It can be a balancing act for agents to provide the highest levels of service to clients while also taking care of their own mental and physical well-being. Agents serve as trusted advisors during times of social disruption, and being informed and forthright are crucial components to any real estate transaction, especially as markets set to reopen. But sometimes what a situation needs — both for clients and for agents — is a splash of positivity.
Knowing when to bring levity and how to maintain a practice of self-care during crises is a firm foundation for any challenging time. Here, we share a Q&A with three leading luxury agents — Emily Van Giezen, Broker Associate at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Cape Cod; Chad Bishop, Global Real Estate Advisor with ONE Sotheby’s International Realty in South Florida; and Robin Walpert, a top producing agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Santa Monica — on how to maintain physical and mental wellness during unexpected change.
1. How did you first respond to the news of the global health crisis?
Emily Van Giezen: My initial reaction was to figure out how to take the reins and do my part to help. I also knew I needed to be strong for myself. I wanted to face the challenges that were about to be thrust upon us with a level head and open mind. The best we can do is stay informed, relevant, and prepared, combined with some forward thinking.
Chad Bishop: My first thoughts were: How do I keep my family safe? How do I keep my clients informed about the market? And most importantly, how will we stay positive? I believe positivity is contagious. I end every phone and video call with a positive quote and I make an effort to smile; even on a phone call, people can feel it.
2. How have you responded in moments where you feel discouraged?
Robin Walpert: I didn’t feel as much discouraging stress from personal situations as I did from absorbing panic from clients who were still trying to close deals. More than ever, my clients needed an experienced leader to build better bridges, solve sticky problems, and be a non-stop communicator. That’s a lot of what I do for a living! I love it. Eye on the prize.
EVG: Mindset is more critical now than ever. Discouragement hasn’t set in, but virtual exhaustion has. I’ve found myself becoming overwhelmed at times. With the overload of this new distanced communication style, I make sure to limit my screen exposure and really focus on what’s critical. Having a structure helped me stay on track.
CB: I try to regularly step back and take a few breaths. I leave my office to see the smiles on my boys’ faces as they play. And as a people person, I pick up the phone and call friends, family, and clients, not to talk business but to let them know they have someone on the other end of the line.
3. What personal practices have you adopted to foster positive thinking?
RW: In my personal life, I have been puzzling, cooking with my teenage sons, and nurturing a new garden we started from scratch — things I couldn’t have done before. These have been good lessons in patience when dealing with clients who need to freak out a little bit and rely on a sound and savvy ear. Growing my garden, my children, and my business right now requires more sunny smiles than storms and clouds.
CB: Every morning I write in my affirmation book and check my game board, which includes all active listings, pending deals, and current buyers. I end each day writing personal notes, a list of people to contact, and a priority list of activities that need to be done. Not being able to go to in-person meetings and do showings has allowed me to really scrub and update my database, which had been on my to-do list for a long time.
EVG: I increased communication with my colleagues in the Sotheby’s International Realty network, my clients, and anyone in my sphere overall. The core of my network is social media-based and I really leaned into that. I also strongly believe in approaching all aspects of life and work with an attitude of gratitude. This means an increased focus on service, staying informed, and staying connected with care.
4. What advice would you impart to other agents trying to remain positive?
RW: This too shall pass — after the ups and downs of 25 years in the real estate business, I know we’ll find ways to adapt. There is an opportunity here to practice, learn, and set ourselves up for the next phase. And I’ve also found a cocktail to be helpful.
CB: When times seem difficult, find that one thing that always makes you come back to center and smile. For some people, it could be a good cup of coffee, for others it may be working out, but find that one thing and do it every day. Also, right after doing it, make a handful of phone calls to your clients. You will see the best response because they will feel your investment on the other end of the phone. Your sphere of influence does want to hear from you, whether they want to tell you all their problems, talk to you about the market, or just to hear someone that is positive during these times.
EVG: Everything happens on a mental level before it manifests on a physical level. I always encourage everyone to have grace with themselves and engage in self-care practices that are meaningful to you. Prioritize honoring boundaries, take breaks. Energy grows where attention goes. When we show up as our best selves, we can best show up for others.
About Sotheby’s International Realty
Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories worldwide, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit www.sothebysrealty.com.
The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., both fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.
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