January 29, 2012

The Race Has Started. Have You?

Photo by Derek Gavey via Flickr
Monday Morning Match is a quick post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

We're just a few hours from the first month of 2012 being over, yet many of our real estate brothers and sisters haven't even started their year. Oh sure, they may have turned their calendar and they have done the ceremonial business plan but they really haven't begun because they are still waiting for business to come to them.

Many of the active agents I know have some sort of business - at least one new listing or one new buyer.

Do you?

"The thing that has not been begun cannot be finished"
~ Robert Henri

If you don't have any business yet, ask yourself this: "Why not? What am I waiting for?"

It's been a few years since I have heard agents kick off their January so excited by the business at hand in the first few weeks of the year. I know listings are up in our local market and buyers have been pushed to jump in to the action with a combination of low interest rates, pent up demand and warmer than usual weather in the Central, Midwest and Northeast portions of the United States. I expect pending deals in January to outdistance 2011 and that's good news for a market that is in desperate need of a recovery.

How is your local market doing? Do you know the inventory that is available right now and how it compares to last year? How about the list price to sales price ratio? The average days on market? The average sales price? 

If you are knowledgeable enough, you will quickly become the "market expert" your client demands. Shouldn't you know the numbers of your market better than your local grocery store bag boy knows which aisles to find Tabasco sauce and condensed milk? Show you're a true professional and dig deep to understand your market inside and out.

"Can anything be sadder than work left unfinsihed?
Yes; work never begun."
~ Christina Rossetti

The old cliche is true - "He who lists, lasts." Get out there this week and start making phone calls to past clients and members of your sphere of influence. Contact local FSBO's and any listings that might have expired heading into the holidays. Their 30+ days of misery are over and it's time to get them on to their next phase of life. Build your inventory and get ready for the flood of buyers that will be coming soon.

I've never met a top agent who had a great year in real estate that didn't include a busy first quarter. There are about 60 days left until April 1st. Maybe the work you do these next two months will be what you look back on in December and say, "that's when I really got started."

Start today. If you don't, you'll quickly look up and realize it's the last week of 2012.

Focus on how you can build relationships, solve problems and have fun. 

Don't wait. Start right now.

January 25, 2012

The Real Estate Dance?

I had the opportunity to chaperone at my daughter Riley's 7th Grade Dance Club last night. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I arrived as one of the only Dad's who was lucky enough to be selected as a volunteer (that is what they call it when your wife signs you up for something, right?)

Now I can't speak for how my daughter felt about me being there but I really had a great time and I am pretty sure I didn't embarrass her. I was also surprised to realize how many similarities there are between what these pre-teens experienced in one hour of Dance Club and what successful Realtors will experience in their careers.

The People With Experience Are Wise and Like to Share Their Knowledge - Mr. Ron Clark is the Dance Club Instructor and he has been doing this for 40 years. He was my instructor back in the late 70's/early 80's when I attended 7th Grade Dance Club and he was my wife's instructor a few years later. The songs might have been different but the basics were still the same.

Who are the people in your office or company that you can turn to in hopes of learning a few of the "moves" that work, regardless of the tune the market is playing? Aren't the "basic steps" the things we always can fall back on and be confident they will work?

Walk In With Confidence - As the parent chaperones were getting final instructions for the evening from Mr. Clark, the kids were lining up in the school lobby. As there are almost twice as many girls as boys, most of the boys walked in with two girls on their arm. They are taught to walk in standing tall, shoulders up and looking straight ahead as they form 6 lines across the cafeteria.

How do you walk up to the door of a listing presentation? When you last approached a For Sale By Owner, did you strut confidently to the door? How much swagger do you show when you meet potential clients in your office lobby for the first time? There's a lot to be said about a person wearing their confidence on their sleeve.

