Takeaways from a gathering in Dallas

Dallas, Texas.

The annual Real Trends Gathering of Eagles Conference just concluded. I have about five hours of down time before I swing over to DFW and begin the long, multi-connection flight home to California.

My observations, takeaways and random thoughts on the event follow.

Over brunch one morning, a broker shared the issues his firm faces and suggested they might be better resolved by closing it down and starting over. It seemed to make more sense financially and spiritually then attempting to fix all that is wrong.

His brand once meant something in their local market. That was eons ago. Before the web. Before national franchising spread like a California wildfire. Today, his brand has little meaning in the marketplace. It’s a Pontiac. Existing on the fumes of a duel barrel engine that gets only a few miles to the gallon.

In all, I had heart-to-heat chats with several dozen brokers. I was impressed by all of them. These are smart business people. They once soared high over the plains of real estate. Today, with wings clipped by the events of the last three years, they exhibit a wide range of problems.

During these discussions, I listened. Advised only when asked. For some, they just needed to vent.

Yet all is not lost. Hope descended through the room through in different ways.

Pat Lashinsky of Zip Realty talked about their feverish focus on the consumer. Their incredible investment in their website and the qualifying tenets of their lead generation process. Contrary to the typical agent rhetoric that downplays the professionalism of a Zip Realty agent, the firm boasts a whopping 96% approval rating by consumers who report through surveys their pleasure working with the brand and willingness to become repeat customers.

Michael Golden of @properties [Disclosure: @properties is a 1000WATT Consulting client] talked about how they achieved #1 market share in Chicago in just eight years. This is a young company, with young energy and management staff born of the new age of business management. They treat their agents with a kindness and respect that is unheralded in real estate. They have figured out how to recruit, train and effect agent loyalty and have a retention rate that is the envy of all brokerages.

As I prepare to head out into the sauna that is Dallas and sweat my way over to the airport, I’ll close with a few standout moments:

•    A surprised but newly enlightened broker who closed a $2,000,000 sale days before from his Facebook page. •    Old ideas continue to waft out from vendor speakers. I had to refrain twice from standing up and heckling. If only the brokers who lined up afterwards to learn more knew better. •    People irresponsibly refer certain vendors to others based on familiarity, not merit, passing them off to brokers as best in class. Brokers need to do their homework and not take these referrals on face value. •    Attending these conferences is worthwhile. Those brokers who saved themselves the $1,000 by not coming are penny wise and pound-foolish. •    I do not do well in humidity. I love Texas but only from October – March.

– Davison Twitter:1000wattmarc