Inman Connect NYC is always one of my favorite go-to real estate events. It has always held a spot that is near and dear to me in my heart! This was the 9th year attending Inman Connect NYC and it may have been one of the coldest on record!
The weather in January is always a surprise each year – but this year, the single digits were one to remember. I also brought along a little “friend” with me for this trip – my youngest son was sad when I was leaving for NYC so he loaned me “Koku” his stuffed animal monkey. Well, Koku went on a lot of adventures in NYC at Inman – that’s what we do as moms, right?!
Besides the weather and Koku – let’s get down to business! What I always love about Inman are the unique and diverse speakers they bring to the stage as well as many industry veterans. However, one of the main reasons I love Connect each and every year are truly the connections I have made over the years.
I can safely say that I have made some of my dearest friends and colleagues through Inman events over the years. Inman has also had a huge impact on our business and the clients we work with. I can look back at so many great brokerages and franchises we have worked with – and so many of those connections started at an Inman event.
Recently, I held my weekly #CoffeeWithKatie Facebook Live for our #GetSocialSmart Academy members in our private Facebook group about my impression of Inman this year. Here are some of the things I shared (in no particular order):
- Change is coming (and fast!) I am so happy I stayed through Friday to watch Capital Connect. It has become a favorite part of my week to hear from top industry executives and leaders outside our industry about where the money is coming from and where it is going. One of my favorite sessions was from Nisha Dua from BBG Ventures who talked about the value of investing in women-founded companies!
- Every great brand has a story. I was extremely excited to debut my new keynote presentation
this year at Inman Connect all about the power of social media and storytelling and I was blown away at the feedback I received as well as how often storytelling was referenced throughout the event. With the inordinate amount of noise on social media – one of the big ways agents and brokers are truly going to stand out is through storytelling. Here’s a link to my slides as well as some of my notes and links I shared onstage.
- Real estate is and always will be a relationship business. This is not earth-shattering by any means but it’s always so gratifying to be around “my people” at Inman. The people who truly are heart-centered when it comes to why they love this industry and why they are in it. When I am at Inman each year I intentionally host a few small get-togethers and this year I had such a blast connecting with people from different places geographically and different places within the industry. Also, for the third year in a row I helped to organize a small group to take in a Broadway show. This year we saw ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and it was unbelievably moving – one of the best shows I’ve seen hands down!
- Every great brand has a story. I was extremely excited to debut my new keynote presentation
- Do less of what doesn’t matter and be willing to fail! These two themes stuck out to me this week. There is a lot of noise and being able to filter out what does not matter and say ‘no’ to more things – which ultimately opens you up to say ‘yes’ to the right things is huge. Also, be willing to fail and to put yourself out there. The people who are making big things happen don’t have it altogether – but they are moving forward and taking action versus standing on the sidelines.
- Audio is huge! This was a big take-away for me especially as we get ready to launch our podcast soon! Podcasting was a huge topic – I feel like every third person I talked to at Inman was talking about podcasting. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but audio content seems to be a big opportunity including podcasting and things like Alexa flash briefings. It will be interesting to see which things stick and what perhaps flops.
- There are still big, big opportunities for video content. I think every Inman I have ever been to there has been a conversation about video. YouTube is a huge opportunity for agents and brokers as well as Facebook video and Instagram Stories. Video is all about the ‘long-game’ and being willing to put yourself out there, consistently, over the course of time. This really reinforced my beliefs in the power of video especially when I think about our #GetSocialSmart show on YouTube and how after two years – the traction we are receiving from that as well as from doubling down on our Instagram Stories content.
My full presentation: Attracting Your Dream Client Using Social Media and Storytelling:
Here are some additional take-aways from some of my dear friends, colleagues, ambassadors and respected industry peers. Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage – these take-aways are well-worth the read!
Alyssa Hellman, Founder, Compass South @AVHellman
Yes, change is happening and it’s happening fast but it is the agents that are doubling down on their service, their expertise, and their relationships that are continuing to win. Models will evolve, but there is always room for great agents.
Annette Anthony, VP Technology Engagement, EXIT Realty Corp. Internationa.l @AnnetteAnthony
There were so many great take-aways! I enjoyed hearing from Ryan Serhant (Million Dollar Agent) who says you need two things- structure and discipline. Without the two you can’t manage goals. He focuses daily on three things he focuses his time on – Finder, Keeper & Doer.
