Another great Inman Connect is in the books and I am excited to present to you my annual wrap-up article. Every year, I reach out to a few industry friends to get their take on what Inman Connect is all about. Inman has become such a big conference that it’s impossible to “be everywhere!” I have loved compiling this post and I want to give a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who contributed!
First, I’d like to share a few of my take-aways. Grab your favorite beverage – get comfortable and let’s dive in!
I had such a blast at Inman Connect this year! It was an honor to give a new presentation and I loved all the feedback I received! I also SO loved reconnecting with so many dear friends throughout the week (especially during WomanUP!®)
One of the best parts about Inman Connect is truly connecting! I love hosting an annual dinner to bring together friends, colleagues, speakers, #GetSocialSmart Academy members, clients and more! This year it was really fun to bring this special group of people together for a memorable meal and awesome conversations. The magic in events is truly in bringing the online – offline!
One of the memorable moments from the week was walking through the Aria hotel and coming across these gorgeous flowers. Everyone was just walking right by – heads down looking at their phones. I had to literally stop and smell the roses – I loved having just a moment of serenity and beauty even within the craziness of Las Vegas.
This year my presentation was all about some of the amazing free tools readily available for Facebook and Instagram to help generate business, build better relationships with your clients and attract the prospects you want to work with! Click here to view my presentation slides and a few additional resources.
Above all – the best part of Connect is always the friendships and connections that happen over a few days. Here are just a few of my favorite people and moments from this past week!
I know I barely scratched the surface here which is why I am excited to share with you some additional take-aways. Here we go!
I think the biggest thing I noticed about Connect this year were the amount of conversations centered around iBuyers. Now we all know iBuyers are not new! They are investors! Just a systemized, streamlined way to bring investor offers to consumers. I do not believe that iBuyers are going to take over the industry. What I do know is that agents need to be aware of them, know how they work, and know how to advise their clients on the pros and cons.
One thing I did not like hearing over and over again, is that all consumers are so frustrated with their real estate experience. NONE of our clients say this, it isn’t even a topic of discussion whether it’s on the consultation or after it’s closed. Many, not all of the issues in our industry are the professionals that are serving these clients. We are our own worst enemy. We (meaning Realtors) are the ones that are making it easy for these other models to “take over”. One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard from Brian Buffini is “If the experience is better online, then they should go ONLINE”. We need to step up, we need to be better, we need to be the professionals we are licensed to be, and we need to show our value. Nordstroms isn’t failing because of online retail, Starbucks certainly isn’t closing up shops!!! WHY? Because they provide value and an experience. This is our opportunity as an industry to STEP UP!!!
My favorite quotes and thoughts:
Katie Lance: “It’s not about getting thousands of followers, it’s about getting the right followers”
Sue Pinky Benson: “Showcase what you know, and talk in a language they can understand”
Glenn Kellman: “Most technology doesn’t work. Consumers want advice and guidance”
Jason Frazier: Having a client tell you “I see you everywhere” That’s a compliment and means you are doing it right.
Chelsea Peitz and Marnie Blanco: “65% of people will take a great experience over a certain product or price.
Jennifer Marchetti: Where you begin and end as a person and where you begin and end as Realtor is your brand, there is no demarcation line. You are who you are always, it is your brand.
With so much attention on iBuyers heading into Inman Connect Las Vegas, I found it refreshing to hear many agents are incorporating these “offers” into their listing appointments. Why not be the agent presenting all available options to your clients? There will always be far more sellers interested in maximizing the bottom line, but a certain percentage will pay for certainty and convenience.
1. Jason Cassity preso: Anyone CAN and should be taking advantage of the swipe up feature in Instagram Stories and can do so with less than 10k followers by creating a minimally paid ad campaign within Facebook Ads Manager and selecting the “Instagram Story” placement option for as little as dollars per day!
2. Mike Delprete preso: With over 40% of potential home sellers in Arizona proactively seeking instant offers prior to listing their homes, iBuyers will continue to expand their footprint and agents who become “iBuyer aggregators” or agents who leverage iBuyer offers as one of the options to present to their sellers and work with the iBuyer platforms and white label this program as their own
3. Overall: We now build trust through technology and with outside industries and companies such as uber and amazon, our behaviors have changed which means our expectations have as well. The consumer expects to see and experience your personal brand on their terms and in their preferred formats and platforms. Industry has become irrelevant, but human behavior is not.
I wholeheartedly recognize we attract and ignite the conversations we are meant to be part of and enjoy. That said, it was fantastic to participate in so many conversations around the importance of nurturing emotional intelligence and self-care and how taking time to truly recharge and fill your soul tank was positively impacting businesses and personal lives across the globe. (Katie, oh how I loved your latest podcast, too! It was perfectly aligned with so many chats I had in Vegas.)
