• You don't have to hide your inner crazy.
  • Don't choose a brokerage based on fees.
  • As a broker, be in touch with your company's culture and foster learning.

At ICNY, I flew my freak flag. I flew it high and proud. And you know what happened? Other people flew theirs, and we all came together with our own oddities, vulnerabilities and stories. It was beautiful and empowering. There’s a reason why it’s called Inman Connect.

Some people call it a tribe. I call it “my crazies.” For anyone who knows me, this makes complete sense. For the better part of my life, I tried to hide my own crazy. People judged me for it, and not in a kind way. But a few years ago, I watched “The Family Stone,” and a shift happened.

Luke Wilson’s character, Ben Stone, said “You have a freak flag. You just don’t fly it.” That’s when it clicked. We’re all crazy, and that’s f*cking brilliant.

So while at #ICNY136ea8dec48c233c636461a8587bb79e, as I listened to speakers including Seth Godin, Leigh Brown and Team Diva Real Estate, one thing hit me over and over again: stop fitting in, stand in the light, don’t be afraid to be yourself and let the right people gravitate toward you. Stop chasing everyone else; everyone else doesn’t matter.

What does this mean for agents?

1. You don’t need to chase leads

You’ve got people who love you and want you to succeed. Reach out to those people. Love them hard. Spend your time, energy and money on them.

2. Don’t hide behind your computer screen

Get out in front of people and be of service. Pick up the phone — even if you’re embarrassed that you haven’t talked to them in years.

3. Use technology that brings you closer to your clients

Don’t use things that build barriers. Provide value with every interaction, and stop worrying that you’re going to be replaced by technology.

4. Don’t choose a brokerage based on fees

Choose a brokerage based on its principles and what you experience. As Seth Godin said “Don’t sort by price; you will never win.” Instead find the one that excites you when your feet hit the floor in the morning.

5. Be remarkable

Make sure people will miss you if you’re gone. Give people a chance to talk about you.

What does this mean for brokerages?

1. Look beyond lead generation

Look toward referral generation. Referrals are the key, so empower your agents to reach out and ask for the business.

2. Let people experience your culture

If you don’t know what it is, you’re in trouble. Are you focused and steadfast, or are you quirky and free-spirited? It’s OK to choose. In fact, you should choose, and you should live it every day.

3. Don’t keep people who don’t fit in just to fill seats

Everyone at your office should be an ambassador of your brand. Focus on having the best agents, not the most agents.

4. Be valuable

Be humble. Be transparent. Be personal, and always bring value.

5. Challenge your agents to learn and grow

Offer the best training possible, and don’t be afraid if your agents choose to get outside coaching. It’s good for them to have skin in the game.

6. Acknowledge without judgement

But hold people accountable.

My biggest takeaway from ICNY 2016 is not so much just about real estate, but about how we choose to live. We can hide, or we can reveal ourselves. We can shame others for speaking up, or we can stand with them when the fire comes.

We can let our mistakes ruin us, or we can get back up. We can drift around in a field of sameness, or we can be the purple cow. We can complain about the bad agents, or we can help guide them to be better. We can hide our crazy, or we can let our freak flag fly.

My crazies are my sanity. I can’t imagine a life without them. Whether you were able to attend Inman Connect, get out there and fly your flag. Allow yourself to be surprised by the outcome.

Sunny Lake is the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Bellingham, Washington. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Email Sunny Lake.

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