- Finder is the prospecting hour where he’s looking for new business
- Keeper is where he figures out how he’s going to spend his money on the business activities that make him business
- Doer is the time where he’s spending actually implementing what he wants to accomplish
Another big take-away has to do with video. Saying that video is not relevant in “your area” is just an excuse to not do it. There’s no shortage of content either- If you want to make your content interesting- be interested. And oh by the way, the content should not be about you!
Billy Ekofo, Vice President, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World @BillyEkofo
Take away from Inman this year: Changes should be embraced. It shouldn’t be feared, but it should be seen as an opportunity – to grow, to learn, to be better.
Christine George, President Marketing and Business Development, Leading Edge, @christinecarlo
The insights from leaders and the ideas from implementors were worth the price of admission, but it was connecting with old friends and meeting new ones that always makes Inman Connect the best real estate conference of the year.
Debra Trappen, Empowerment Consultant , Speaker, Educator, d11, @debra11
It will come as no surprise that my favorite thing about ICNY this year was the lineup of diverse voices! Did you know 206 of the 410 speakers were women this year? We have come a long way and I’m so thrilled. Six years ago, I wrote a post about ICNY and the clear gender gap that existed on stage. I also talked specifically about the fact there were ZERO women in the New Kids On The Block session that year. Fast forward to this year, one of my dearest friends, Molly McKinley, was ON the NKOTB stage sharing her vision and newly launched
company, Intentionaliteas. The WomanUP!® movement is continuing to gain momentum, as well. Our meetUP of 75+ collaborative, connected, driven women and the bold men who support them in leadership filled my soul tank, as did the 11 interviews we filmed with powerful brokerage owners and executive leaders for the upcoming #IAmWomanUP series! Thanks to Brad Inman, Katie Gaudu, and the entire team at Inman who created another fabulous experience for us all. Special thanks to YOU, Katie Lance, for inviting me to be part of this amazing framily – all those years ago.
Jacy Riedmann, Vice President, Amoura Productions, @socialmediajacy
One of my favorite quick tips this year actually came during lunch with friends! We were discussing how email has become so inundated by canned spam email newsletters and one of the gals suggested we all pull out our phones and search for “unsubscribe” as it will likely cull all the newsletter emails and advertisers’ spam! I keep pretty strong email filters so now all emails containing “unsubscribe” go into a special filtered folder. You can set up these filters with most email providers or by using the popular IFTTT app.
Judy Weiniger, Broker/Owner, Weiniger Group @judyweiniger
Large industry events like Inman Connect can be a challenge for attendees, with so many ideas, ideologies, new technologies, sales pitches, success stories on stage. It can be overwhelming and derail our focus on the initiatives we are implementing. I believe we shouldn’t obsess over what’s supposedly coming tomorrow, but look around with curiosity, and stay true to how you want to work and what your business is all about.
I enjoyed learning from fellow panel-mates Katie Clancy and Richard McDonough on how they embrace their love for their community and how that filters into content development. Definitely follow both of them! They videos and commitment to their communities is a beautiful thing to watch. Honest care for your community and consistency of execution are the keys to success in community marketing.
I really enjoyed the Google talk. I am going to be spending more time and attention and money here in 2019. Check out “Google my business”. I was surprised when I got home after Inman and went on to look at it, It looked surprisingly like Facebook. After all this time, it seems like they are finally getting it right and leveraging the power of Google-juice and finally ditching their failed Google+ platform.
Katie Clancy, Realtor/CEO at The Cape House, William Raveis Real Estate, @TheCapeHouse
Teams are not mini brokerages; they are extensions of the team lead. Brokerages have small margins, and their success is tightly linked to recruitment and volume. At their essence teams are different from brokerages so they should stop trying to act like brokerages. Teams have generous margins so they don’t need to chase volume like brokerages. They should be focusing on quality of service, which will feed the driver of a team’s success, which is listings
Lee Arnold, President/Broker, Benchmark Properties @benchmarksocal
From the Indie Broker Summit: I enjoyed having a bunch of like-minded colleagues in the same room who were all eager to learn, share and be vulnerable. I was pleased to hear Ryan Serhants talk and find out that just because he is on TV and an author now, he still struggles with the same challenges we all face everyday. And the connections! Probably the most valuable part of ICNY is the amount of networking, sharing and collaboration that is done at dinners, shows, cocktail hours and elevator rides.
