There is likely to be a very serious reduction in purchase activity for several months to come and we have made the difficult decision to place some of our team on furlough. It’s not something we have undertaken lightly.
But it is not all doom and gloom out there. I see many brokers turning the current situation to their advantage.
This is when our clients need us more than ever. We have started a programme of contacting our existing customers to talk about payment holidays and to make sure they have the protection they need.
Remortgages, especially towards the lower end of the loan to value (LTV) scale, are also filling some of the gap aided by increased use of automated valuation models (AVMs) and desktop valuations.
Lenders are still lending, and there are still clients to serve, and business to be done.
Tuned into tech
Like just almost every other business, we have also been making extensive use of Zoom and the like internally and externally.
I’ve been impressed by how quickly brokers have embraced technological solutions to the current situation. In fact, many seem to have been making effective use of video-conferencing for some time.
I continue to believe that face-to-face communication with clients is best, but video calls are certainly an acceptable substitute when that is not possible.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that the immediate crisis is only temporary, even if the end is not yet in sight.
Brokers, in common with businesses of all types, need to think how they will deal with a post-coronavirus world.
Downtime for training
To that end, there has never been a better time to focus on learning and development.
That’s why our team has been developing a range of new content so that brokers with a bit more time on their hands than usual can continue their training.
Crucially, we are also making this available to those currently on furlough so that they are in a strong position to come back ‘match fit’ once Covid-19 has been shown the door.
It makes sense to use any extra downtime to good effect. It is those who invest that time wisely now who will be best placed to succeed when the restrictions on movement are lifted.
Let’s just hope we can halt the spread of this virus and then all get back to something like normal life as soon as possible.