We Go When You Can’t: ICNY 2018

Jan 29, 2018

When our team heads to a conference we like to take notes and share takeaways because we know if people went to every conference, they’d never have time to sell a house!

This recap is going to be a little different. Of the week long conference, due to a medical emergency, I was only actually able to attend a few hours before having to fly home. So this recap will be a combination of notes sent to me by others, and takeaways I found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Welcome to the hacked together special edition of “We Go When You Can’t: ICNY 2018 – I wasn’t actually there”!


Mobile First World & Facebook


As an ongoing theme over the years, mobile is becoming increasingly important. Now, its clear, it is the most important consideration when creating your online marketing. Scott Shapiro from Facebook was speaking and at Facebook, 93% of their monthly active users are ONLY on mobile.

That means that if you are not designing your website, landing pages, ads, and everything else for a mobile first experience you are missing out big time. People check their phones over 30 times per day.

Interestingly as well, Facebook came right out and said that likes, shares, and comments don’t drive business results. Leads do. Thats one of the reasons they created Lead Ads. TO make it as easy as possible for businesses to generate leads.

Lead ads work very well for creating quantity of leads. Although, in our experience here at Just Sell Homes, quality is still better using landing pages.


Consumer Trends


Approximately 70% of buyers and 74% of sellers will only ever talk to one agent. When you consider how many opportunities people have to speak to agents these days this is a very telling stat.

If you provide amazing service from an early point and stick to it, you could easily position yourself as that one agent they speak to. This is one of the reasons I personally prefer Facebook to Google. You get them at earlier stage BEFORE they start searching. They may require more follow up but you’re less likely to be in competition.

The most valued and sought after real estate agent traits according to the NAR Annual Buyer & Seller Survey:

  • 98% – Honesty & Integrity
  • 94% – Real Estate Knowledge
  • 93% Responsiveness
  • 49% Technology Skills

How Docusign works isn’t going to get you more clients. Being honest, knowing your market, and answering questions quickly will.

You should embrace technology for the benefits it can have to you and how it can improve your responsiveness but don’t be mistaken. Tech skills won’t be the difference between you getting clients and not getting them.




Brands still matter. A lot of people say that brands don’t matter and its the agent. There’s some validity to both BUT brands still matter. People are buying because of the agent but the brand conveys trust, legitimacy, and credibility.

Can you build up your own brand locally? Of course. If you look at a real estate brand like RE/MAX for example though, they are recognizable worldwide, there’s some instant credibility there.

We’ve tested this with several clients. Branded Ads, unbranded ads, branded ads with brand featured prominently. Here’s what we found: Local agents with a big branding in the area (ie. they are the most well known in the area) will trump everything in terms of results when marketing.

When we’ve tested agents with no brand recognition against unbranded ads, the results have been fairly similar although lead quality slightly better than the unbranded ads. However, when we ad some branding to it, the results do get better. For example, with one client we added the RE/MAX balloon to their ad image and it the response rate improved.


Because people trust what they know. They knew the brand, its like Coca-Cola. You’re way more likely to try a drink you have never seen if it has a Coca-Cola logo than a name you’ve never seen before.

There’s value in a brand BUT if you can effectively build yours there are diminishing returns on its value for you long term.


Lead Conversion


People fiercely believe in the speed to lead concept and the studies prove it out as well. Some are even switching phone providers because one company in an area delivers new leads faster.

If you contact a lead within 5 minutes, instead of waiting 10 minutes, there’s a 900% increase in contact rate! That’s how much speed can matter, especially when dealing with lower quality leads.

Some other interesting stats shared from some inside sales experts

  • 50% increase in chance of connecting if you call on a Thursday instead of a Tuesday
  • 30% of leads are never contacted at all
  • 90% of leads are contacted by the 6th try but only 10% of leads even ever get a 3rd try.
  • 75% of appointments are booked on the second contact with a prospect.


Katie Lance Keeps Delivering


Katie Lance, one of the most trusted in the social media space in real estate, keeps delivering great content. Probably why she keeps ending up on stages time and time again!

Talking about the new changes coming to Facebook, her thoughts echoed mine quite a bit, a big one is that Facebook Groups are going to become way more important. Join local groups, start your own, and start engaging and providing value like crazy.

In the section above this we talked about speed to lead. Do you know when that matters less? When you get leads that come from great content. Leads coming off your content are the best kind.

Facebook Live is going to become increasingly more important as time goes on. Start getting comfortable with it now. Its important to remember though when scheduling your Live videos that you don’t just tell people you’re going live, you need to give them a reason to tune in. What’s in it for them?

According to statistics from Katie, 82% of people would rather watch a video than read a blog (I’m in the 18% …most of the time😉). Start creating killer video content. You can still succeed with blogs in my opinion but video has amazing ROI.

Spend your time creating good content and cultivating relationships. Do not just push content out and be one-sided. Get out there and build the relationships with those engaging with your content too.

Want to see some examples of great content? Katie Lance recommends checking out Kelley Skar of Redline Real Estate. (Full Disclosure: Kelley is a friend of mine and I’m always happy to help give him a shout out because he’s doing great things but this one came from Katie, not me!)


Authenticity is Key


Dick Costolo, former CEO of Twitter, had a lot of great insights at the end (or so I was told).  At the end of the day though, it all came down to being authentic when you’re online.

Take a look at the Netflix Twitter account. IT doesn’t feel like other company accounts. It feels like they have a real person behind it with a real brand presence. It’s not pushing out corporate messaging, they are talking like people and being authentic.

Think about it in this perspective, when you go to a restaurant and ask a waiter for recommendations, how quickly can you tell when a waiter is just giving you an answer versus when they actually give you good advice?

You can tell the difference when they are being authentic and it means something. Take that method online and have what you say mean something. If you get people hating what you’re doing, you don’t have to engage with every “idiot on the internet”. If someone was randomly yelling in the street, would you engage? No, you just keep walking.

Facebook, and the other platforms will too, are going to go more away from news and more about social. Start truly embracing the social side of it now. Have an unfiltered strong point of view as a storyteller and you will continue to win.

Likes and followers are purely vanity metrics so stop putting all your attention on getting a bigger number.


The Overwhelming Message


Speaking to people attending the event, listening to social messages, and the time I was at the event before having to leave there was an overwhelming message.

Tell Stories.

With your listings, with your ads, with everything you do to run your business, tell stories. Nothing will grow your business more than telling stories through our business. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, you aren’t a real estate agent anymore, you’re a media company.

This is the new reality. Start telling the stories in your community and watch your business grow.


Random Notes


Biometrics are coming last to an airport near you. Lines will be shorter and you’ll be able to go through security even faster with facial recognition and fingerprints. At the beginning it will be a designated fast lane but with increased security it may become the norm.

Now imagine that came to real estate? Instead of lockboxes they had little cameras that let agents in using facial recognition and finger prints?

On the topic of tech in your home, are you prepared to deal with smart technology in homes? When the home sells, do you know how to make sure your clients get the proper access and ensure no one else has access to the technology in the home? If you don’t, this is something you should start educating yourself on immediately.


Stay tuned for Inman Connect New York 2019 where I’ll hopefully be able to stay the whole week and do a way more in depth post with takeaways.