During my main session talk, I shared the importance of “surrounding yourself with champions”. This week’s moments with my magnificent connections made over the years at Connect reflected and represented every single word. Two new collaborations were born RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and I am excited to move forward with a sassy new venture that was inspired there, as well!
Last but not least, it was spectacular to see the WomanUP!® sessions packed with such a diverse, interested, passionate audience. We actually had people sitting on the floor – REBarCamp-style! The energy was electric and conversations about bringing sessions like this to several states were sparked. I am ever so grateful for each and every second there.
I started my Inman Connect week by attending the Thrive Marketing Workshop on Monday. When the moderators asked for a show of hands of who had never been to Connect before and 2/3rds of the room raised their hands, I knew the dynamic was going to be different in Las Vegas.
The speakers were fantastic as they led us through a fresh way to look at branding and fleshing out a customer avatar to hone our message and creating impactful visuals to carve a memorable message into the brains of potential clients.
The WomanUP! Track was a breath of refreshing air as women thought leaders expertly wove business insights and personal adventure and hardship into a valuable afternoon.
Inman Connect main stage gave me the birds eye view of the industry from an economic outlook, to landmark lawsuits and new technology trends that I am now sharing with the agents in Hawaii.
It was an exciting week that helped me actually launch some new business ideas right from the Starbucks near the convention hall!
One common denominator from the agents and marketers that spoke is that you have to be creative, different, and relationship driven to stand out. The average consumer can see up to 10,000 pieces of marketing per day and so doing the same thing as everyone else just isn’t going to cut it any longer. The Real Estate Industry is going through massive change in consumer attention and so having a cohesive narrative on why the local agent is important needs to be amplified. Lazy marketing will only help those that are looking to disrupt the traditional model.
My takeaways are –
1) While AI, bots and big data are getting smarter and deeper into our world of real estate, they have not yet been able to replace being human with engaging clients and making them feel like the experience they deserve.
2). Leveraging the power of predictive data to prioritize and leverage your database and sphere is huge. There’s money in your database right now and they are buying from other people!
3). Video has been talked about for the last 10 years as “the thing to do” and still so many don’t or won’t do!! It’s not too late to capitalize on good authentic video!
My final thought – let’s stop talking about the problems and lets start solving them!
I felt a lot more assertiveness from the “incumbent” real estate than I have from Connect’s past. Lots of lively discussions on how to strike back at the inherent weaknesses and limitations of the i-buyers, how to revitalize the traditional value proposition for agents and brokers, and how to persevere through the noise and hype of over-funded disruptors.
If I could sum up what Inman Connect Las Vegas 2019 was for me in one word, it would be… RELATIONSHIPS! I had the opportunity to meet some incredible new friends and strengthen bonds with old ones. Attending events like this and being able to surround myself with the top professionals in the industry to learn from, collaborate with, and build relationships with, is what I truly enjoy most.
1. Attendees truly value the content delivered at Connect. Why? Everyone showed up in the morning and I was positive the Vegas night life would put a damper on the AM sessions. I was very wrong… the Inman Connect tribe is stronger than ever!
2. You MUST take advantage of the opportunities at Connect by getting out there and making them happen! Walk up to the person you want to meet, introduce yourself and watch the magic happen! If you refuse to get out of your comfort zone you are missing the point and potential future business opportunities.
3. Scaleability is key. If your business exploded tomorrow would it be able to sustain given the systems you have set in place as of today? Sure you will need to make some changes along the way but if you don’t evaluate your scaleability today you’re at a huge disadvantage.
4. As always – Content is king. If you think you are boring and have nothing relevant to share please evaluate how you spent your time on social media over the last 48 hours. Who did you watch? Who caught your attention? Why? You are just as relevant and amazing as those people. Stop overthinking and remember there is an audience for everyone and everything!
I was reminded that we need to go narrow and deep. Niche, Niche, niche! The niche is often overlooked in the world of real estate, yet the most profitable companies, teams, and agents own their niche. As a speaker, I preach about the utilization of video. Video is my niche, and today, I need to decide if the video will be horizontal, vertical, square, forward-facing, rear-facing, live, or 360 just for starters. Consumers want to work with thought leaders, and one way to become a thought leader is to define your niche and own it.
As a first time Inman Connect attendee and first time panel speaker I have to say the Inman app was amazing to pre-plan what sessions I would attend and who I wanted to connect with. I was able to clearly plan out each day with purpose and intention (with a side of the unexpected…like meeting Molly Bloom, having an intimate dinner with Katie Lance and crew, chatting with Adam Contos – CEO of RE/MAX and attending a super cool speakeasy after party). I had heard for years that the hallway and lobby conversations at Inman were gold and I was not disappointed! I had so many great interactions with people I had never met before that were robust, educational and thoughtful. Takeaways from the sessions included how to stay relevant, don’t be afraid to try new technology, be open to new ideas, collaboration over competition, relationships are key, video is here to stay and podcasting is gaining major marketing traction. Engage, embrace changes in our industry and empower yourself to be the best agent you can be! Thank you Inman…what happened in Vegas WILL be implemented in Boca!
