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Top Takeaways from Inman Connect San Francisco

They say that successful people never stop learning. And Inman Connect was a perfect example of this – agents, brokers, and innovators sharing their expertise and taking feverish notes. If you weren’t able to attend (or were and just want a refresher), we’ve got a quick recap of some highlights.


Here are a few of our top takeaways.

Adapt or Fall Behind

Adapting was one of the major themes of the week. There is so much talk about technology and its role in real estate… it can be exhausting for agents. At the end of the day, you are in “the business of people.” Agents matter and will likely always matter to the consumer. Yet, the fact remains that tech has transformed the industry. Number one piece of advice? Adapt. Keep your finger on the pulse with social media trends, technology that automates busy work, and other tech innovations that affect the consumer experience.


“Our industry is about transactions that are ultra-low frequency and ultra-high value. We’re no longer waiting for tech to replace agents. People are always going to want the insurance of having someone to hold their hand.” – Mike Delprete


With any new technology, ask yourself. “How will this affect my client’s experience? How will this affect my work process? Can this help drive more business?” The name of the game is not to miss out on something that could transform your business simply because you are resisting the change. Keep a level-headed balance. Know that your value as a real human agent isn’t going anywhere. And also know that technology can elevate your business in ways that you cannot do alone.

Transparency & Authenticity

We are living in a “Power of the People” age. Consumers have more choice, more flexibility, and are demanding more than ever a white-glove experience. The most successful agents are the ones that deliver the best experience at the end of the day. Because of this, it’s critical to be transparent with your clients. Be authentic, be honest.


Your social media presence is a great avenue for being authentic and transparent with your clients.

social media


Being truly authentic might take a little bit of introspection. In real estate, it’s often about what separates you from the rest. What is your unique value proposition? What can you offer, and what makes you special? Discovering this uniqueness is how you build a successful brand.


“You can put everything on your menu, but you’ll be replaced by those who specialize in only a few things.” – Jed Carlson, CEO of Adwerx


One of the most powerful and unique voices from ICSF, was Beau Beardslee. A veteran who landed in real estate when he returned home from the front lines. He discusses how his military background has shaped him as an agent.


Robots, Voice & Augmented Reality

The robots are here, and they’re here to stay.


Remember how we talked about the consumer experience? Well, augmented reality is transforming the way consumers shop for and buy homes. In your home search, if you had the ability to do a “walk through” of a property without even leaving the couch, or if you could see what an empty room would look like furnished at the snap of your finger… wouldn’t you?


The good news is that augmented reality can benefit agents and brokers as well consumers. They can use property tech tools for their listings, like Pandora Reality, which allows the consumer to view the potential of an unfinished space. Or artificial intelligence tools that notify an agent if one of their properties has the AC left on, or flood damage.


“Buying a home can be very emotional. If you can change and personalize things, it can help with the decision-making process.” – Clelia Peters, President of Warburg Realty.

The Consumer Experience

The real estate industry is a packed space right now, with new tech disrupters coming in left and right. The tension was palpable during Inman Connect. Who will “survive”? Will the traditional agent role cease to exist as we know it over the next decade? What’s the “next frontier,” with social media, or CRM technology, or brokerage structures? All of these questions and more were swirling around the stage. Along with those questions, are unique perspectives, polar opposite opinions, and different agendas. It’s enough to make your head spin!


So let’s get some value out of all of this noise, and to be perfectly frank – fear. At the end of the day, what is the most important thing in real estate? The consumer experience. This should be on your mind from the second you walk into your office to the second you turn off your phone for the night. Surviving in real estate in 2018 means providing exceptional value.


So is it possible to provide this exceptional value without burnout? That’s where your team comes in. Whether it’s just you, an assistant, and a powerful CRM…or you’re working with a team of 20+ agents, you need to work with people you trust to help you. Jay O’Brien, co-founder/CEO of Client Giant, shares how he provides excellent service while traveling the world. 1. Outsource what you can to people you trust. 2. Stay connected via technology (personal touches don’t have to be in person. An assistant can send a birthday card, or flowers).


“In 2016 after putting a lot of these activities into practice, I sold 30 homes and in at least half of those deals, I never saw the property or the client. And those clients are still a source of repeat and referral business. On top of that, a lot of those transactions happened when I was traveling in Iceland, Dubai, South Africa, Greece.” – Jay O’Brien, Co-founder/CEO Client Giant.

Tactical Advice for Agents

Marketing expert, Katie Lance, delivered a must-see talk on free marketing tools to boost your business.


A few of our favorites:

  • Free Stock Photo Sites: Death to Stock Photo, Unsplash, Pixabay
  • Storeo: This app breaks down videos into 15-second, Instagram-friendly clips!
  • Coschedule: A headline analyzer that rates the strength of your headline and gives recommendations for improvement.



While I expected to hear session after session about generating more leads and improving lead quality, there was actually quite a bit of focus on lead follow up! Creating a strategic follow up plan is critical for maximizing the leads that you have. This is particularly important for team leaders who may be paying for leads for their agents or a CRM that provides lead generation services. Holding agents accountable for properly following up with their leads could result in more closings.


Learn more about Lead Follow Up Best Practices



In closing, Inman Connect San Francisco 2018 was a jam-packed week of big ideas, big personalities, and some age old truths about real estate professionals. The role of the agent is shifting from sales to customer service. Consumer experience is incredibly important. Technology can take business to the next level. Adapt, adjust, keep learning, and keep striving to be better.

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