The More You Practice, The Easier It Gets - This was week number three for the club and I was quite impressed with how well they knew what they were doing. The awkward, clammy hand shakes were gone and the embarrased giggles didn't seem to happen tonight. When asked to approach "their lady" for a new dance, the boys stepped up and performed as instructed.

No one likes the first phone call of the day. How nervous were you when you wrote that first purchase contract as a Rookie? Do your dialogues sound natural now after years and years of saying them in practice sessions with your fellow agents? Everyone knows that if they could practice their listing presentation more or rehearse those objection handling techniques every now and then, the butterflies would disappear and the rhythm we seek is just a song beat away.

Making Things Fun Also Makes Them Easier - The old cliche "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" would be so true if all these 12 and 13-year-olds did was get boring dance instruction from a stiff teacher. But they did dance moves like "the Sprinkler" and "the Lawnmower," they "shimmied" and did "the Twist." They "dribbled the ball" and then took a "jump shot." When they slid to the left they screamed "whooooooo" and the same when they slid back to the right. The kids clapped enthusiastically before and after dances. The boys high-fived and fist-bumped while the girls hugged and giggled. Even the chaperones were smiling and having a good time just watching the kids having fun.

Isn't your job easier when you're having fun? Don't your clients enjoy the process more when you are smiling, telling fun stories and easing the stress that can usually be involved in the real estate process? Every day you need to look for opportunities to make people smile or laugh. When you can make people feel comfortable, you can help them be themselves. And that is when you really start to find out how to "solve their problems" in the most efficient and effective manner.

The Power of a Group - At one point, Mr. Clark had the kids gather in groups of 8-14 people (boys and girls mixed) and form big dance circles. Then, one at a time a girl would go in the center and dance however she wanted. Everyone on the outside circle had to imitate the person in the center. Mr. Clark would call for a "switch" and the girl would pick a boy to replace her in the middle and the routine would continue. During this song, the chaperones were asked to walk around the room and select the group that was having the most fun. As you can imagine, they were all "hamming it up" when a parent went by in hopes of swaying our votes. (I'm not sure how or if they knew I was a Florida graduate but the group I voted for all dropped to their knees at the end at Tebowed in homage to Florida graduate and current Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow)

When you work together with a team of associates in your company or board, don't you feel a boost of energy, a spark of creativity or a common bond that you're all trying to achieve the same thing? We should all find more ways to harness that power more often. Choose to soar with the eagles in your midst instead of hanging out with the turkeys.

Introduce Yourself and Make an Impression - The last thing the kids must do each week is walk arm in arm with their partner(s) and introduce themselves to their group chaperone and thank them for helping. The ladies go first and must stand tall, shake hands, make solid eye contact and loudly say, "Good evening. I am ____________________. Thanks you for helping tonight." If they did it correctly, I shook their hands back, smiled and thanked them for coming and wished them good luck. The boys then followed suit and I did my best to make sure their handshake was firm and their eye contact direct. They all did a great job.

Are you shaking enough hands? Are you making enough face to face contacts with the people in your community that can help you grow and become better? Are you looking people in the eye and asking for their business? Are you saying "thank you" to the people who matter the most?

Ready to Dance?

So what do you think? Are you ready to catch "Dance Fever" this year in your local markets and find plenty of partners to shake it up with? Will you wait for your song to be played or are you going to shout our requests? Are you dynamic enough to move from one transaction to the next the way these kids moved from The Electric Slide to the Cotton-Eyed Joe? Are you going to raise you hand when a volunteer is needed and be the first to offer your services when someone new walks in the room?

The music is pumping and the beats are thumping.

As Lee Ann Womack once sang, "I hope you dance."

January 22, 2012

A Reason to Go Out Of Your Way

Disclaimer - This blog post didn't start off as an almost 2000 word tribute to a pub in Manhattan. But then again, that sunny Tuesday morning in New York City, September 11th, 2001 didn't start off as a day we would never forget.

"Making Your Way in the World Today…"

If you’re older than 35, you can probably sing the theme song from the sitcom Cheer’s without even thinking. There’s no doubt that “making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.”

