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Top Take-Aways from Inman Connect NYC 2015 #ICNY

Every January, one of my favorite trips of the year always involves going to Inman Connect NYC. There is nothing like Inman Connect and there is nothing like NYC. After a bit of weather craziness. #snowcapolypse, #juno, cancelled flights and blizzard conditions – I was thrilled to arrive in NYC safe and sound!

Landing on a very snowy and icy runway at JFK!

Landing on a very snowy and icy runway at JFK!

Inman is always different than so many other conferences because it’s not just about real estate – it’s about the connection between technology and real estate and it’s always thrilling to me to hear people outside the industry talk about branding, technology and trends that always seems to open the minds of the attendees.

But to me, the best part of Connect is truly the people I have the good fortune of connecting with.

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Many of my clients – all in one place at Inman Connect NYC!

This Connect, I was thrilled to be at the event with a handful of amazing clients. I smile as I type this – because I feel so lucky and honored to work with some amazing tech companies – large and small such as  DocuSign, SmartZip, Speaking Photo, Homekeepr, Balcony, and Deductr and others.

In addition to my clients – it is always a thrill to catch with old friends and make new connections. This Connect, I had a number of meetings planned – but this time instead of booking my every moment – I tried to spend more time with less people and really focus on great conversations with great people.

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A few of my favorite people and NYC moments!

As much as I love social media and technology – there is nothing like face-to-face time with people ‘in real life.” I always feel like these relationships are strengthened every few months when we meet up in person and are maintained because of the beauty that social media allows us to do!

Now that I am home and have had a few days to reflect, I reached out to people all across the industry to get their feedback and take-aways:

Suzanne_KLCSuzanne Roy, Director of Social Media & Industry Outreach realtor.com, @SuzRoy

My biggest takeaway was the consistent and very loud, unified voice of the importance of the REALTOR* in our industry.  This was heard throughout many sessions, but none more than the keynote given by Rupert Murdoch.  The cheers and resounding positive response to his vision for our industry (and that of realtor.com) was undeniable.  There’s renewed hope – one that we haven’t seen in a long time.

My other takeaway is that Gaggyl’s are the best thing since sliced bread!  Getting to meet and know people (more in-depth than a ‘how was your trip through the #unsnowpocolypse!’) you wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to is priceless.  These dinners accomplished that in spades.  I attended two Gaggyl dinners and got to know Chris Speicher – what an amazing man!  Talk about goal-oriented!   Highly recommend taking advantage of these dinners at your next Connect!

BretBret Calltharp, Business Development Manager for Metro Vancouver Properties (RE/MAX) @REMAXjedi

I think one theme of the week was that “independent” brokerages continue to gain momentum by pushing the boundaries of the traditional model.  You could feel the engagement with the professionals in attendance when Zach Schadbot, Raj Qsar, Brian Copeland and others spoke, and for good reason.  I think the big global brands (and the broker/owners within them) could and should consider adopting a few plays from those play books – it would be intriguing to see what could be done by a forward thinking brokerage that thinks like an indy but has the big brand behind them.

The most powerful take-away was the word “people”.  It’s fun to go to our brand conferences and network with other agents and professionals from within our umbrella; however, there’s so much to be learned at conferences like Real Estate Connect that brings together professionals from around the world who share a passion for the industry despite not sharing the same name on their signs.  The hallway chats, the “lobby con” as it were – those are the cherries on top of a week full of sundaes to me.

Sarah_KLCSarah Schnell Jones, Broker, Bamboo Realty, @SarahSSJones

The most successful people in real estate don’t come together and talk about deals and dollars. They talk about relationships, community, and how to help make the industry better for everyone. For any agents who think real estate is about deals and dollars, you’ve already lost.

Our belief is that if you build it, they will come. And by that, I mean a great corporate culture and the agents who crave it. But how do you scale corporate culture? I got some new ideas about how to develop a hiring checklist so prospective agents are measured against the traits of those agents who are most successful in our culture.

The better we tell our stories the better we want to live them. It isn’t the storytelling itself that makes us better; rather it’s the process of crafting a story we are proud to share that makes us better. To me this is the most profound and powerful part of storytelling.

AlexAlex Lange, Entrepreneur in Residence at Second Century Ventures, @AlexLangeNow

The more things change, the more they stay the same.   Conference attendees couldn’t help but have theories and concerns germane to recent acquisition events.   At the end of the day, they all revolve around the same basic human needs. Real estate practitioners need to remain relevant, they need to contribute, and they need some level of security regarding their clients, listings and related data.  I believe the vendors that authentically address these needs will be the most compelling.

There was more start-up activity than I’ve seen in years.   The REach® accelerator (disclosure: Katie is a REach mentor) is seeing more applications than ever before.  So many are focused on retaining and nurturing past clients.  Some are very clever, and I look forward to watching them grow.  What surprised me was to see few focused on agent productivity (prospect generation and more effective closing of listings) and even fewer in agent safety.  It’s true, it is always easier to leverage existing clients than to acquire new ones, and we rarely look inward and optimize our processes.  Massive success, however, requires a Parthenon rather than a single pillar approach.

