5 Trends from Inman Connect that Have nothing to do with Technology

Inman Connect,  a real estate technology conference, was this month in San Francisco. Connect is always full of bright people talking about interesting things.  What struck me in both discussions and sessions this year was how many of the conversations had very little to do with technology.  Here are some key takeaways from the most recent Inman Connect. 

1.  The Power of People

There was a lot of talk about the importance of training and working with the right people.  There was also a trend around being the type of agent you would want to hire when finding your next home.  While a lot of this felt like going back to basics, it was a good reminder that in real estate, we are all in the people business and surrounding yourself with the right people is critical to success.

If you aren't going to invest in people, get ready to pay for their mistakes

- Alyssa Hellman

2. Go Communal 

As a real estate expert, you are representing the community in which you serve.  It's not just about beds and baths but your knowledge of the local area that builds credibility.  The only way to really be an expert is to actively participate in your community.  This is not something you can dial in, this is something you must invest your time, energy, and effort in cultivating.

"If you have to tell people you're active in your community, you aren't."

- Scott Straten

3. Beyond beds and baths

This has been a common theme for years, but there was a common theme of lifestyle and neighborhood gaining importance in real estate.  With campaigns like Trulia's "The House is Only Half of It," more and more people were talking about the importance of neighborhoods and livability factors like crime and convenience.  This theme goes hand in hand with understanding your community (above) as the nature of a community becomes more important to real estate consumers. 

"It's not just your home.  It's your life and the way you live."


4. RIP Patience

Patience is not a prevailing attribute of any consumer today and we've seen that drift into real estate as well.  When consumers are ready to act, they expect instant response and immediate action.  It also seems like they have less and less time to sift through inventory or messages that don't relate to what they care about (see above).  So personalization is also something that is becoming more important.  

"It's about immediacy, convenience, and personalization."

- Errol Samuelson  |  Chief Industry Development Officer   Zillow Group

5. Stop Selling.  Start Telling.

Kindra Hall had a great talk as part of the Marketing Track on the power of Storytelling.  In an age of technology development that causes whiplash, it was refreshing to hear that something so fundamental to human history still has such power.   Rather than advertise another listing, think about telling the story of that home. Rather than advertise your skills as an agent or your brokerage, think about the story of how you came to be and the people whose lives you've changed.  It's a slight shift, but one that can make a huge impact on your business.

"The power of storytelling is everyone feeling the same thing at the same time."

- Kindra Hall

This is a small smattering of the wealth of knowledge and ideas shared this summer in San Francisco.  Certainly there was a lot of talk about technology as well with things like predictive marketing and artificial intelligence, but a lot of the conversations all brought it back to the essence of a home and connecting not only to the transaction - but to the values of your consumers - whether that's through hiring compassionate people, taking part in your community, or simply telling a good story.

Were you at Inman?  We'd love to hear your thoughts below in the comment section.