“What people want more than anything is not an automated response,” Gisele Ugarte said during Day One of Inman Connect New York.

Gisele Ugarte wasn’t sure she’d make it to her Inman Connect New York appearance.

During her flight to New York, her plane encountered some of the worst turbulence she’d ever experienced, even after taking 84 flights during 2023.

“At one point I look to my right and I am holding hands with the person next to me,” she told the audience at the Midtown Hilton on Tuesday morning. “I do not know the person next to me.”

While the experience was scary, Ugarte said there was one thing the pilot did that soothed her nerves: communicate effectively. Before the flight took off, he informed passengers over the plane speaker that they would encounter turbulence, but not to worry — he and his partner had been flying through it all week long and the safest way was to fly right through it.

Their communication didn’t stop there. The passengers received a warning that things were about to get bumpy about 20 minutes before they hit the patch of turbulence and another one just as they were encountering it.

For Ugarte, the episode illustrated the perfect method of communicating with your client base through a difficult period because it was genuine in acknowledging people’s fears.

“What people want more than anything is not an automated response; they want to know that you are going to take care of your people,” she said.

With more and more real estate agents using AI to handle their content and marketing, Ugarte is worried their communications will lose the human touch that is essential for effective marketing — especially when people are faced with a challenging housing market.

“When you build trust, it’s not because you’re with someone when everything is smooth and lovely and wonderful,” she said. “It’s usually because you’ve gone through some stuff together.”

The importance of human touch 

Ugarte challenged Inman attendees to ask themselves one simple question when making a social media post: “Would this post make sense if someone else made it?”

If the answer is yes, your strategy needs to be revised, and you need to make an effort to personalize your content, she argued.

To do this, she stressed the importance of agents making content that shows their face and their voice, even if their voice only comes through in their written captions.

“You have to make it your own,” she said. “I need to have audio, visual and context. Even if you do have ChatGPT as a starting prompt — no, you’re not just going to copy and paste that. No, you’re not just going to automate that. I want you to add emotion and expression and your own personality into that caption.”

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