Jacy_KLCJacy Riedmann, Vice President,  Amoura Productions @SocialMediaJacy

My favorite takeaways include David Butler, VP of innovation for Coke (@DavidRButler). He talked about how sometimes you need to design for growth and sometimes you need to design for agility. This really struck me at the heart of being anDavid Butler_KLCentrepreneur.

So often, we focus on getting to be the biggest but big isn’t necessarily better. The bigger you are, the harder it is to
implement new ideas and change. Designing for agility means allowing for the ability to try new products or ideas without taking huge risks or losing sight from your company’s vision.

I love that he poked fun at the idea of big businesses and disrupters being in the room together & learning together and told us to embrace it and to allow for healthy tension between competitors because that’s what breeds creativity. I can’t wait to grab his new book, “Design to grow. How Coca-Cola learned to combine Scale & Agility (and how you can too)”.

Sean_KLCSean Carpenter, Director of Training, Coldwell Banker Ohio @SeanCarp

Just like this business, Inman Connect is all about the people. The speakers, vendors and events are great but without theCarpArt_KLCamazing personalities & relationships, it would just be another real estate convention. The design created by Brad and the Inman team has really allowed for attendees to “connect” before, during and most importantly, after the event.

After hearing from all the “leaders” of Zillow (Spencer Rascoff), Realtor.com/Move (Rupert Murdoch) & Trulia (Pete
Flint), I’m more convinced that too many agents spend their time worrying about these advertising portals instead of focusing on their communities & clients. Flint said it best and I hopefully caught his message in this #CarpArt.

Linda_KLCLinda Hobkirk, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette @LindaHobkirk

I think one of the biggest takeaways – was Brokerages need to be more transparent to their agents. Brokers also need to hire for a culture, not just to put a warm body in the seat. Another was – implement, then revise. Get more hyper local – more charity driven – let the consumers know that we care.

Steve_KLCSteve Weiss, Broker/Owner, Coast County Brokers, @StevenWeiss

First and foremost and the most obvious…there were numerous individuals who were bound and determined to get to NYC regardless of weather challenges just to attend #ICNY. It seemed nothing was going to keep them from the event of the year.

 It’s refreshing to see that the independent brokerage is becoming a major player in the real estate business.  Many independents are developing programs and tools to allow their brokerages and agents to compete with the tools offered by the franchisee. In the not too distant past, it was suggested that a franchised broker first train a new agent before hitting the streets.  Based on what I have seen this past week, that is no longer the case. In addition to these tools, the independent brokerage seems to be setting up their office to have a more collaborative atmosphere than the typical franchised office.

Social media has become THE most effective way to communicate and conduct our business. But, there is absolutely no substitute for the human touch.

Susana_KLCSusana Murphy, CEO of ALANTE Real Estate, @susanamurphy

#1 takeaway: Realtors are still looking for the newest shinny bullet to propel their business to another level, Brokers are still looking for those realtors that understand the shinny bullet is called hard work. Recruiting has become more creative and personal, and matching individual core values becomes as important as talent and work eithic.

#2 takeaway: Social media ROI is real. There are brokerages across the country who are doing a really good job of making their brand presence known by putting out really great community content. Social media has really leveled the playing field when it comes to branding especially for the smaller, independent brokerages and it has helped company like Alante become known across the country – where in the past, that would have been very costly and much more difficult.

Chris_KLCChris Nichols, Managing Broker, Prudential Utah Elite Real Estate, @utahREpro

I am blown away at how we all came together to “Connect” (both the noun and the verb), despite the challenge of getting there. It speaks volumes of the type of people who lead our industry.

A general theme regarding technology: even though Connect is known as a high tech conference, a different theme surfaced for me. What the technology does is not as important as what you do with it. The concept of on-boarding really stuck out in my mind.

Barbara Corcoran and Rupert Murdoch both spoke of the importance or even the need for failure. Barbara said, “Everything good comes on the heels of failure.” And Rupert said, “Don’t be afraid of failure.” So many times we let the fear of failure prevent us from even trying something amazing.

Debra_KLCDebra Trappen, CEO and Founder, d11 consulting, @debra11

After being a Connect ambassador for over 20 events – this event solidified this for me: To reach ultimate success, it takes a village of collaborative thinkers and leaders who are willing to build something together, shine a light on others and not seek glory for themselves. Choose your tribe wisely; and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Rosemary_KLCRosemary Buerger, Broker Associate at ERA Strother and Real Estate, @rosebuerger

One of the biggest takeaways I had from Connect was all about going back to my grassroots and having a formula for customer service much like Valerie Garcia showed us in her Agent Reboot presentation. I feel like the idea of building our business as our own brand no matter where we hang our license is a great way to spend 2015.

I also reached out to a few people on Facebook for their quick ICNY take-aways, and here were some of my favorites!

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A big thank you to everyone who contributed to this post! If you were at Inman Connect, I’d love to hear your take-aways! Leave me a comment below or send me at tweet!

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