Lee Adkins, Business Development at Amplified Solutions @adkinsRE
I felt a strong spirit of collaboration this year at ICNY – from industry execs to solo agents. It feels like people are more ready than ever to work together to make our industry stronger. I really enjoyed the discourse in the panels and was excited to see some new moderators who were really talented at leading the conversation and going deeper on key points. It was also great to see more women on stage than ever! Another highlight was Capital Connect and some of the FinTech conversations. Ultimately, it’s still about the people. The new people you meet, seeing old friends and catching up and hearing new voices from the real estate industry and other related industries.
Marci James, Social Outreach Director, realtor.com®, @marcijames
We are in the midst of a huge real estate industry transformation. Technology is transforming the way consumers search for homes, get a mortgage and gather information. While this change is happening faster than many of us anticipated, the process of buying a home remains complicated!
New players have entered the market looking to leverage technology and disrupt the industry, but there is still a huge opportunity for traditional brokerages to help people with one of the largest and most important decisions they make. Real estate is a very personal and emotionally fueled business. For most of us, home is everything. It’s a part of the fabric of our lives; it’s where we put down roots and build memories with the people who matter most. Traditional brokers and agents must lean into their strengths! Use technology that shortens and simplifies the process, and focus (the time you save) on building trust, providing local expertise, lending emotional support, and strengthening relationships.
Melissa Salazar, Realtor, Royal La Page @Melissa_RE
I had four big take-aways at Inman. First from Katie Lance, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” I’m already asking myself this in order to improve my business or reminding myself on those tough days to just to keep moving forward. Ryan Serhant, “I will outwork you with endurance. Opportunity is everywhere.” His enthusiasm was contagious. What he said has giving me a boost of energy and strengthen my discipline in my routine. Ryan Gorman, “Challenge your own thoughts and assumptions about your business. Do a lot less of what doesn’t matter.” This is a good reminder to about our industry. Billy Efoko, “When you are accountable to your clients, you are accountable to yourself.” This is an excellent perspective to keep in mind at all times.
My biggest takeaway for ICNY19 was the shifting tide toward finding shared value. As an industry in the throes of disruption, agents and brokers need to better connect and serve their clients. Companies that help tackle the relationship management challenge such as First.io and Contactually are well positioned to fill this void. Alignment with customer values and beliefs are critical to create those ever important memorable moments.
Nikki Beauchamp, Global Real Estate Advisor with Engel & Völkers, @nikkibeauchamp
While ostensibly Inman Connect is a conference that focuses on technology and marketing in the real estate industry – there was a continued undercurrent of a return to fundamentals of real estate and business. Some of the most impactful sessions for me were the non real estate specific sessions – particularly the professors who spoke on emotional intelligence. There continues to be an abundance of conversation that seems to spark the fear of being replaced by an algorithm or a machine. But at the end of the day, the service that a real estate advisor can provide can be enhanced in the way that technology can facilitate certain aspects of the transaction enabling agents to provide an elevated level of service – at all price points.
For those who were not present for Capital Connect and need a deeper understanding of the iBuyer phenomenon, Mike DelPrete is a must read – learned more in those ten minutes than the sky is falling articles and comments online. Also, I took away the increased importance of video and audio – Dustin Brohm’s thoughts on podcasting made it more approachable to tackle. Nate Bowling’s talk is one to listen to no matter what ones leanings are – the message of being an involved member of one’s community is one to take and implement instantly
Peter Brewer, Chairman of the Board, The REIQ @thatpeterbrewer
I had two big take-aways this year. One, plugging AI into a business won’t solve a businesses problems. The business and people in it need to be robot ready.The people need to be attitudinally ready from top to bottom, and ultimately the bot or ai can only take you so far. A motivated client-focused person has to actually give a shit about serving the customer. And that’s always been the industry problem. Two, probably the most important one – it’s not about us! It’s always about the customer. Your content, your communication, the experience should always be about the customer. Put the ego and the ‘me-me-me’ B.S. away. Put on some socks, and make it about the customer.