It's true in any occupation in our world today. It doesn't matter what sex, nationality, age or economic demographic you're in. I can personally attest that it's true in real estate.

Imagine if you worked at or owned a bar just feet away from where The World Trade Center towers once stood in New York City.

"Taking a Break from All Your Worries…"

I was in New York City recently for a real estate conference and one of my new friends from Utah, Chris Nichols, thankfully arranged a group of attendees to travel to lower Manhattan and visit the 9/11 Memorial. To get there from the Times Square area where we were staying is about a 12 minute train ride and then a 10-15 minute walk.

I knew nobody who died that day in those towers on that fateful day but I am sure, like many of you, you remember it as if it was yesterday. I didn’t know what to expect when I made it down there so it was nice that I had decided to make the trip alone (I figured I would connect with Chris and the rest of the group at the site).

The city of New York and all of the planners and volunteers have done a great job of making the entire process (entry, security, etc.) very efficient and minimally intrusive. The first thing you notice as you get close is the “buzz of work." From the construction workers high in the rising buildings to the workers at street level and below, there wasn’t a whole lot of standing around. Everyone had a purpose and was completely focused on why they were there.

"Wouldn’t You Like to Get Away?"

The memorial reflecting pools have been created in the foot prints of the two towers that the world lost that day 10+ years ago. Designers, architects and landscape architects have done a tremendous job of honoring those lost as well as giving a place for family members and friends of the victims and people just like me to come and pay our respects.

Each reflecting pool has walls with the names of each person who died as a result of those terrorist acts etched on them. I felt a literal chill run down my spine as I gazed at these pools and the names surrounding them and trust me...it wasn’t the arriving dusk of a chilled winter evening in the Northeast.

The sight of the new Freedom Tower being built just a few hundred yards away made me very proud of the desire of these workers and all who supported this effort with donations or help along the way. It will be quite a sight when it is totally complete and will hopefully allow those who lost someone that day reach some closure knowing that we can, and did, rebuild.

"Where everybody knows your name…"

Another one of my new friends I met for the first time at the conference, Teri Conrad from Vancouver, Canada had arrived in NYC a few days before me so she and her husband were able to visit the 9/11 Memorial a few days earlier. While no one can tell you how you’ll react upon seeing this place, any advice or guidance on getting there and things around it would be helpful.

Teri told me of a small bar/restaurant near Ground Zero that she and her husband stopped in after their visit and how they were really moved by their visit. Teri suggested that I try to do the same on my visit.

After leaving the actual site and passing through the Visitor’s Center (way more emotional than I was ready for, but certainly worth your time upon exiting the grounds) I texted Teri to find out the name of this bar I, according to Teri, “HAD TO VISIT.”

O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub is at 120 Cedar Street. Teri had told me specifically about the police and fire badges and patches that covered the walls of the place. I popped in to enjoy a cold beer for happy hour and check my email messages before heading back to my hotel but once inside, the emotion and “story” of O’Hara’s kept me seated on that stool that night and turned me into a fan of what this place is all about.

Located right next door to Fire Engine House #10, it obviously became an integral part of the rescue and recovery that occurred for weeks and months beginning the morning of September 12, 2001. Serving as a temporary “headquarters” of sorts for the National Guard as well as police and firefighters from across the country that descended upon Ground Zero to “help their fallen brothers,” O’Hara’s has become the unofficial pub for firefighters and police everywhere.

This bar survived the collapse of the towers but it was probably more by luck than by anything else. The neat part of visiting O'Hara's is they have multiple scrap books that commemorate the events of 9/11 through photos, news articles and letters from patrons, employees and visitors who were there that day or experienced it in their own way somewhere else. As I sat there looking at the book and chatting with David behind the bar, I texted my new friend Jeff Kershner from Chicago to join me (he had just tweeted about being at the 9/11 Memorial across the street).

