2020 NAR Conference Takeaways

By Alex Camelio, CEO - Posted on
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Last Updated on December 9, 2021

For 10 years I’ve had the amazing opportunity to attend the NAR conference and it has always been a top notch event. In other years I have taught for WCR or sat on tech panels that various NAR committees would bring in, but this year I had the amazing honor of moderating one of the Spotlight Sponsored Panels: Zero to 60: Surviving and Thriving in Your First 5 Years in Real Estate.

I was a little nervous about how everything would work out with an all-digital event this year, but I can tell you first hand that NAR did not disappoint – in fact, they blew it out of the water. Just like all of the previous years, NAR put on one of, if not the best conferences of the year. It was jam packed with incredible presentations, and even more takeaways from some of the top producers and coaches in the industry… and I’m here to bring you all of my top takeaways from the event that you can use in your business today.

Brian Buffini – Opening Keynote

The conference kicked off with a great opening session by industry titan Brian Buffini. He covered a lot of interesting topics but the one that stuck with me was his note about some of the impending changes coming to the market. In a lot of ways the residential market follows the rental market for population migrations, and this year has seen some big swings.

Pointing to information about the change in rental prices, he noted that people seem to be moving out of cities for more rural areas – or even smaller cities. He then highlighted some of the cities where rents increased or fell, which gave a great perspective on what to look out for as the market shifts.

Rents went up -> Memphis, Phoenix, Riverside, Indianapolis, Columbus

Rents fell -> New York City, San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, Washington D.C.

I’ve also seen the change of address statistics that the USPS is reporting, which makes another case for exactly what Buffini is talking about. If relocation hasn’t been a big part of your business thus far, it might be time to start thinking more about it.

Marki Lemons-Rhyal – Video Strategy to Secure Real Estate Leads Quickly

If you don’t already know who Marki is – you probably should. She is an outstanding agent in Chicago, an internationally renowned speaker, and I’m honored to call her a friend. As always, Marki brought an incredible energy to her presentation – and even better takeaways for the class.

The session was so jam packed with valuable information that I couldn’t hope to recap all of it here. However, I do want to bring you at least 1 big takeaway including a tool she recommended.

Marki shared with the audience that if they want to take video seriously – and really do it, that’s going to take consistency which means at least 1 video a day. It can be as simple and quick as a Facebook Story or TikTok video, or more in depth, but you need to be publishing content at that kind of rate to really see explosive growth. 

Marki then went on to share a tool that helps you build your video calendar by giving you ideas for content based on daily holidays (among others). Definitely worth checking out -> https://wave.video/calendar.

Hassan Riggs – How to Build Wealth from your Existing Database

The next takeaway came from an amazing entrepreneur, Forbes author and friend, Hassan Riggs. His session covered an effective strategy for using text messaging to immediately follow up with a cold lead or reactivate a list of buyer leads that you may not have followed up with in a while. What he outlined is a great strategy for processing through a lot of cold leads. At AIC we tend to focus on small, warm lists, but that doesn’t mean cold leads can’t work as well.

What was really interesting to me was the top performing text and time to send it, because it’s a little different from what we might assume. He showed us how over millions of texts that were sent, the best performing text is “How many bedrooms are you looking for?”-  when it’s sent between 11am and 2pm.

The reason this text performs so well is that it’s impersonal and the answer doesn’t require a lot of thought. If your text requires a thoughtful response, even those with the best intentions of responding may get distracted in the meantime. Furthermore, if the question is personal in nature, the recipient will often put up their guard and not respond. That’s why the perfect balance is a question like Hassan showed us – “How many bedrooms are you looking for?”

My Sessions

While the sessions from all of the speakers were great, I’d like to take a moment and mention some of the sessions I was involved with and the great takeaways shared by successful agents from across the country. As I mentioned earlier, I had the amazing honor of moderating one of the featured sessions, but I also had the opportunity to moderate 3 roundtables where agents brainstormed and collaborated.


All 3 roundtable discussions centered on hosting digital events for your clients using engaged Facebook groups. As usual, I was thoroughly impressed by all of the ideas that various agents brought to the table. 

Agents were either successfully running, or had ideas to run Facebook groups for:

  • Client Appreciation Parties
  • Holiday Parties
  • Virtual Bingo (or other games like scattergories)
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Neighborhood/City Food Group
  • School Update Groups

… and the list goes on. These are just a few ideas for you so you don’t totally miss out on the conference. What are some of your ideas? Add them to the comments below! 

0-60 Session

Last but certainly not least, I’d like to share some of the amazing insights from the agents I had the opportunity to interview in the featured session.  These are all agents who have not only gotten their careers off the ground but built consistent practices in under 5 years. There were so many great takeaways from this panel it’s impossible to include them all, so I’ll share my #1 “AHA” moment from each.

Nicolette Mascari shared a story from her first 6-9 months in the business where colleagues would continually tell her to be patient before she came to the realization that “patience is not a virtue in real estate.” She went on to explain that she knew she needed to provide for her family and didn’t have time to just wait around for business – so she forgot about being “patient” and went out to hustle and drive business.

Karissa Thompson was adamant that finding the right mentors has had the biggest impact on her career and highly suggested that everyone have at least one, if not multiple. She went on to mention that getting involved with local, state and national associations has been a great source of mentorship for her, especially within all of the education they provide. (I’m planning on doing a follow up on this topic, so stay tuned.)

Jairo Rodriguez spoke eloquently about what to do if you feel like you hit a plateau in your business… but I’ll boil it down to 5 words: “Do what works for you.” It might seem simple, but it requires diligent record keeping to understand what works, and a laser-like focus to not get distracted by all the shiny pennies. So, if you feel like you’re hitting a plateau, take a second to reassess and see if you’re doing the things you know work.

Another Conference in the Books

While these takeaways give you a little tidbit from the event, I don’t feel like they do justice to the amount of outstanding information and insights that come out of the NAR conference. If you haven’t attended before, I would mark this in your calendar for next year and make it a priority to be there. Or, if you’re unable to attend for any reason, you can always purchase access to the videos. One way or another, I would make sure to get your hands on this content.

If you have any questions for me, or the people I’ve mentioned above, they’re almost all active within our AIC community on Facebook and we can make that happen – post your questions below to get the conversation started.

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Alex Camelio
Throughout his career, Alex has personally helped over 15,000 Agents and Brokers, including some of the Top REALTORS® in North America. His passion for marketing, technology and business development has translated into more than a decade of cutting edge technology and contributions to the real estate industry. As the CEO of the Agent Inner Circle®, a 40,000-member real estate agent community, Alex focuses on providing agents with education and actionable strategies to grow and optimize their business, ultimately building some of the most successful careers in real estate today. Alex is an internationally recognized educator who’s shared his thoughtful and energetic presentations with various National Associations and industry organizations. As always, Alex is excited to share his expertise with everyone.
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