronger business than ever by combining new learnings with the principles that have allowed us to thrive as real estate agents over the last four decades. In the face of adversity, we have managed to achieve great sales and results. The agility, adaptability and positivity of our team and people has put us in a positive position for 2021 and beyond, as we continue to apply our expertise to drive excellent results for buyers and vendors.