Jeff joined me and for the next hour or so, David began to enlighten us with what happened that Tuesday morning ten years ago. David wasn’t there that day (he was a grade schooler) but you wouldn’t have known that by the way he told the stories.

Three people were in O’Hara’s that morning back in 2001 – two cooks and one of the owners. The descriptive telling of the sounds, smells and sights (and sudden lack of sight immediately after the first building fell) was nothing short of “sit on the edge of your chair while the hair on your neck stands up” captivating. David wasn’t trying to impress us and I am sure he might get tired of telling the story but as a great employee trying to make two first time guests feel welcome, he told it as if we were the first people to ever ask the question.

Eventually Jeff and I had to make our way back uptown for some planned events that we each had. As we walked back to the train station we both said how much we wanted to come back to O’Hara’s for a few more beers ($3 drafts compared to $9 in Times Square is kind of a “no-brainer”) and a bite to eat while we were still in town. Jeff and I knew it was much less about the cheap beers than it was about hanging our with "good people."

"They’re Always Glad You Came…"

Jeff and I did make it back the next night. While it would have been great to have spent more time with many of the others we met at the conference, I know there will be more opportunities to dine with fellow real estate agents. I might not get many more opportunities to visit a place like O’Hara’s.

Jeff and I headed for the E Train and rode from 45th street all the way to the end of the line. Up from the depths of the city’s subway system, we walked the 8-10 blocks in a chilly mist, arriving at O’Hara’s and finding it much fuller than the day before. Of course we were there a few hours later than the previous day but we still were able to secure a spot at the upstairs bar. The only bad part was that David was working the lower bar and we wanted to continue our chat from the day before with David.

We said “Hi” to David, who remembered us by name and thanked us for coming all the way back downtown from Times Square. We asked him to let us know when a spot opened up at his bar and enjoyed a beer and some real estate chatter upstairs until a few seats opened up on the lower level.

David wasn’t working all night so after a while of chatter and good natured dialogue, he introduced us to Jimmy and "Uncle Paulie" (as David called him), the two co-owners of O’Hara’s. David added to his introduction the fact that we came back all the way from Times Square and both Jimmy and Paulie were appreciative and welcoming.

Hanging out that evening with Paulie was incredible. Friendly and attentive, he was the consummate bartender and with his thick Jersey accent, he somewhat epitomized the “New Yorker” stereo-type that was created following 9/11, and that is definitely a good thing. In my estimation, Paulie is loyal, proud, hard-working and helpful. He’s the kind of guy who would do anything for his fellow man, not for what he got out of it but just for the sake of helping someone else. Paulie is everything good that people speak of when talking about New York City being the greatest city in the world.

Jeff and I enjoyed hearing Paulie’s version of that horrible fall morning and the decision process he went through when deciding to invest in the pub and become a co-owner a few years later. We talked about the fireman and police officers and service people who have travelled from all parts of the world to visit O’Hara’s, pay their respects and offer up a patch or badge from their precinct’s back home. One thing is clear when you look at firefighters and police officers – they truly believe in the concept of “all for one and one for all.” Almost every inch of the walls behind the bar at O'Hara's are covered with firefighter and police memorablia from around the world.

"Our Troubles Are All the Same"

The neat thing about spending that evening with Jeff, David, Paulie and all the other staff and patrons of O’Hara’s was that we’re all part of something much bigger. The troubles I may have in my personal or business life are no bigger or smaller than the problems everyone else has. Imagine some of the problems being experienced by a 10 year old boy or girl who will never know there father or mother except for a name etched on a reflecting pool wall? Try to picture losing your spouse or child in an istant because of some sick, thoughtless act of terrorism. Imagine a Fireman’s reunion that will be short a few alumni because they gave their life the day those towers fell.

It’s the perspective of hearing Paulie and David tell stories of what happened that day and the weeks following that really make a challenging housing market seem much more manageable.

