Connect the Speakers: Teacher of the Year Nathan Bowling on building relationships

"Building better relationships is not a luxury; it’s a necessity"

We’ve all had a teacher who spoke to us at a deeper level and who helped us become better people. Nathan Bowling has been that teacher for his students; he operates the Nerd Farmer podcast, where he mines guests for details about how to live and connect in better ways, and he was Teacher of the Year in Washington state in 2016 and a national finalist.

Bowling is always thinking about how to build relationships with all his students to help them distinguish themselves. “I have a philosophy background,” Bowling noted, “and I live and work in the community where I teach, so I’m constantly trying to build better connections.” He will be talking about how to take relationship skills beyond the classroom at Inman Connect New York, January 29 through February 1 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square.

Tell us a little more about your session. How will it address how the industry can embrace the shifting market?

Building better relationships is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. An agent who’s unable to differentiate himself isn’t going to survive in the long-term. I often talk about how in 20 years there will be half as many teachers as there are today because of things like Khan Academy and blended online and classroom environments. If people can get everything you can offer in an app, they’re going to start using the app. The discount agents are going to become a larger portion of the population in the business, and the firms that survive will be the ones who make themselves irreplaceable.

Agents and brokerages have to have their fingers on the pulse of their community, and I’m going to talk about three agents who are doing that in my community. What’s the add-on that you provide that make yourself essential? You have to bring something to the table for the community.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities to focus on in the real estate industry right now?

One of the places where NAR gets it wrong is on tax policy. We had a situation here in Washington State where there was an insurgency within the Washington Realtors Association about excise taxes and school funding. If your position is, “I don’t want to fund schools that will produce a more educated populace because I want to make an 8th of a percent more of commission or save 1 percent in taxes,” you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Agents are part of the business community, but their needs long-term are very much tied to the health of the community where they’ve served. Property values are tied to school performance, and if you have healthy school performance, property values will go up. There’s a very cliche thing about Native American families thinking seven generations in advance, but in your business and my business, you have to be thinking into the next quarter at least.

What are your hopes for the next 12 months, and what will you be working on?

2019 will be my 14th year in teaching, and I want to continue working and serving with students. This will be my fourth talk that I’ve given to the real estate industry, and I very much want to keep having difficult conversations with people as an outsider who’s not in the profession. I have insights and points of view and angles that they don’t have. So I want to keep challenging agents and brokerages to do the right things for their communities.

Discover the opportunities in a changing market at Inman Connect New York, January 29 – February 1. Jumpstart 2019 with tactical takeaways, unlimited networking and thought-provoking speakers. Learn more.

Thinking about bringing your team? You may qualify for special group perks! Contact us to learn more.