Five Things I Learned at #NARAnnual2017

Warren Dow
Five Things I Learned at #NARAnnual2017

Every year the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) Annual Conference and Tradeshow becomes more valuable.  Through its panels, presentations, networking and tradeshow, NAR is a great place to learn more about Real Estate’s vendors, solutions, and pressing topics.
Here are the top 5 things I learned this year:

  1. It’s All About the Face-to-Face

    Seeing friends, clients, and colleagues, new and old, is one of the most enjoyable and beneficial aspects to industry events.  Putting a face to a name strengthens the relationships you have. Whether it’s meeting a client you’ve talked with on the phone a hundred times, or catching up with someone who lives in another part of the country, NAR Annual provides the opportunity to collaborate.  Working together we’ll make this industry much stronger than by working on our own.
  2. Transaction Management Is HOT Right Now, and for Good Reason

    Transaction Management is becoming critical to the operations of a brokerage and the day to day of an agent. Whether it’s organizing your deal forms, streamlining with electronic signature, or tracking your deal requirements for accountability, transaction management saves time and can shorten the lead to close cycle. Efficiency is key and we could all use a digital accountability partner.  
  3. Future of Tech

    The next set of technology disruption is likely going to come from Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence.  These two technologies were talked about in great depth throughout the event, and in particular at the Emerging Business Issues & Technology Forum.  Both of these technological innovations are all about big data: one to manage the data and the other to harness the power of it.

    • Blockchain focuses on the management of data, essentially creating a secure digital repository of all paperwork and information connected to a property and transaction.  This could allow insurance, mortgage, title and real estate agents to all use a single secure system to manage the documents connected to a transaction, eliminating the need for duplicate data entry and potential errors.

    • Artificial Intelligence is focused on harnessing the power of our data. The applications for AI are limitless, but one that stood out to me is the ability to improve ad targeting for lead generation by identifying certain patterns of people who are more likely to sell their home soon.

  4. Vendors Get More and More Impressive

    Our industry is rapidly evolving and vendors help drive that change.  This year the vendors were nothing short of impressive, as expected.  Here are a few that stood out:

    • RingByName and their Caller Intelligence tool provides powerful data about who they’re speaking with including contact info, financial details, current home information and social media pages, all designed to help you guide your conversations and make your calls more personal.

    • Structurely is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) SMS Chat bot, for lead follow up, scheduling, and more, with the added benefit of human backup if the AI can’t answer a question from the lead.

    • CentrIQ is a tool that uses photos you take of your appliance’s product labels to create a digital encyclopedia of your home, with product manuals, instructional videos, parts ordering and more.

  5. Simplicity Rules over Functionality

    Brokers and agents need simple solutions to complex problems. While system enhancements improve user experience and overall functionality, adoption is more critical to Brokerages, MLS’s and Associations, alike.  The value technology brings to the table is often defined by the rate of adoption across a group of agents. While features that are more robust may help a select few, a more streamlined, simple software solution will improve adoption rates and the overall value to the brokerage or organization.
  6. Bonus Takeaway – Be Good to Yourself!

    Make no mistake, conferences are hard work!  Make sure to stay hydrated and to eat whenever you have the opportunity.  Between education sessions, hallway conversations, walking the tradeshow floor, and industry events, it’s important to maintain your energy to go home just as healthy as when you showed up.

Not only was the conference amazing, but the city of Chicago was a great host.  I look forward to what Boston has to offer next year for #NARAnnual2018!