Conferences are a wonderful way to reconnect with existing business partners and to connect with new ones. They also present a great opportunity to get a pulse of the hot-buttons and trends within the industry: what’s on everyone’s mind? What are the nail-biters? What are the hot trends? But this year, with regards to my own experiences (with respected peers of the MLS community), DC’s NAR Midyear hit all the right notes with me in a deeper and more meaningful way. Why?
Our mission is taking shape
Since Onboard started working in the MLS and IDX space, we have worked diligently (head down) to clearly articulate our position and mission within the MLS community. While we have a long road to travel (there are a lot of hands to touch!), seeing the fruit of that labor begin coming to fruition is extremely rewarding. Being a trusted partner, advocate and innovator within the MLS space is of utmost importance to our company and to me personally. Seeing that start to take shape by working with so many industry leaders is inspiring for me.
The shift to consumer services energy
I was able to sit down and have deep, meaningful discussions with executives and technology leaders about so many things: plans to enhance member services in 2010 and 2011 – new tools, options, partnerships, etc. Lively conversations meandered out of member services and into consumer services – public websites, tools, functionality and then into operations and overall strategy. RPR, and some of the RPR generated FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), isn’t dominating the discussion any longer; now the center of the discussion is timely growth, innovation, strategy, change. There is an inexplicable energy, a vibe that communicates “action” felt by all whom I was lucky enough to share time with. Now, it’s time to take some of that energy and transform it into results.
Preparedness to grow through partnership
MLS leaders are looking to create partnerships with industry players who “get it”: those whom understand the uniqueness of the industry and today’s relevant issues and opportunities; those willing to champion solutions to challenges and innovate products and services that take them to a new level; those who can work in a close and transparent way toward a result.
It is very clear – MLS leaders are focused on home court advantage:
- What they can do to drive more business to their members; adding on to what they have in new creative ways and sometimes, creating complimentary homegrown solutions
- Delivering measurement and social proof to their members
- Providing tools, training and resources to increase member performance: delivering tools that today's consumers feel are necessary to the transaction
And FINALLY (the culmination of why this was all so meaningful): The discussions that occurred at NAR Midyear and the subsequent talks I am having right now are true validation that we are in the position to create true value with our MLSs.
Here is how we have been planning to do that:
- Helping them overcome the obstacles they face - uniquely - by market, by culture and as an industry overall
- Delivering relevant, valuable future-focused innovative tools that take MLSs to a new level
- Challenging what/how things have always been done by working closely with our MLSs to improve tools
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