7 years ago, I attended my first Inman Connect in New York City. Back then, the focus seemed to be very heavy on technology and its role in the real estate industry. Since, I’ve witnessed a shift to an emphasis on people and the qualities they bring to real estate to improve leadership, relationships with clients and each other, connections, and yes, technology.
This Inman Connect New York (ICNY), held mid-January to kick off 2017, there were two words that resounded time and again in everything people said, both on-stage and in spaces like “lobbycon”:
What does that mean in the real estate space?
One of the themes of the majority of the speakers at ICNY 2017 was to not be afraid to fail. Whether it was referenced by people who took chances and succeeded despite numerous failures, or mentioned in pleas from leaders to actually have the strength and courage to fail, failure was echoed time and again.
How do I see this in context of real estate?
- Adoption of technology. I hear arguments time and again that understanding new technology takes too much time and too much effort. I think the real fear, however, is the the fear of doing something wrong. Real estate agents and brokers are largely a group of Type-A doers, who excel at whatever they put their minds to. The challenge of having to actually work at something usually means that useful technology passes them by – have the courage to try.
- Trying things your brokers, coaches, instructors encourage you try. Some of the most accomplished people to grace the stage, both in the real estate industry and in life, all mentioned the same thing – they didn’t get there alone. They used their team’s knowledge and wisdom of others to help guide them in reaching their goals. You’re not in this alone. Whether you know it or not, this industry provides a plethora of opportunities and minds to tap into. Listen to them.
- Constantly working on your business – expanding by using both old & new techniques. The phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” gets muttered over and over again in this industry. Having the courage to step out of usual habits and embrace some of the new ideas to see how they work (or don’t) with your business means you’ll always be growing and changing into something better.
Every Inman Connect, we joke about ‘buzzwords’ mentioned onstage that become part of the Inman drinking game. (‘Disruption’ was a big contender this past year.) One word that’s no joke, though is ‘culture’ and what it means to foster a culture of openness. There were a number of conversations about this at ICNY this year, and here’s what I gleaned:
Being open means being willing to listen to all sides, to try and understand where all ages/sexes/beliefs/cultures/identities are coming from. A lot of people engage in millennial bashing, even though the majority of rising stars in the industry and the majority of your clientele are millennials. Learn each others’ language, and use that to model a place of inclusiveness. Abolish the office cliques. Disagree with each other, respectfully, but listen and participate in the discourse that ensues. These kinds of disagreements often lead to a deeper understanding (just don’t let it devolve into an ‘us v. them’ scenario) from both sides.
Don’t wait for your broker to create this culture – if they won’t do it, be brave. Be the one who spearheads creating a culture of openness in your brokerage.
Dare. (And you’re never too old to dare…)
In our brokerage alone, we have someone who rediscovered her family after all was long thought lost. We have someone who had to start completely over in the United States, and has blossomed into an incredible human being who inspires others. We have former soldiers who have fought for this country. We have women and men who have bravely fought various illnesses and diseases. We have people who were told they couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t, but did anyway, and have found great success in real estate.
The beauty of this industry is that it allows us all to dream. For many, there really is no ceiling as to what you can achieve…the only person who holds you back at the end of the day is yourself.
One of the best storytellers to grace the Inman stage, Diana Nyad, said it best: “Find a way.”
No man is truly an island, even in this business. One thought from Valerie Garcia that really resonated with me was the discussion of collaboration v. competition. Yes, many of you work in the same neighborhoods and communities as your fellow real estate agents (often, even in the same brokerage). Yet, each and every one of us is unique and offers something different to buyers and sellers. My value proposition and what I offer may be very different than what you offer – and there is someone out there for everyone.
So, instead of keeping to oneself, reach out and engage. Support those agents who are struggling, those who need help. Report those agents who are hurting the reputations of real estate agents, who aren’t advancing the real estate industry. Participate in collaborative efforts in local, state and national associations. Educate yourself to the best of your ability, not only on local issues and legislation, but also on the underlying sentiments of your community and what it really needs.
If the ‘best’ in your area is simply average, what does it really mean if you call yourself the ‘best of the best’?!
Ultimately, we are a collective, a community, a fraternity, a family. Those of you who attend Inman – yes, all 4,000+ of you – are part of that. It’s bigger than that, though. Look around.
That’s what this ICNY 2017 taught me. It challenged me more than I’ve been challenged in the past, and I wanted to pass the challenge along to you, too:
Step out of your comfort zone. Be brave. Have courage. Fail. Be open. Dare. Engage.