"Where People Know People Are All the Same"

It was time catch the E Train and head back up to our hotel. Jeff and I called for the tab and were planning for the shock of triple digits. "Pleasant surprise" doesn’t do our feeling justice when we realized our bill was closer to half of what we expected. Turns out that Paulie and David each bought us a round, as did one of the locals at the end of the bar.

You didn’t have to do that,” Jeff and I both exclaimed.

Paulie slowly approached, smiled and paused before he said with a smile… "And you guys didn’t have to go so far out of your way just to spend some time with us here at O’Hara’s. There are lots of bars up near your hotel so for you to come all this way just to spend time with us and ask us questions, it’s our honor to have you as our guests.”

How freakin’ cool is that?

Thanks O’Hara’s.

Of all the cool things I did on my first visit to The Big Apple, spending time with you was the best. Much like the slogan many people have adopted for the horrific day back in 2001, I think the same thought applies to me and Jeff and our visit to O'Hara's Pub.

“We will never forget.”

January 19, 2012

The ABC's of ICNY

A Recipe for Maximizing Your Inman Connect Experience

I just returned from my first ever visit to an Inman Real Estate Connect conference in New York City. I was honored to have been invited as an Ambassador Representative and spent my time shooting and sharing lots of video from the event (as well as the Agent ReBoot event that took place the day prior).

I’m sure many of you may have attended a Real Estate Connect conference but I am guessing that the majority of you reading this have not. I hope you will consider attending an event in the near future and if you do, here’s a helpful A to Z checklist that should help make your experience memorable.

A - Arrive early so you can get ready for all the amazing learning and connecting you will be doing. When I arrived at LaGuardia airport I quickly checked in on Foursquare. I noticed that Lisa Archer and Laurie Davis, also known as "The Geeky Girls" (pictured on left) had also just “checked in” so I quickly texted them and after meeting at baggage claim (for the first time) we shared a cab to the city.

B - Build relationships. You'll meet many people for the first time and others who you've known for years. Take every moment to strengthen your friendships with these people and seek ways to help them become more successful in their careers and lives.

C - Chris Smith, Chief Evangelist for Inman News - One of the "Shooting Stars" in the real estate industry, Chris is really good at what he does. He's an eager learner and always genuinely excited to share his knowledge and excitement for new products, tools or techniques with his real estate audiences. Chris is great on social media platforms and webinars but where he really shines is on stage and Inman Connect and Agent ReBoot really gives him the opportunity to be at his best. As busy as Chris is, he's always conscious about making everyone feel personally welcome and appreciated for attending.

D - Download the Real Estate Connect App for your phone or tablet. Sure, you'll get a nice hard copy program when you check in at the event but having the agenda, speaker information and vendors available at your fingertips, it's a great way to navigate your way through the busy agenda and you don’t have to carry around a program.

- Extra batteries - for your phones and laptops...or at least be sure to get a full charge each night and during breaks. You will be taking notes, photos, videos and sharing info and “tweetable” statements or facts with your social networks so be expecting your battery power to diminish as the day goes on.

F - Facebook - The Inman News, Agent ReBoot and Inman Connect Attendees pages are great sites before, during & after the event to connect with like minded professionals and review videos and blog posts from many of the great sessions. Have you “liked” all of these pages yet?

G - Greeting. What's your "seven-second presentation"? Who are you, where are you from and what do you do? What made you attend Inman Connect? You won't have time to get into deep conversations with everyone so get ready to make a great first impression...over and over and over again.

H - Hash Tag - utilize #ICNY - the Twitter "conversation tag" known as a hash tag that groups all tweets concerning the event in one consistent stream. It's a great way to catch up on sessions and conversations you might have missed while attending another meeting or session and it's perfect for those who don't attend Inman Connect.

II.R.L - Be prepared to meet many of your social network friends for the first time "In Real Life."Will the people who have never met you except via the social channels get what they expected...or more?

