We Go When You Can’t: Inman Connect San Francisco

Aug 22, 2017

The Inman Connect conference in San Francisco has come and gone. Not everyone was able to make it so I thought it would be valuable to do a recap of some of the things that came out during the conference.


If you’ve never been to an Inman conference before you should definitely plan to. It’s usually great content and the networking opportunities are second to none. The next one is in January in New York City. The hotel bar overlooks Times Square, its awesome!


Lead Conversion


The best part of the first morning was the panel on lead conversion with Rachel Adams, Jesse Zagorsky, and Keith Dunham. For reference, Rachel Adams converts online leads at 14%. That’s borderline ridiculous. The industry average is closer to 2%. The better agents are usually at 5%.


Anyone with skills like that is worth listening to.


Here are some of the things they do that you should adopt:


  • 30 Seconds or Less. That’s how long it should take you to follow up with a lead when it comes in. You often hear five minutes or less but 30 seconds is even stronger.
  • If you don’t connect in the first 30 seconds they’ve seen a massive drop off in the contact rate until about the 10-12th attempt at contact.
  • The leads aren’t weak, you’re weak. This was a common thread. You have to practice converting leads. A lead is a lead. Leads aren’t always stronger or weaker, someone clicked a button for a reason. You have to uncover what it is.
  • Rachel Adams said one of the main ways to contact a lead that gets a response is to call right away with a script along the lines of “Hey there, this is NAME with COMPANY, I just saw you registered on my website and just wanted to let you know that there’s a real person behind the website. I saw you were checking out ADDRESS, just calling to find out what’s going on in your situation.” and then go into finding out about them and their specific/unique situation. If you don’t get them on that first call, the one in less than 30 seconds, do a video of the same script and text it to them.
  • I’ll repeat that, if you don’t get them on the call right away then take the opportunity to text them!


It’s also important when you’re talking to leads to remember that the majority of them have most likely been in touch with another agent within the last 30 days. You have to work around that issue.


Katie Lance


Katie Lance also jumped on stage to share some of her best 5 tech tips in 5 minutes. (Side note: As a speaker, these short ones are always the hardest to pull off and Katie nailed it!). She talked about tools to help systemize your business. Mainly Trello, Slack, and Asana. Our team uses Trello and Slack and I think I’ll be looking into adding Asana if it makes sense on top of those or not. There’s always the risk of trying to bring in too many different “solutions”.


She also mentioned how to 10X your content creation (which we all need to do) and to create micro content. Tools to help with Micro content include Canva, Wordswag, and Together.


I’ve mentioned it many times and Katie did as well, the gold is in your email list. You can make such a big difference in your business if you’re properly leveraging your email list.


Then the final tip was about turning the online offline. This is important to remember when doing your online marketing. If its not geared towards all these relationships you’re building to having a face to face meeting then you wasted your time.


Katie Lance has made her slides and some information available for people to get their own copy at KatieLance.com/ICSF2017.


Other great insights from the morning include making sure you know the local real estate market data like the back of your hand. This includes absorption rate, DOM, average sales prices, etc… You can do everything you want to generate leads but if you don’t have the expertise you’ll never last.



Facebook & Instagram


One of the speakers mentioned boosting posts on Facebook, which if you follow me know that I say you should NEVER boost a post. If you want to promote a previously made post I recommend using the ads manager anyways to do it. Don’t always take everything said on stage as gospel, it can be wrong.


Scott Shapiro, from Facebook, also came to sell the audience on using Instagram. He talked about the newly released tool that allows listing data to be fed automatically into dynamic ads. This is a really interesting development but for individual listings I don’t think its the right tool. After listening to Scott for a little while he even confirmed it himself, its really meant for brokerages and brands, not individual brokers.


For individual agents he recommended using Lead Ads, similar to Facebook. We use these for our clients and while he spoke about how great Instagram ads are we can say that from our ads we get anywhere from 5-10x more leads from Facebook Lead Ads than Instagram Lead ads.



What real estate CRM should I use?


Stop if you’ve heard this question before? It’s a running joke in some real estate groups about how many times this question gets asked. The real thing here is that the right CRM for you is going to be unique to your needs. What you want it to do and a variety of other factors will determine which CRM is right for you. After all, as one of the speakers pointed out, the CRM is the pacemaker for the heartbeat of your business.


When evaluating CRM’s you should ask yourself five questions.


  1. What is the objective?
  2. What results do I want out of the system?
  3. What is your MUST haves?
  4. What is the desired life expectancy for the CRM?
  5. What is your budget?



Building a Proper Campaign


Jimmy Mackin, of Curaytor, spoke in a great breakout session that was so popular they had to open up the wall to the next room. He presented on what actually goes into a high performing campaign. It’s not a magic bullet that automatically gets you customers. It’s a specific strategy and series of ads.


The first round of ads goes to people who don’t know you to get them into your network. Then you run a second round of ads with valuable content to start building the know, like, and trust up. Then third round is a full retargeting campaign for everyone in the last 30 days who’ve been to your site or engaged with your content on Facebook. This is an oversimplification of the process but it was an hour presentation.


I can tell you from experience runnings campaigns similar to that with our clients, it works really well. Jimmy Mackin is one of the top Facebook marketers in the world for a reason!





Scott Stratten performed one of the best keynotes I’ve seen in years. It wouldn’t do it justice to try and recap everything he said. You should just follow Scott Stratten and learn more about his thesis.


The big takeaway is simple. If you want people to talk about you, then do things worth talking about! It’s that simple. To get people talking about you then you have to give them a reason.


Are you giving them a reason to talk about you?



Thrive, Not Survive


I’ve joked with many people that I go to conference so you don’t have to. There’s a reason I say this is a joke, because you should go to a few each year. You have to be strategic about which to go to and there’s definitely a line you can cross into too many conferences but you should be going.




Sometimes the best experiences, the best learning, and the best connections are made at conferences. From the lobby bar to dinners on the town with other attendees. This year was no different.


Billy Ekofo – do you know Billy? You should look him up, he’s awesome – organized a dinner for a small group on one of the first nights of the conference. At this dinner I had the pleasure of sitting next to Jim Walberg, one of the nicest people in real estate as it turns out.


He has an amazing life story worth listening to. Jim had cancer many years ago and was not given good odds of survival. Jim didn’t want to just survive, he wanted to thrive for a long time. Then he tied it into an amazing motivational comment. Life isn’t about surviving, it’s about thriving. Surviving means running a marathon and falling across the finish line, throwing up, and then sleeping for 3 days. You should be proud of your accomplishment, but imagine instead, you run across the finish line with your head held high and ready to go further.


When you set a goal you should never aim to fall over the line and just get there. You should be aiming to run up to your goal, hit it, and then keep running.


Thrive, don’t just survive.


Thank you for the inspiration Jim!



Looking forward to the next Inman Connect conference in New York. If you don’t have a ticket, you should get it here. (That’s not an affiliate link, I don’t have any special deals on tickets, but I still think you should go.)