RETSO Summary – Part 1 of 2

I just got back from one of the best real estate technology event – RETSO (ReTechSouth). RETSO organizers say that the event is for doers. Indeed. If you are a doer and attended the event, you must have loved it. If you are not doing lot of stuff speakers talked about then you must now be motivated and have all the information you need to start doing. RETSO organizers had definitely put together a great team of speakers – each of them really the best at what they do.

Here is a quick summary of the event and sessions I attended-

1) Opening keynote speech by Jeff Turner

Speech/Session Summary

Jeff Turner at RETSO
Jeff was brutally honest in challenging status quo and saying things against social media usage in real estate industry. Jeff went to the extent of saying -

“Social networking is NOT working & Social Notworking is working beautifully”

The key idea behind his speech was to inform agents to not just broadcast any and every message on all social media outlets which not only is more work for agents but also just adds to the clutter that prospects and customers already get in their social media stream so the ROI does not seem to be worth the effort. Jeff also told a story about an agent who dumped their social media channels and just went old school way of making connections with real users in real life and doubled their sales in matter of months. Along with a lot of other tips, one of the other biggest point he mentioned is that agents do NOT need a “Social Media Strategy” or a strategy for every social media outlet. If you hear someone you say – You need a [insert a social media site name] strategy, steer clear of that thought. Lastly but importantly, real estate agents should focus on the things that directly matter to their business and following the new shiny technology trends is not one of them. TheGeekyGirls captured this in their tweet exactly and correctly -

Stop chasing tends. There are tools that do certain things – you need to determine if they work in YOUR business model

IMHO

Jeff Turner at RE Tech South
I could not have agreed more with Jeff. It was after a long time I heard someone give a true picture about social media usage to agents. I have always been of similar opinion and think each and every agent need to craft their very own marketing plan (which includes the social media marketing efforts). What works for others might not work for you. On top of everything, be your critic for what you put out there. If you are adding just volume and no value – PLEASE STOP. It is not good for humanity and it is not good for your business.

twitter @jeffturner

2) Listen & Don’t be insane by @gahlord

Speech/Session Summary

Gahlord’s presentation was about how organizations can use technology to gather feedback and analytics to determine what the customers want to tell about their likings and dislikings. The content of the presentation was simple yet deep. Gahlord said some really neat points that every organization can learn from like -

  1. “Listening IS a strategy” tweeted by Lori Bee
  2. “What most people call strategy is just a plan. Strategy is bigger.” tweeted by Jeff Turner
  3. “Focusing your efforts on tech & timing is a problem. They’re 2 things over which you have no control” tweeted by Jeff Turner
  4. “Capturing feedback from real human interaction is far more valuable than the social media monitoring and analytics” tweeted by Tourzilla

IMHO

I enjoyed Gahlord’s session a lot because I share the geeky element with him. He is a lot more knowledgable than I am though so there is a lot of learn from him. I was able to catch up with him after the session and really enjoyed talking to him. His session was all about making best of the feedback we get directly or indirectly from our customers and prospects. Just the listening to the feedback signal could be a single biggest learning source and key to success for any organization.

twitter @gahlord

3) They found your site. Heres how to make them “click” by Dan Green

Speech/Session Summary

Dan Green at RETSODan started the session by sharing the conversion funnel to explain different stages in an online traffic conversion life cycle. He also talked about the heat maps from research done to show how users consume the content on any web page – which is basically a big F shaped pattern and which is why how critical it is to place the most important stuff and call to actions somewhere on the left top corner. Dan also talked about the importance of well designed landing pages in conveying the purpose of the site and converting visitors into leads and then users/buyers. Dan also shared an experience where placing a call to action link up higher in an article and more than just once increased the conversion rate by 5 times. Dan’s session had a lot of practical hands-on kind of tips for the agents to try on that will provide immediate ROI as long as the changes are implemented, measured and analyzed. Dan stressed quite a bit on communicating the importance of well web design and the fact that visit to your sites don’t pay you and conversion is the bridge that leads visitors to become users. The most important statistic that Dan shared is that

the lead to user/buyer conversion chances increases almost 35000 (yes, 35 thousand) if an agent replies to a visitor query within 5 mins.

IMHO

Being a Loan Officer, Dan is quite deeply knowledgable of site designs and site traffic conversion techniques. He knows his stuff and is very smart in utilizing (almost exploiting :) ) technology to improve his business. In my opinion, perfecting website design is a much more basic step than the social media marketing. Agents who do not even have their own website (company / broker websites do not qualify) should not even have a twitter account. It is a strong statement but the goal here is to stress on the importance of having a website. Like Dan said – Your website is your sales agent working 24×7 only on your behalf. Please do yourself a favor and create/upgrade your website. If you have any questions about this, I can definitely answer those. I will also be writing couple of blog posts about how agents can plan technology expansion for their business.

 

twitter @mortgagereports

4) Grid (Rapid) Session on Responsive Web design by Todd Carpenter Todd Carpenter

Speech/Session Summary

Todd Carpenter at RETSOTodd talked about the pressing need to make changes to the website to be able to render the best possible view according to the device and resolution of the device. Todd presented some good examples of how other sites are achieving this.

IMHO

There is no question about the need to support different devices and screen sizes but in my opinion, agents need to fix other problems first with their website like changes to web design to improve the conversion rate and SEO and all that. Heres why – most of the time buyers uses mobile devices to browse listings when they are driving by the neighborhood they are interested in during the weekend. At such time, they are much more likely to use an app like Zillow, Trulia or such for browsing the listing and not agent’s website. With that said, I am not undermining the importance of responsive web but just that its not on the top of the priority list at the moment.

twitter @tcar

4) Grid (Rapid) Session on Future of Curation by Daniel RothamelDaniel Rothamel

Speech/Session Summary

Daniel was probably the most energetic speaker on the stage and talked very generically about how we need more filters and less content – which is the curation we need really. Daniel also said that we have to learn from our mistakes and have to stop following the “Content is king” mantra. Daniel mentioned his goal of the speech was to sow a seed in the mind of the listeners so that everyone starts thinking about how we can start filtering good content out not while just receiving but also during posting. He also stressed to not confuse aggregation with curation.

IMHO

Daniel was great and clearly communicated the messages he wanted to communicate. He mentioned upfront that the goal of the speech was not to talk about a specific tool or approach but to just drop this thought in people’s mind about how so much crappy content is getting put on the web because we are still operating the guidelines of “content is the king”. I could not agree more with him.
twitter @drothamel

Second part of this article to cover remaining of the sessions will be written soon.

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