• The Chinese represent one-third of the international buying and Fang.com is the No. 1 real estate portal in the world.
  • Zillow's traffic is mostly on mobile devices; 70 percent of weekend Zillow traffic is mobile.
  • A great neighborhood video tour is worth the money to do it professionally, especially since it can have a shelf life of up to five years.

It’s been almost two months since Inman Connect San Francisco. Many of the tools, trends and strategies will transform how we conduct real estate. Which ones will you choose to help you grow your business?

Agent reviews

1. Zillow’s Chief Industry Development Officer, Errol Samuelson, counseled agents and brokers to be persistent about obtaining reviews.

The reason — 85 percent of users read at least 10 reviews. Moreover, 88 percent of users trust reviews as much as they trust word-of-mouth recommendations.

Coming soon: E-closing

2. At CEO Connect, Pat Stone, president and CEO of Williston Financial Group, explained how the new TRID regulations are forcing the lenders, title and escrow to consolidate their data.

The old system required name and address data to be entered 80 different times, resulting in at least two wrong entries. The new MISMO mortgage standards (Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization) will result in E-closing becoming a reality.

The system should have close to zero errors and be able to close in 20-25 days versus the current 40-45 days. Executive Vice President of the California Association of Realtors, Joel Singer, suggested that the new requirements could make closing possible in as little as 10-15 days.

3. Project Upstream will streamline the listing process. Rather than having to enter the same listing data on to multiple portals or sites, the broker will enter the data only once. The broker also actively controls where that data will be syndicated.

Earn higher commissions

4. Price is only an issue in the absence of value. If a client challenges you on your commission, it means you haven’t illustrated your value.

5. Clients are more likely to hire you if they know you are giving back to your community. One speaker observed that no one has challenged the company’s commission rate since it began giving 10 percent of the commission proceeds to charity.

International — the biggest opportunity today

6. The biggest opportunity today is in international space; 8 percent of U.S. transactions are with international clients. The Chinese represent one-third of the international buying, and fang.com (which means “homes” in Chinese) is the no. 1 real estate portal in the world.

Lead generation

7. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it

8. Of the traffic on Zillow, 70 percent on weekends comes from a mobile device — meaning the vast majority of those weekend searches are being conducted on mobile devices.

9. When you’re evaluating which lead generation tools work best for you, look at how many transactions closed from the lead source as opposed to the number of leads generated.

Notable gems

York Baur, the CEO of Moxi Works, shared three thoughts:

10. “The average agent has a database of 400 people. If the agent will diligently work with their database, that should be good for 20 deals a year.”

11. “If you have a team of three or less, you have no business chasing Internet leads. A 4 percent conversion rate is excellent. However, the actual rate is actually 1 percent. Consumers expect an immediate response. Unfortunately, the average response time for Internet leads is 15.3 hours.”

12. When you do reach an Internet lead, an important question to ask is, “Are there any houses that you would like to see this weekend?”


13. Vice President and General Manager of ListHub, Celeste Starchild, identified a significant new trend that Google has termed, “micro-moments.”

People check their phones 150 times per day. Their unlocked time with their phones averages 177 minutes per day. Today’s mobile user doesn’t have time for long moments. She only has time for stolen moments, 90 percent of which occur when she is out and about.

Starchild observes, “Print is no longer the starting place for today’s consumers. Connect the dots for your customers using bite-sized content. Explain the facts about buying a home in plain language that can be consumed in spare moments on their mobile devices.”


14. Out-of-the-box thinking is on the outside of the box.

15. In God we trust — everyone else, bring data.

16. Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist, keynoted on “living forever.” His observation is that we will eliminate many of the leading causes of disease in the near future.

He believes that longevity is tied to your mindset about the future. “People who see only a miserable decline in their future will be more likely to die. Those who look forward to optimal performance will live longer, higher quality lives,” he said.

Social media

17. Jeff Lobb, CEO of Spark Tank Media, recommended, “Take your digital marketing strategy, and change it to a visual marketing strategy. Pictures speak louder than words — use video, Instagram and Pinterest.”

18. Dusty Baker of Keller Williams Realty urged agents to use Instagram to reconnect with past clients. “It’s not as invasive since they choose to follow me.”

19. CrystalKnows is a social media aggregator. Their algorithm assesses individuals’ online communication style. It then advises you how to craft your communications to match that person’s style.

CrystalKnows is an excellent way to understand how new leads will interact with you and what type of person he or she is. On the other hand, not everyone approves of this approach:

According to The Guardian, “Email app Crystal claims to know how you like to be spoken to better than you do yourself — and it will tell you the same about others. Yep, it’s as creepy as it sounds.”


20. Steve Pacinelli explained that there is a strong flight to personal connection and being face-to-face. New tech tools such as Periscope allow agents to make off-the-cuff videos that speak to the heart, not the mind.

These generate engagement because they are real and authentic. Consequently, “Home tours are not the best spend. A great neighborhood video tour is worth the money to do it professionally, especially since it can have a shelf life of up to five years,” Pacinelli said.

Which of these takeaways will change your business? It’s the one that you read about today and that you implement tomorrow.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent

Email Bernice Ross.

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