Ahhhh. That’s what I feel every year at this time. The NAR Expo is history and the Help-U-Sell Success Summit is done for another year.
I had lots of anxiety going into this year’s Summit. Last year’s event was so good I thought it would be hard to top. Also, our numbers were down slightly because of the location. Not that Orlando isn’t a great place for a meeting, it’s just that the largest concentration of Help-U-Sell brokers is in the West and they pretty much stayed home. One of our newest members, Kurt Steffein, made the haul from California (and what a wonderful energy he brought along), and Lona Murphy from Oregon surprised everyone by showing up unannounced! A special thank you goes out to both of them. But as we set the room for the meeting, we kept adding chairs and adding chairs, and by the time Jack Bailey rolled in with his entire Coaching Group in tow, we were about 30 people.
I could go on and on about who came and the nuggets they shared, but here’s something that’s more important: It was once again, a great meeting. There is excitement about the business and the the opportunities bursting forth over the next several years. Our crew is hungry and ready – their enthusiasm and love for what they do hasn’t paled in the downturn of the last few years. Everybody who attended stayed fully engaged for the entire meeting. We had no dropouts and no nod-offs. Conversation was lively and productive. And there was something else about this group that came through loud and clear – they all genuinely like and care for each other. We talk about a Help-U-Sell Family a lot, and I know, that language is typical of a lot of real estate organizations. But here it means something. It really does.
What were the key messages of this meeting? There were many, but here’s what I take away:
This year – and next year – are OUR years. For the first time in a long time, sellers with equity are returning to the market. That’s our target. Always has been. We have a huge competitive advantage in a marketplace where Joe and Sally Homeowner want to sell, because Joe and Sally also want to save – and that’s what we’re all about: selling and saving. After slogging through a market where many if not most of our sellers were . . . banks . . . who really couldn’t care less about what makes us unique, special and better, we are once again going to be in the driver’s seat.
That’s great, but it also means we have to return to an old habit that we’ve gotten away from in recent years: marketing. We have to dust off our logos (so to speak) and go back to spreading the word that we are here, people use us, it works and they save money. The way we spread that word has changed somewhat. It’s much more electronic and frankly, less costly. But make no mistake about it: as right as the timing is, it will mean nothing if we don’t re-invest in marketing who we are and what we do.
We are real estate people (thank goodness!) and as such are people people. The highest and best use of our time is usually to be face to face with consumers. However, there is an electronic universe in which the people we need to be talking to are living, at least part-time. We have to be comfortable with that electronic landscape, with how it works and how to position ourselves within it. I know, for most of us, that means hiring someone to manage our online presence; but even then, we have to have a basic understanding of how the Internet works from a marketing standpoint and how to take advantage of the huge opportunities there.
We are exceptionally blessed to have Robbie Stevens, Tony Tramontano, and everyone else at Help-U-Sell dedicated to securing our position in this new world and patiently nurturing our collective understanding. I saw so many lights going on in that room the last couple of days as Robbie worked through some of the basics of our own Office Management System. I think we’re all going home more comfortable and a little wiser.
I also remain in awe of Ron McCoy. Of the Corporate team, he has the greatest longevity – about 12 years – but it’s much more than that. In addition to all of the history, the great ups and downs of Help-U-Sell, he has a depth of understanding of what makes us tick and how to turn that into business success. He has a great strategic mind and his attitude is unflagging. After a grueling hour of tool after tool with an Internet marketing ‘guru,’ Ron showed us how to use Instagram to improve our online impact. He showed us, we did it, we had fun, and we got it. If you don’t believe me, check Facebook for yesterday, Nov. 13, and you’ll see a whole passel of pictures of Ron during the presentation, taken and posted via Instagram.
Mostly we are blessed to have such a delightful, scrappy team. So many of the people who attended the meeting joined the Franchise in 2005 and 2006 – at the onset of the worst real estate market in history. And they are still here, still strong, still smiling and many have done much more than simply survive. Many have built remarkable businesses as one after another of their traditional competitors have downsized, consolidated and gone out of business. It’s always been great to be Help-U-Sell. It’s once again a great time to be Help-U-Sell.