Sean Carpenter, Realtor, Coldwell Banker @SeanCarp
I say it all the time but as much as the real estate industry (and world) change from year to year, the one thing that doesn’t is the importance of the relationships this industry helps to develop. Inman Connect is my annual opportunity to deepen many of those relationships I have formed over the years and create new ones with people I’ve never met. It’s funny because as the market to shift, no one really feels 100% where it will go, but one thing was loud and clear across the main stage, tracks, side-sessions and hallway conversations; the basics of building relationships, solving problems, and having fun will never go out of style if you want to succeed in your career.
It drives me crazy how people come back to the cliche “It’s time to get back to basics.” I always want to ask them, “If the basics work so well, why do we need to “get back” to them? Why don’t we just focus on the basics every day?” How did the Egyptians build the pyramids? One block at a time, right? So wouldn’t it make sense that we should focus on building our business one relationship at a time?
Shannon Milligan, Associate Broker/REALTOR at RVA Home Team powered by EXP Realty @RVAHomeTeam
The main focus for 2019 and beyond needs to be on customer experiences, not merely customer service, and providing local living information to the public. Podcasting, Alexa voice, and video will continue to move to the forefront and we, as agents, need to embrace these formats to stay relevant.
Susan Lewis, Director Of Learning And Development, LAER Realty Partners, @susanlewis
There were so many great take-aways starting with Brad Inman’s welcome session where he talked about Super Nova – the explosion of the old ways of doing business. Serve your agents by leading them.Be good – not greedy – and you will have customers for life.
Another one of my big take-aways was around the presentation on ‘Emotional Intelligence’ fromM arc Brackett, Founding Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence- so fascinating! His research focuses on the role of emotions in decision making, relationships, creativity and performance. How do people hope to feel when they are working with you? re you creating an atmosphere where people are appreciated? Emotions influence every choice we make.
Tiffany McQuaid, President at McQuaid & Company Real Estate Services @TiffanyMcQuaid
Here are some of my thoughts from CEO Connect at Carnegie Hall:
“There are two kinds of music, the good and the bad, I play the good kind…” Louis Armstrong. In our current ‘real estate world; where companies are seemingly more transparent in their goals, plans and structures, this hit me as a true defining moment and it came from a statement made by the Carnegie Hall Orchestra Conductor, “We cannot cut costs in music and expect the same quality, this level shapes the community and raises the quality standard overall.”
You have the right to decide what level of quality you want to conduct your business, are you going to do it in a way that raises the standard of the industry, or not… Let’s all play “kind and good” to orchestrate and deliver a higher quality!
Tara Christianson, Digital Strategist, Tech with TLC @techwithTLC
Do you know and understand your client’s complete journey? In Google’s self-described “Age of Assistance”, focusing on the whole journey – and being there, both online and offline for them every step of the way – is more important than any current focus on last-click attribution. For your continued online success, you need to: Understand all the touchpoints of your clients’ journeys, what earning customers really costs along the way, and what value to assign those clients coming through. I forget who said this, but I liked this quote in the agent of brokerages and companies trying to outdo each other with the number of tools they provide their agents: “Providing services instead of tools can change the rate of your agent adoption in a positive trend. #toolfatigue” More and more, it seems that owners and agents alike are searching for a turnkey solution (all-in-one package, simplified and stripped down to agents’ needs) instead of having to piecemeal solutions together. How do we get it all done in an on-demand society? By understanding and embracing the roles AI and machine learning can play in our real estate businesses, we can better exploit their services to the betterment of our businesses.
Whew, those were some great take-aways! A big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to this article and a big thank you to Brad Inman and the entire Inman team for putting on another first-class event! Were you at ICNY? I’d love your take-aways – send me a tweet or message me over on Instagram!
P.S. If you made it this far and if you are a regular visitor to our site, you may have noticed things look a little different. Well, also during ICNY this year, we launched our NEW site! We are still working out a few of the bugs #nopressure 🙂 but I’d love to hear your thoughts on our site’s new look and feel – click around, let us know what you think! Feel free to email me directly email@example.com – thank you!