J - Join in Conversations. These could be with friends or strangers, presenters or vendors. Raise your hands during the Q&A and be active on Twitter throughout the events. Just don't go home thinking to yourself, "I wish I would have spoken to more people." (Something tells me you're not going to spend the time and money to attend Connect and not do your best to do just that...Connect. Right?)

K - Katie Lance, Director of Social Media for Inman, serves as co-emcee (with Chris Smith) and does a wonderful job of engaging presenters, vendors and attendees and making everyone feel appreciated for attending. Her passion for the material and engagement with the guests on stage really makes each session fly by. Katie is on the short list of “must know” peeps.

L - Live Blogging is a great way to stay in touch with what's happening with the event. Even if you're sitting in the audience, having the live blog feed available can provide another person's perspective on the same presentation. Or, you could suggest your co-workers and peers who couldn't attend Inman Connect follow the live blog "back home" and share and questions or comments for you to relay in person.

M - Make a list of people you want to see or sessions you want to attend and plan accordingly. Michael McClure from Professional One Realtors in Plymouth, Michigan used a white board (on right) to remind himself of all the people he wanted to make an effort to see. He shared this list on Facebook and many others used Michael’s list as a great place to start. (Note – when Michael McClure sees value in meeting/spending time with someone…you probably should too. But don’t just do it because Michael says so. Do it because you have a chance to make a new connection that could benefit both parties down the road.)

N - Needs. Determine what are the ideas, information or initiatives that your business, brokerage, brand or board needs and seek out the people or presentations that might help supply what you're looking for.

O - Open your mind to new possibilities. There are presenters and vendors from all over the globe so your initial instinct might be to say "that doesn't apply to my market/business." While that may be true, don't rule anything out. You never know what might be the next best thing or who might be the next big star. You’ll be able to brag that you learned about it back at Inman Connect.

P - Prioritize the workshop sessions to attend based on your reason for attending Inman Connect. You can only be in one session at a time so pick the one that has the best chance of helping you grow your business now. Remember, the other sessions will be tweeted about and possibly videotaped so relax, pay attention and enjoy.

Q - Quench your thirst at Cocktails at Connect, a wonderful cocktail hour that invites attendees and vendors to mix & mingle. A great chance to relax after a power-packed first day and begin to meet some of the incredible minds who attend Inman Connect and the listen to the stories they have to share.

RRemember to bring lots of business cards. You will meet tons of people who you’ll want to follow up with after the event so stuff your luggage with a stack of business cards. Many of the vendors hold drawing for some fabulous gifts and leaving them a card not only increases your chances of winning something really cool but also allows them to keep you updated on all the new gizmos and gadgets hitting the market.

SShare – Everyone who attends will learn something by attending but everyone who attends can also contribute to the event as well. Give immediate feedback to vendors about their product or service, discuss your thoughts with a panelist during or after a presentation or engage with a fellow attendee in “Lobby-Con” – the unofficial term for the conference that happens in the hallways after the daily agenda is complete. Remember the name of the event is “Connect” so do your best to do that, both in words and actions.

TTake plenty of notes. Whether you are old school and use paper & pen or harness the technology of your iPad or iPhone and utilize cool apps like Evernote, be sure to jot down ideas, nuggets of wisdom or suggestions from the speakers and guests. You also might wish to snap lots of pictures or use the video camera on your phone of cool screen shots, people or products you may see and want to remember when you back home and re-focused on your day-to-day business.

UUse social networks to expand these new relationships you will be creating during your time at the event. Connect on Facebook (always send a personal message introducing yourself so they can add you to the proper ICNY 2012 list or so you can remind them how you met – “We were talking in the lobby about XYZ strategy, etc.”) or follow them on Twitter. (see ‘H’ for Hash Tag)

V - Visit. Most attendees are from places other than New York City (or San Francisco) so do your best to enjoy your time before or after the event during lunch breaks and after hours to explore the wonderful host city. Restaurant, shows, tours and sporting events are the perfect "disconnect" to avoid “all work and no play” making you a dull boy (or girl).

