The 2011 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conference was held November 11-14th in Anaheim, CA. Our “on-the-scene” participant was Margo McKay Broughton, Vice President Program Development and Director of Training. In case you did not make the trip, we want to share Margo’s take on the most useful tips and trends she picked up at the conference. If you attended, feel free to join in and share your insights from the NAR Conference.
1. From the Roundtable Session – “Internet Cafe”: More and more real estate agents are taking their iPads and iPhones and setting up shop at their local Starbucks or other coffee houses. This puts them in the mix with the public – getting more opportunities for leads. These shops offer music, art and free parking – plus coffee!
2. Also from The Roundtable Session: “Innovative Ways to Build Your Business” Session–CMA and Marketing: Eliminate printed materials! Many agents are getting away from printed advertising. The actual sales contract is the only surviving hardcopy document. Agents are showing sellers electronic data to help determine sales price. Statistics from FHFA.gov provide data such as absorption rates, market analyses, and key stats by state and other valuable information.
3. Great tip from Marketing Without Money: Look through your local paper to see who has been recognized with a new position, won an award or started a new business. Send them a congratulatory card or letter. Works especially well if you’ve met them before or if you have mutual interests.
4. Public Relations: So many ideas, so little time!
- Did you know you can buy BRANDED Starbucks cards for only a couple of bucks? You can even have your picture on them! Give them to you clients! Consider other branded gift cards that people will use and appreciate as a way to introduce yourself to new clients and remind exiting ones that you are available to help their family and friends.
- YouTube channels are free…how about making some how-to videos to give to you customers? A “How to Change Locks” video is a thoughtful gift to give to your buyers after they close on their new house. How about holding a customer appreciation party at your buyers’ new house? You buy the food and rent a bounce house, get the list of invitees from your happy new home owner. You expand your sphere of influence. And you now have contact information for warm prospects and –possibly all new leads!
5. Connecting with Mobile or Tech Savvy Agents: The speaker at this session stated that “The poor old Blackberry appears to be on its way out. It is all about downloadable applications…the power is in the app!” The speaker also said, “If you have a smart phone and haven’t downloaded any applications, you have a sports car without any fuel!” In 2008, there were $363 million generated through mobile applications. In 2010, there were $4.9 billion generated from mobile applications! The mobile app from Realtor.com, which does all kind of cool things, and has been downloaded 7 million times. The apps are where it’s at!
6. From the Session – “The One Thing Power Brokers Can’t Live Without”: was an amazing quote from a speaker who said: “When the pie gets smaller, the table manners have to change! You have to do things that are not usually done, if you want to survive.” In this session, the speakers talked about a recent study of 24 real estate offices who agreed to share information about their successful businesses to help the industry. Participants learned that each of the businesses had the following items in common:
- Technology is the number one aspect to success: Agents need to embrace technology and make the necessary investments in smart phones, tablet computers, etc.
- Office space is no longer needed: Agents are working out of their homes or out of coffee shops.
- Social media: It’s at the core of successful business growth.
- Customer service is built into the core structure of each of these entities: While they don’t compete with other agencies on price, they differentiate themselves in the market by providing outstanding customer service.