August 21, 2010

A View from The Summit

What a fabulous day it was on Thursday, August 19th as over 550 sales associates, managers, staff members and special guests converged on The Roberts Center in Wilmington, Ohio for the Coldwell Banker Summer Technology Summit - Trends, Tools and Technology. This was a huge event with lots of moving parts but all the people who helped put it together really worked together to make it a special day for all who attended.

After kicking off the event with some upbeat tunes and a montage of photos from the 19 branch offices that make up the Ohio NRT Companies - Coldwell Banker West Shell in Greater Cincinnati and Coldwell Banker King Thompson in central Ohio - it was a constant whirlwind of great speakers and plenty of great information.

Leading with the Leaders

Company President Joe King kicked off the day by welcoming NRT Central Region Vice President Joe Reis to the stage. Reis facilitated a panel discussion with two of the real estate industry's most powerful leaders - Jim Gillespie, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Company, and Bruce Zipf, President and CEO of NRT.

These three men shared their thoughts, experience and overall wisdom on today's market and where we may be headed in late 2010 and beyond. Both Gillespie and Zipf were optimistic about the housing sector's ability to help lead the country out of the economic challenges but stressed that we must continue to focus on the right activities each day and stay engaged with today's buyers and sellers. Zipf shared his four areas of focus for a strong conclusion to 2010; Prospecting, Pricing, Communication and Embracing Technology.

Tracking the Trends

What a perfect segue Zipf's final area of focus was as our keynote speaker, Stefan Swanepoel, took the stage. Swanepoel is considered by many the finest authority of today's real estate trends. As well as being a fantastic speaker, Swanepoel is also the author of 17 books including the definitive book on what's happening in today's (and tomorrow's) real estate world, The Swanepoel TRENDS Report.

Swanepoel spoke about the constant change our industry struggles to accept - from the game changing fax machine back in the mid '70's to the social networking and inundation of video today. He discouraged the audience not to think they've got it all figured out, reminding them that mega sites like Google, You Tube, Facebook and Twitter weren't even mainstream ten years ago.

Give Me a Break(out)

The event featured twelve breakout sessions and all the presenters shared great information with some tremendous energy that was greatly appreciated by the attendees. To see what the topics and sessions were about, check out the descriptions here.

Special guest presenters included Sara Bonert from Zillow, David Siroty, Senior Director of Public Relations for Coldwell Banker, Evan Matteson from Coldwell Banker Apex in Rockwall, Texas and Andrew Eklund & Dawn Hepper from Ciceron. Other breakout presenters included some "home grown" talent with Dori Gehling, Michael Jones, Sarah Poston, Marty Soller, Michelle Barnett, Sue Price and Stacy Serey.

Video Killed the Radio Star?

There was also a fabulous closing session presentation on the power of video in today's real estate environment facilitated by Coldwell Banker VP of Marketing, Michael Fischer. Fischer's message to the audience was that the power of video to "tell the story" is so much more powerful in today's "digital, on demand world" than the cold, black and white text found in newsprint or MLS print outs could ever be. Fischer then welcomed CB Apex's Matteson and Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Properties (Florence, Alabama) top agent Mike Randall to the stage for a great panel discussion about how the use of video has changed these two agents businesses. (See samples of Evan and Mike's video styles below)

Evan Matteson, Coldwell Banker Apex

Mike Randall, Coldwell Banker Pinnacle

It really was a wonderful event with plenty for every attendee to leave with something to add to their "technology toolbox" of services and systems to help their Buyers, Sellers, past clients and also to reach new customers.

Roll the Credits

I personally would like to thank all the special guests, panelists, presenters, attendees and invited guests as well as some of my teammates who helped make this event so wonderful.

My Training Coordinator, Jaimie Shaffer, was fantastic at keeping all the logistics organized and maintained a calm demeanor from early March when planning started through 4:35pm on Thursday when the event concluded.

A big thanks also to the hard working staff at our Central Region Hub who provided much of the behind the scenes details - Lisa Morrow, Amy Eiduke, Charlotte Irrrang and Prabu Gopalakrishnan. Thanks also go out to the following people for making this a great event - Joe King, Jerry White, Glen Wilson, Sarah Poston, Michelle Barnett, Susan Trefilek, Randy Wax, Rick Walker, Julie Verne, Marlene Price, Janet Davis, the management teams at CBKT and CBWS, Diana Schneder, Walt Saxe and all the hard-working staff at The Roberts Center in Wilmington, our friends at Coldwell Banker Home Loans, Quality Choice Title, Residential Title, and American Home Shield for sponsoring, Cardinal Transportation and all the attendees.

I am excited to see the creative, innovative, trendy ways our associates and managers are going to implement what was learned at the Tech Summit. Much like a climber who scales the mountains, it's always amazing how much clearer you can see when you've been to the summit.