W - Why? Ask yourself before attending, "why you have made the investment in yourself and your career and/or company to attend Inman Connect?” Remind yourself of this often so when your email and phone start “blowing up” with business back home, you can stay focused on the event and address work issues on lunch breaks or after hours. Remember, you don't need to spend $1,000s of dollars to fly to NYC just to run your business from a hotel room.

X – ‘X’ out some time in your schedule to attend future Inman events such as Agent Reboot, Real Estate Connect San Francisco, Inman NEXT webinars and even next year’s Real Estate Connect NYC. I can’t tell you how many people I met who have built their 2012 schedule around these events because they understand the tremendous value they bring to their business.

Y - You Tube - Lots of the sessions are filmed and posted for viewing and sharing after the event. As many attendees are busy tweeting and/or taking notes during live sessions, re-watching the videos later might be just like seeing them for the first time.

Z - Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz - get plenty of sleep before the event because you will not get much during it…but you'll be so pumped up by all of the energy and “buzz” you probably won't need much. Or you could always plan to sleep on the plane or train ride home.

I hope you’ll make plans to join Inman in San Francisco later this summer or possibly participate in one of the many Agent ReBoot events that will be coming to a city near you.

Until we may cross paths in the future, best wishes for a successful 2012 and beyond. I encourage you to look for opportunities to build relationships, solve problems and have fun.

January 16, 2012

Are You Emitting Sparks?

Photo by Derek Gavey via Flickr 
Monday Morning Match is a quick post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

“So many men in this world are going nowhere in particular that when one comes along…who is really and passionately going somewhere, what a stir he communicates to a dull world! We catch sparks of electricity from the very friction of his passage.”

- David Grayson
The Friendly Road

What are you going to do today to be that person?

How can you create “sparks of electricity” in your business and personal world?

When will others start saying that about you? Or do they already?

Build better relationships. Solve tougher problems. Have more fun…on purpose.

January 15, 2012

Now "I’m Seein’ Why" People Always Talk About ICNY

Last week I was honored to be invited to attend the Inman Real Estate Connect event in New York City (also known as ICNY). Real Estate Connect® is a must-attend conference that brings together the biggest names in the real estate and technology industries.
 Each year, thousands of influential leaders gather at Real Estate Connect to discover emerging trends and technology, to network and make deals and to learn how to leverage the change that surrounds the real estate industry. The theme for Real Estate Connect NYC 2012 was Leading the Way: Innovation in Action and the program featured top thinkers and innovators from around the world.

It also featured 10 of my newest “close friends” in real estate – The Inman Connect Ambassador Team.

Katie Lance, Director of Social Media for Inman wanted to bring in some people from around the real estate industry who could help share, capture and enhance the experiences of ICNY with real estate agents, brokers and owners and others in the real estate industry around the globe who couldn’t attend. Among the team of 11 Ambassadors, there were 4 live bloggers, 3 people capturing video, 2 live “tweeters,” a photographer and one person dedicated to sharing the experience via Instagram.

Katie was busy as the event Co-Emcee along with Chief Evangelist for Inman, Chris Smith so my fellow ambassadors and I were watching and listening for any idea, sound bite, tip or technique that might be shared by anyone who took the stage, the numerous vendors who were sharing their services and products or the 1000+ attendees from around the globe.

From the opening session of Agent Reboot (a one day fast-paced session of workshops and presentations that travels the country) on Tuesday to the last “curtain call” of the Inman Staff on Friday, we were all sitting front row with iPhones, Mac Books, Flip Videos and Steve Pacinelli’s awesome camera equipment in hand. (Click here to read my article from Agent Reboot Columbus to see what this event is all about)

After the general session of each day, there were four different “tracks” of workshops, panels and breakout sessions on various topics so it was impossible to attend them all. That’s where the beauty of the Ambassador team comes into play as well as the power of the #ICNY hash tag.

