A few weeks back I had the honor and pleasure of presenting at the 2021 National Association of REALTORS® Rise & Shine Conference in San Diego. This was the first event I’d attended since the start of the pandemic, so it was a little surreal, but I’ve been going to this conference for the last 10 years and I wasn’t going to miss it. As they have every year before, NAR delivered a top tier experience.
The level of education that this event provides is truly unmatched, and I’m humbled to have been one of the presenters this year, but my favorite part is being able to attend as many classes as I can to bring the best of the conference back to our AIC Community.
So, without further ado here are my best takeaways from attending the 2021 NAR Conference:
Reels Are Here To Stay
Katie Lance covered some incredible topics in her presentation, How to Create Your 2022 Social Media Plan, but the point that really stuck with me was that vertical videos are here to stay!
Whether they’re called Reels, Stories, Shorts or something else – short form vertical video content is getting a ton of engagement across every platform, and has no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
One of the best parts of this particular video revolution is that you don’t necessarily have to appear in the video for it to be successful. Katie showed us how to create short videos from your everyday activities like gardening or spending time with your pets, without having to be on camera all the time. I think this is honestly a relief for many of us, and makes succeeding with this marketing technique much more attainable.
So, are you ready to start using Reels, Stories or Shorts in your business? Katie has some awesome social media resources for agents.
Social Selling Requires Habituation
The next tidbit that really struck a chord with me was in Marki Lemons Ryhal’s session, Social Selling Made Simple, HABITS to Change Your Life.
Marki covered why it’s so important for agents to connect with the 4.2 billion people on social media and more importantly those in your sphere, and then took a deep dive into the intentionality it takes to be successful when doing so.
I think a lot of people assume that gaining a following on social media just sort of happens naturally, along with your everyday life – but that couldn’t be further from the truth! As Marki outlined, selling socially takes organization, and a roadmap of at least 66 days to turn these practices into a successful habit.
Marki also covered a variety of great social media strategies you can incorporate into your new habit, but I wouldn’t even begin to do them justice by covering them here. You’ll just have to check out her content for yourself!
Understanding Gender Hits Home
One of the most thought provoking presentations at the event was Sarah Gustafson and Lisa Kenney’s, Reimagining Gender: Are REALTORS® Ready to Navigate this New Reality?
Lisa shared the story of how the presentation came to be – that she and her wife were in the process of selling their home and buying a new one, and although they loved the agent they were working with, one of the agent’s staff continued to address them both as “ladies”, even after being asked not to.
What followed was a fantastic discussion about gender and inclusion, within both our lives and our business practices. The audience shared some amazing personal stories, and you could tell the topic really hit home for so many. Beyond the personal aspect though, I think 2 points really stood out that apply to our business:
- A large percentage of millennials and Gen Z either identify as transgender or gender non-conforming (12% of millenials), or know someone who does (56% of Gen Z).
- A McKinsey study showed that over half of people surveyed chose not to take a job, or not to work with someone because they perceived the person or company as not being inclusive.
It became clear to the audience that being inclusive is a good business practice, and the best way to do that is by educating yourself on the topic and evolving towards inclusion.
I only wish more people from across the industry could have joined us, so I hope we see encore presentations on this topic in the future. If you’re looking for more information on the topic, or have questions, I would check out Lisa Kenney’s group Reimagine Gender.
Smart Homes Are Getting TOO Smart
My two favorite smart home nerds, Brandon Doyle and Craig Grant, gave an awesome update on the state of smart home technology in the industry with their presentation, Smart Homes Need Smarter Real Estate Professionals.
In many ways smart home technology can improve our lives, but as the technology matures and becomes more popular, agents are running into a number of challenges. I couldn’t hope to cover them all, but a few stood out as items that should be top of mind:
- When a home sells, agents need to take the lead on making sure any accounts for smart devices (and the devices themselves) get transferred to the new owners. Otherwise you could end up with your sellers changing the temperature in their old home months down the line. A great way to make sure you’re doing everything needed is to use a Smart Home Selling Checklist.
- Upgrading a home with smart devices can, but doesn’t necessarily, add value to the house. If a house has at least 3 different types of devices, you can advertise it as a “smart home” and that can definitely add value (things like lights, switches, thermostats, or home security). However, some of the more pricey smart devices like refrigerators, washers and dryers and other major appliances may not hold value the same way. Especially because most manufacturers stop supporting updates to the “smart” part of the device after 3-5 years.
As I mentioned, there was a ton of material covered in this presentation, so if you’re interested in more information on the topic, check out the Real Estate Technology Institute where Brandon, Craig and I are all instructors, or visit Brandon’s YouTube Channel at Home Tech Decisions.
Agent To Agent Referrals
Gary Rogers delivered an awesome presentation on Innovative Ways to Generate Agent to Agent Referrals.
This really resonated because it matches up with exactly what The Opportunity Report (more info on this below) showed as one of the top actions that agents can take this coming year. People are relocating either 15-30 miles away – or across the country – and you don’t want to lose out on those potential deals.
Gary outlined 2 main courses of action to make sure that doesn’t happen:
- Advertise to your current sphere of influence, that you can help them with their real estate needs, even if it’s outside of your area.
- Setup specific referral marketing targeted towards other agents, so it’s easy for them to send you business. This includes marketing specific to referrals like business cards, websites and much more.
Be on the lookout for more on this topic, as I’m hoping to bring in Gary Rogers himself to share his expertise with us.
Beyond the amazing experiences I had in other’s presentations, I also had the incredible honor of speaking in 2 sessions myself. The first was unveiling findings from The Opportunity Report survey, followed by a networking session on How To Pick the Best CRM, that I hosted with my good friend Craig Grant.
Opportunities Abound in 2022
For those who may have missed it – my friend Paula Monthofer and I have been working on a huge research project aimed at targeting the Top Opportunities in the Real Estate Industry according to Agents, Brokerages, and Associations in 2022.
The survey results have been phenomenal, and we were able to unearth themes for the available opportunities as well as the best actions agents can take to realize these opportunities.
I can’t say I’m surprised that marketing to your Sphere of Influence is one of the top opportunities for 2022, especially knowing about the high level of success agents have with this strategy using Service For Life! The true beauty of this opportunity is that it consistently works, even as the market changes around you.
I’m planning to host this as a webinar for our community so I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m happy to say there’s a TON of opportunity out there for agents! Be on the lookout for this webinar dropping the first few weeks of January.
It’s Never Been Easier to Pick the Best CRM
Last but certainly not least, Craig Grant and I had the privilege of hosting a networking session on How To Pick the Best CRM and no one even said “it’s the one you use!”
The key takeaway that developed from the conversation was that the “best” CRM could be different for each agent based on their own needs. The real trick is figuring out how your business matches up with the various CRM providers out there and weighing it against cost.
I could go in depth on all the match points we unearthed but I’ll make this easy for everyone. Craig, myself and the team at RETI have done a lot of the research for you and created a CRM Generator tool you can use to match up CRM feature sets with your business needs to find the best one for you. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the market for a CRM.
Can’t Wait To Do It Again
This year was packed with great takeaways but one stood out more than all the others. I missed my REALTOR friends SO MUCH!!
The conversations, insights and relationships are so important in what we do and I look forward to seeing everyone again in the future!