I experienced a shift this year at ICLV. Perhaps it was because I was representing myself and my own brand and didn’t have the limitations of speaking for another. Here’s what I witnessed:
1. So many women are stepping into their personal power. The energy of the WomanUP! sessions was palpable. Debra Trappen spoke at the general session and commanded the stage with presence, confidence and ease. She used her moment in the spotlight to lift up other women in the industry, including me! This gave me an AHA! when I realized the way we will affect change as women leaders is to link arms and help each other succeed–with action, not just emotional support. It is our time to truly support each other as we step into CEO, founder and leadership roles. When we do, we all win. That’s how we will create equaliTEA for the generations to come. It’s time.
2. Above all things that Inman offers, the community and connections are the most significant. I had numerous moments looking around the table of friends and colleagues and felt such immense Gratitude that these online and industry relationships have cultivated into such beautiful, loving and supportive friendships. This value cannot be understated and I’m eternally grateful to have a network of talent and wisdom surrounding me.
3. The word is finally breaking through. We live in an experience economy so the experience you create for your people is what matters most. It seems like the industry is finally waking up to this reality and is quickly assessing what this means and how to bake delight into their flow. I can help with this. 😉
For the first time in over 20 years Inman Connect moved from San Francisco to Las Vegas and I absolutely love it. The atmosphere was electric, speakers were on point and the attendees were ready to connect. I absolutely love story tellers and Molly Bloom’s story of being a felon one day to being invited to the Oscars the next was truly inspiring. I truly connected with her (I have never been a felon) but the initial fears of opening a new residential brokerage in one of the most competitive cities in the country to working hard and pushing through fears and surrounding yourself with the right people really hit home. Also, the new “lobbycon” at Aria was so great for connecting to so many people across the country. I truly had so many opportunities to meet new friends and connect with long time industry icons. Special thanks to Jessie Beaudoin with Call Action for the text “party” updates this year and kudos to Sara Sutachan for the amazing content and energy at the #womanup breakout & mixer.
I’ve been to nearly 50 real estate conferences in my 15 years in this industry and as a frequent conference-attendee, I heard a lot of the same messages updated with a few fresh ideas. I’ll admit that sometimes my mind started to wander as I thought to myself, “I’ve heard this before. I know this.” However, I caught myself and reframed it: “Sure, I’ve heard this before, but am I living it? Am I teaching this to agents in my marketplace? Are they hearing this message from me?” This helped me make the most of the messages the talented presenters shared.
Also – I heard many speakers touch on iBuyers and Amazon’s new partnership with Realogy. When we become fearful of unexpected changes brought by “disruptors,” it’s important to study the facts. What I learned is that there are fewer iBuyer transactions taking place than we may have thought; the sky is not falling; instant offers aren’t suitable for most seller’s situations; and agents don’t need to worry so much about “protecting themselves” from them. Instead of worrying about potentially losing future business to Amazon or iBuyers, agents may want to ask themselves, “Why SHOULD someone want to work with me?” and make a list of their unique value propositions. Remember to put on your “WIIFM” hat and make it all about your client’s experience. I think over-the-top customer service is going to come back in style as agents look at ways to demonstrate their value to potential clients.
Another great Inman Connect in the books! My biggest take-away this year – iBuyers – and what it really means. I believe most real estate agents have no idea what the term truly means. They think internet buyer but it’s not! Agents need to research and educate themselves on what an iBuyer is and how it will be affecting their local market. There was lots of chat about technology and the importance of having a system in place to handle all the information that is coming at us, whether it’s a CRM for our leads or the latest apps for marketing. What’s marketing you say ? Social Media for sure. Most importantly? Instagram and FB stories. This is a hot pot for building your relationships and eyeballs are going to these platforms fast and furious. If you’re not there and you ‘don’t get it’, it’s time to learn. Don’t forget to get your videos out there too! You need to be doing them, no matter how uncomfortable you are, they don’t need to be long, but just do it!
My major takeaways – 1. So many Vendors do not know how to pitch their product or effectively communicate the problem they’re solving for. A pitch isn’t a demo. Demos take time & the pitch should be short & succinct.
2. Some of the products I LOVED:
- DashCMA – a new CMA product – sexy, IDX, simple.
- Kohab- a beautiful, interactive IDX search product to improve on the MLS search by managing a clients communication and search during the pre-contract phase of a transaction. They move fast and are building in checklists and the product is pretty.
- Clozio- an end to end transaction management system that can be used as is or customized to work with your process. Simple. User friendly.
- Rela HQ – a gorgeous, mobile friendly single property websites with built in social sharing, Facebook ads tools & marketing pieces for a one stop shop for property marketing.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! If you were at Inman Connect Vegas this year, what were your big take-aways? Let me know over on this post >>