You could be enjoying one session while still keeping an “ear to the ground” in other sessions because of the fast fingers of those people who were tweeting the “nuggets of wisdom” by searching for any tweet sharing the #ICNY hash tag (basically keeping a “log” of all the comments) or people would look back later and see what was said and who said it.

Of course there was a lot of social fun as well as the jam-packed schedule of events and the Ambassadors did their best to capture that in spirit, tweets, texts and video as well. In the largest city in the world, it wasn’t easy to stick together but when we did, we certainly took the establishments by storm. From Stout NYC for the BCS Championship game to Tonic for karaoke, Junior’s or The Shake Shack for lunch or The Hourglass Tavern in Hell’s Kitchen or the R Lounge in Times Square for parties, it was a memorable event.

If you’re looking for some really smart people to connect with, friend or follow in the real estate space, you might want to start here:

Lisa Archer (@LisaArcherRE)
Teri Conrad (@TeriConrad)
Janie Coffey (JanieC)
Laurie Davis (@LaurieWDavis)
Maura Neill (@MauraNeill)
Chris Nichols (@UtahREPro)
Steve Pacinelli (@StevePacinelli)
· Debra Trappen (@Debra11)
Tucker Wannamaker (@TuckerWanna)
Julie Ziemelis (@JulieZemelis)

Of course there are way more people who attended the event and texted, tweeted, Facebooked, captured video and contributed to the awesomeness of ICNY. There’s no way I would attempt to name even one because it wouldn’t be fair to the one’s I left off. Just know that I am honored and proud to be in the same industry as you all. Your skills, passion and pride to be the best you can be makes our industry better.

Thanks to Brad Inman and his incredible team. Your hard work and vision for this event was all worth the tremendous effort you put forth.

Thanks to all attendees and vendors because through your technology skills and dedication to the event and industry, the ideas, concepts and sound bites will last a while longer.

Thanks to the team of Ambassadors and all of the other great attendees and people who made this event happen, the memories will last a lifetime.

Until the next time we may “connect,” continue to build relationships, solve problems and have fun.

January 8, 2012

Where's the Beef?

Photo from Derek Gavey via Flickr

Monday Morning Match is a quick post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

27 years ago today the world first heard little old Clara Peller utter the words "Where's the beef" in the Wendy's Hamburger's television ad. The commercial and subsequent campaign was designed to show that Wendy's hamburgers were bigger (and jucier and tastier) than their competitor's burgers.

(Click here if you don't see the video below)

As you begin to really hit the ground running in 2012, it's time to start asking yourself "where's the beef?" in your business.

What are the things you do each day that will help you generate more leads? How are you standing out from the competition? What extra things are you prepared to "add on top" of your standard service that will get people talking, calling or referring?

In the Wendy's campaign they were poking fun at the lack of hamburger on their competitor's buns. I would challenge you to worry less about your competition's shortcomings and focus more on your strengths. It's less about what they are doing and more about what you are (or can...or will).

Each day, ask yourself the questions that will force you to make your service "meatier." After all, that is what people want, expect and are willing to pay for. Build relationships, solve problems and have fun.

Make a better hamburger.

And never let your clients ask "where's the beef?"

January 1, 2012

Damn Sure Better Than Rain

Photo by Derek Gavey via Flickr

Monday Morning Match is a quick post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

The word for 2012 is simplicity.

Don't over think everything. Don't make anything harder than it needs to be. Stop aiming for perfection. Almost perfect is much better than never started.

I'm keeping it really simple to start out the new year. I invite you to kick off your week with the video below from musician Warren Haynes. If you have to have a song stuck in your head all week, this is a good one to be humming through your day.

(Click here is you don't see the video below)

Get out there and build relationships, solve problems and have fun.

And let your soul shine!