Our 2020 rennie presidents Reflect on How They Pivoted Their Business During the Pandemic

Our 2020 rennie presidents club is comprised of eight rennie advisors who achieved the highest in sales excellence within our brokerage. The immense leadership and mentorship they bring to our brokerage and advisor team is invaluable and contributes to the perpetual learning and growth environment we nurture here at rennie.

The past year has been transformed by Covid in unprecedented ways, including the effect it has had on the housing market and the real estate industry as a whole. Our rennie presidents worked tirelessly to adapt to the ever-evolving "new normal" while ensuring their clients and business needs were met with unwavering perseverance and resilience that ultimately led them to achieve an outstanding career accomplishment.

We asked our rennie presidents to reflect on how they pivoted their business during the pandemic? How did they step up to the challenge? How did they make their clients feel "safe" in an uncertain time? Here they share their insight with us.

On more than a dwelling
Brandan Price: Home has become more important than ever as it brings everyone under the same roof a sense of safety and security. I think we can all concur that the intangible value of a home has been made crystal clear during a pandemic. With that said, it is my responsibility to help my clients find that place to call home, to provide that sense of safety.

On adapting business quickly
Derek Kai: The pandemic has meant adapting quickly to new ways of conducting business. It has meant using technology to connect with clients through more virtual experiences whether it be Zoom meetings, signing documents online, or doing virtual tours using Matterport. It also meant more phone calls or social distanced meetings rather than everyone driving in the same car during a buyers-tour. It really comes down to adjusting, fine-tuning, and being open to change. It has really shown me how imperative it is to be able to adapt quickly and how necessary it is to be proactive rather than reactive to sustain long-term success in any business. 

On a people-first business
Danny Chow: I don't consider my job in real estate as a sales job, I consider it very much a people relationships job. Perhaps because of this approach, it doesn't necessarily feel like I've had to pivot my business too much (besides the Covid-related protocols) but the fundamentals have not changed for me, which is to make clients feel heard, seen, and understood while helping them achieve their real estate goals. 

Salina Kai: During these extraordinary times I find a lot of my clients' emotions are running high. Whether a client wants to buy before they sell or if they want to write a subject-free offer in this heated market, my job is to educate, prepare, and guide my clients to make the best possible decision they can make. 

On overcoming fear
Hanson Lu: Understandably, most of my clients are fearful of making big life changes like moving homes. However, seeing how many of them have acclimated to buying and selling homes in a pandemic, I feel a deep joy for them. I am so proud of my clients for their perseverance and open-mindedness in taking on this challenge. As a result, they got to move forward with their goals. It’s normal to feel hesitation about making a big change but step by step, we will get there together. 

On leading by example
Simon Lai: As a real estate advisor, your clients look to you to be their support as someone to guide them through the market. You need to stay positive, to keep them involved, engaged, data-driven and focused on what is important while ignoring the noise. It is crucial to not let your clients feel like they are left behind in a heated market like the one we are currently experiencing. 

On seeing the journey through 
Salina Kai: The action of purchasing or selling a home innately comes with a wide range of emotion which can be very stressful for the client. The best way to navigate this stress is to walk my clients through the worst-case scenarios to ensure they're making an informed decision and that they are aware of the risks involved. As an advisor, I find it very rewarding to be able to support and guide my clients through this stress and having it all work out at the end. Whether the client journey takes one month or one year, my commitment to them is to see it through. 

On shifting housing needs
Derek Kai: Throughout the pandemic, more people have spent more time at home than ever before. As a result, I have observed a dramatic shift in my clients' desire for more space. For the first time in my 16-year career, 500 square feet one-bedroom homes are no longer the most sought-after product. The reality of working from home has made my clients realize they want dedicated office space and rooms with separation. When you spend all your time at home or if you are living with somebody else, things that were avoidable before, are no longer easily dismissed.  

On always be communicating
Brandon Blue: My motto is "always be communicating". Communication builds relationships. People hire you because they like you. They want you to reach out and feel a sense of connection and warmth when you chat, especially during these Covid times. Rather than cold calling people that don’t want to talk to you, call up old clients; they are your best source of repeat business and referrals. And even better yet, you’ll develop stronger friendships along the way.

On knowing when to disconnect
Calvin Kan: In real estate, the challenge for Realtors is to disconnect from it. It's one thing to turn off your phone and another to turn off mentally. With so much happening in a single day, ranging from positive wins to stressful complex circumstances, it's easy to be caught up in the roller coaster of emotions and situations and lose a steady line of sight. Over the years, I've become better at disconnecting with things that are out of my control, such as losing out on an offer or trying to rationalize decisions that were not mine to make. It's best to accept things quickly, so you're able to move forward and focus on your next move instead.  

On something to look forward to
Simon Lai: There has been pressure coming from all angles this past year. Without being able to take time off, it can feel like there's no way to relieve that pressure or reset. I look forward to the day we can all safely travel again. I'd like to take my 1-year-old daughter to enjoy all the simple things like walking around a mall, eating at restaurants, and enjoying our city. And when we’re ready, to explore another country and seeing the world through her eyes.

On serving with pride
Calvin Kan: Needless to say, a lot of people have been affected negatively during the pandemic and endured hard losses. Every day that I get to work together with my clients, I feel grateful for the opportunity. It's important for me to conduct myself with as much respect for my clients and industry as possible because we are working in a time where not everyone has the privilege to.

On a deep sense of obligation 
Brandan Price: An effect of the pandemic is that it has made me more nimble in my business. More than ever, I find myself thinking on the fly for new and creative solutions to service my clients and to provide them a safe and comfortable environment to experience their real estate journey. I feel a deep sense of obligation to the many families who rely on me to help them navigate the current climate and what may be upon us in the years to come.

On human resilience 
Danny Chow: Our profession in real estate will always be both, directly and indirectly, connected to world events, such as Covid-19. And in each unprecedented experience, we are forced to question the sustainability of our profession and along with it, our livelihood. In the case of a tragic global event, where many people lose their jobs and income as a result, it will inevitably have a severe impact on the housing market. Each time it is very scary and the uncertainty feels endless. But in my 25 years in the business, one thing I have observed time and again is that usually 3-6 months after any major event, after people have had some time to reflect, to process their new reality, they settle down again and adapt, they move forward. Human resilience.

Congratulations to our 2020 rennie presidents: Brandan Price, Brandon Blue, Calvin Kan, Danny Chow, Derek Kai, Hanson Lu, Salina Kai, and Simon Lai.

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