4 Questions a Real Estate Tech Conference Will Never Answer!

While returning from the REtech South Conference event Saturday morning I was reflecting on Friday’s sessions. I’m convinced there are a handful of questions we will never fully agree on that are often brought up during these conferences. Some issues will continue to be debated and cause many in the real estate industry to ponder for themselves.

Asking Questions and Drilling Deeper is a Good Thing!

Questioning how concepts in real estate marketing and technology work in our business is critical to the ongoing refinement and development ofQuestions We Often Hear best practices for the future. Do these topics polarize people? Sure! I, for one, think we should ponder these questions too if for no other reason than to consider all the options. These 4 unanswerable questions include:

Forced MLS Search Registration Versus Free Access?

Yes, the great MLS search registration debate continues to rage on and it reared it’s head again at the REtech South event too. Here are the two obvious schools of thought:

  1. Require your Internet Empowered Consumer to provide their email address and name to search hence growing your “leads” database
  2. Position yourself to be the FREE giver of MLS data and empower your consumer

I suggest you think of it this way, either or be viewed as the “old-school gatekeeper” of information and force people to part ways with their precious email address and name or be viewed as the “giver” of information. When “working your leads list”, don’t forget to calculate the hours you waste err.. spend eliminating bogus “leads”. There is another bit of baggage that comes with this “holdem hostage” forced registration philosophy. If your site visitor knows you are blatantly withholding helpful MLS information, do you suppose they form an opinion that says “what other information is this agent with withholding from me that would be helpful to me in my real estate transaction”?

Friends and Followers – Quality Versus Quantity?

When it comes to having online social community of friends which is correct – quality or quantity? This very topic was debated by REtech South panelists during one of the main stage afternoon sessions. One school of thought is to have an incredibly wide net of “followers” giving the real estate professional the largest pool of “potential” clients possible to draw upon. Of course, the opposite approach is to have a smaller community of well-connected “friends” who you know well and who know you equally well. To me that’s the definition of a friend relationship anyway. There are many “friend” relationships online that are very superficial that should be categorized as acquaintances if we are using the proper meanings for these terms. Is there a right or wrong answer to this debate? It depends on who you ask. Honestly, I’m still processing this one.

How Much Time Do You Invest in Online Social Networking?

That’s the third mystical question that is often asked especially by those just now entering into social media. Is there a “right” or “wrong” answer? It depends on who you ask and what they define as “work” versus “play”. Because I love my job, I find it difficult to separate work from play and I’m sure there are others in RE.net who feel the same way.

How Often Should I Post on My Real Estate Blog?

We get this question asked to us often during our Blogging Bootcamps and you will hear asked at REBar Camps and RE conferences everywhere. When we turn this question around and poll other real estate bloggers, the answers are as diverse as the audience we poll. Is there a right or wrong answer of just how much time you should invest in blogging, I guess one could say it depends on the individual. If you write blog posts all day long and ignore your clients, that is obviously the wrong time investment answer. To learn more about this question I suggest you read Brad’s take on the topic of Blog Less Often and Reach More People.

In conclusion, these are the common questions we hear at all real estate technology, blogging, and marketing¬† conferences these days. The answers you hear depend on who you ask. How would you briefly answer these questions if you were asked. Hint-hint, I’m asking…..

Bobby Carroll

P.S. In case you missed it, Brad (@dakno) and I (@rewebcoach) just returned today from a fantastic few days in Duluth, GA for the REtech South Conference. Brad was asked to speak in a breakout session on the topic of Driving Insane Traffic to Your Real Estate Blog. In addition, we also provided a live stream of Friday’s main stage sessions via our new multi-media real estate marketing website – dakno.tv. We even created a new REtech South Speakers Dinner video and placed it on YouTube. I used my new Flip camera to video the event and it is so awesome!

7 thoughts on “4 Questions a Real Estate Tech Conference Will Never Answer!

  1. I must agree with these questions never being answered-the standard two sides to every issue. MLS Access has been given so its hard to control and should we? I like quality-that is what makes friendships- but there is a good argument for quantity as far as reaching as many people as possible for leads.
    Everyday we network, so why should social networking be any different. Its easy to do now with technology-smart phones, video, all tools that we use each day! Great post!!Keep up the good info!

  2. All interesting questions and the very ones I would have asked if I had been there.

    I happen to be in the “free access to the MLS” school. Years ago I used a “registration system” and it worked well because there wasn’t that much else out there. Now, the MLS is everywhere so forcing people to register is a real turn off and a waste of time. If they like me, great. If not, I don’t like them either!

    I like quality over quantity but how do you know? I’ve only been on Facebook maybe a year and brand new to Twitter and all I find are people in the same profession. I don’t quite see how this will help with my business but, hey, you never know.

    Finally, this beats the heck out of door knocking or cold calling or sending out a gazillion post cards or putting my face on grocery carts. It takes time and the time can get away from me if I’m not careful.

    I’m convinced that the next generation of home buyers/sellers are using social media to connect. Now, I just have to figure out how to get the exposure so that someone will raise their hand and say, “I want YOU to be my Realtor.”.

  3. A good conference leaves you with as many questions as answers, but with a backdrop of robust discussion and debate.

    The “amout of time spent on SM” is a great discussion point, and to me requires a measure of balance like anything else. We couldn’t really function without email or meetings, but either taken to the extreme is a complete time-waster. Same with social media. I don’t think you can create arbitrary rules that apply to everyone (ie “FB in the morning,” “twitter at night,” “scheduled SM sessions,” etc.), but folks should learn how to weave it into their schedules and make a conscious effort to keep it constructive. I saw a tweet yesterday about how using SM without a strategy is pointless. Completely agree.

    Great stuff, Bobby. I hope to see you and Brad at REBCPHL!

  4. It was great to see you both again.

    I’m in the middle of registration, what I mean by that is a show them what they are going to see, how many, photos, maps, google satellite images. So they are not filling out a blank form. Heck they can do that anywhere as I would say the majority do not require registration. Since I have 4 sites it is easy to track where my closings are coming from. 44% of all my closings last year from sites that require email and phone numbers. 8% from non registering sites.

    Yes there are bogus leads but I am willing to sort through them to get the buyer to the closing table.

    I have a profile on many social networks but participate in 3-4 some everyday. That is realistic for me. Not all of them are real estate related.

    I learn new things from every conference I attend.

  5. Times do change! A good site with lots of local info can get by without having prospects sign in. I get a lot of e-mails detailing to me what the clients want. These are the best leads to get along with the ones that just pick up the phone and call. Many will avoid signing in but will call or e-mail.

  6. Karen – There are those in our industry who seem to have found a formula for success with forced MLS sign up (as with Missy). It depends on what works for you and what your philosophy is in this matter. I do tend to lean toward the “quality of relationships versus quantity camp”. Technology has in fact made participation in social networks easier. I agree with @ResPres (Jeff Turner), it’s important to remember the “human factor” when networking and don’t allow the tools to get in the way of the ultimate goal – face to face encounters(#f2f). Lastly, when attending conferences and REBar Camps, my goal is to always discover a couple of “gold nuggets” as take-aways, then implement those “aha” moments as soon as I realistically can so ROI of the trip is realized! Thanks for your comment.

  7. My two cents: Most agents look for black and white guidance, but these are “eternal” questions that don’t have right or wrong answers. Individual conclusions ought to be determined, as with most grey issues, by balancing personal philosophy, policy and pragmatic considerations, i.e., what do you feel good about that works for you? FWIW, I’m in the open access to information and the quality over quantity camps.

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