NAR Convention 2009 – The Exhibit Hall

The National Association of REALTORS held its convention this weekend in San Diego (my home), so I took today to go down and walk through the exhibit hall.  I’ve done this many times before and find it a good way to get the pulse of the business and spot new or at least interesting things.  Here’s what I noticed this year:

  • Only a handful of the large national real estate firms were present.  Of course, Realogy was there with CB, C21, ERA and BH&G in their booth.  Prudential was down the aisle a bit.  And Keller-Williams was there . . . so was Exit.  Oh, and Re/Max.  But that was about it.  And truth is:  most of the booths were pretty empty. 
  • There were tons of exhibitors focused on Short Sales and REOs.  Some were networks you could join, others offered training and there were a few vendors with software for managing the process.  It seemed pretty clear, though, if there is a focus, REOs and Short Sales are it.
  • Actually, there were very few people in the exhibit hall.  Now, it was the last day, and many were probably in meetings, but I remember years past there being crowds pushing through the aisles.  Not so today. 

I saw only a few things that really excited me:

  • Listingbook.  I’ve already written about it here.  But after wandering the Exhibit Hall and looking at everything that hopes to be similar, I discovered that nothing else comes close.  Listingbook is absolutely the best way to share market data and listing information with your clients and potential clients.  It keeps you in control and delights them.  I had a meeting with their VP of Sales and we will be doing some things with them very soon.  Stay tuned.
  • David Knox.  Sometimes what’s tried and true can be fresh and new.  David’s message has always been spot on and now, with some upgraded technology, I think he’s in an excellent place to reach even more people.  He’s spoken at Help-U-Sell conventions in the past and something tells me we’ll be seeing more of him in the future.
  • RepTech.  They have software that will let you doctor interior and exterior property photos to look as they would if the house was fixed up!  Particularly valuable in distressed property situations where it’s important for the customer to see what might be possible, the software shows how the place would look with fresh paint, new landscaping, a pool and more.  The lady who did the demo for me ripped the carpet out of this living room, put down hardwood floors and an oriental rug and changed the drapes and it was easy.
  • WindowVision.  Remember how we used to post photos and descriptions of our listings in our storefront windows?  Well, some of us still do, but these guys have put that idea on steroids.  Photos of individual listings are displayed in a lightbox (so they are illuminated and beautiful) and each has a 3 digit number.  A customer wanting more information about a listing, walks a couple of steps to the right where there is an actual touch screen device in the window that allows them to access and view more photos and information about the listing on a flat panel display.  You can even wire up a speaker and they can hear a description while viewing.  This all happens outside your office — at any time of the day or night.  Now,  here’s what I saw:  You could work with these folks to build a small self-contained mall kiosk that could really make a statement and pick up some leads.  They’ve actually done this and have examples to show.  WindoVision demo
  • Finally, I found a memorable chatchkie.  Moments to Remember USAis doing a calendar that might actually be kept and used by your customers.  It comes on an 8.5 x 11 inch laminated background with a photo of their house and your photo and contact information.  The calendar itself is two full years in length (from the day of closing) and each page is big enough for a few notes to be added each day.  It’s attractive, it features their house and you and actually has some shelf life.  All for $21.90.

4 thoughts on “NAR Convention 2009 – The Exhibit Hall”

  1. James, thanks for the convention post. Our buyer specialists use Listingbook regularly and have for five years. It’s a great tool. I’m intrigued by the possibility of HUS “doing something with them.” Please don’t keep it a secret for long!

  2. It won’t be a secret. I’m hopeful that by the end of first quater 2010, you’ll be able to include the Listingbook ‘Search the MLS just like an agent’ sign up box right on your Help-U-Sell website . . . and a few other enhancements, too.

    1. That would be very cool. The Listingbook service I am familiar with requires that an agent give a user an account. Is there a public portal that does not? I assume a user coming through HUS would be required to sign in and an auto email sent to the office? I mean it wouldn’t be open access would it?

      1. The only way any consumer gets access to Listingbook is through an agent. You give the account. Sometimes it’s a passive process where the customer finds the ‘Search the MLS just like an agent’ button on the agent’s website, and sometimes it’s an active process, where you offer it to a buyer lead or to someone in your client base. But in all cases, you have to approve the request and everytime they log in they are reminded how they got the account. If Listingbook is in your MLS, go get trained NOW. There’s too much to this to figure out on your own. They do hold regular webinars, so that might be the easiest route. Also, their help desk is awesome and they will spend whatever time it takes to get you started. Good Luck.

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