ICSF 2016-What Happens Behind The Scenes Is Everything

Last week I attended my 5th Inman Conference. It was another great one. This year, however, I was after something different.

Over the past 6th months or so I have been deeply thinking about my own professional development. After taking on my current role a couple of years ago, I worry a bit about enhancing my own skills while being focused on helping agents enhance their own. I also sometimes feel like many people are not like me. My history is unique and finding people that understand where I have been and where I am going, are few and far between. My sole focus was finding people who could help me be a better manager.

I was lucky enough to share a room with my friend Leslie Ebersole. She’s someone that I have tremendous respect for and look up to. I am very thankful her and I have become friends. We had tons of time to chat, speculate and shoot the shit. I’m pretty sure we will be “Thunder Buddies” for life. One morning we had Bill Lublin pop in and spent some time sharing ideas and thoughts on things. Bill is also someone that I also have a ton respect for. Our chat was one of the highlights of my week. I definitely got more out of our conversation than anything else.

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Gary Vanderchuck was another highlight. I have always loved his perspective on people and selling. Plus his blunt way of presenting things is very refreshing. I was also lucky enough to go to his meet and greet and get to meet him in person.( Thanks Nick Baldwin!) He made a very valid point when he asked the audience: “How many of you are going to retire in 10 years?”. I would guess there were maybe 20 people who raise their hands. His point was regarding whether or not agents should use tools like Snapchat and that many of the users would likely be buying a home within the next 10 years. I hadn’t thought too much about using Snapchat for anything. But that mostly stems from the fact that my 13-year-old son thinks adults ruined it.

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By Far, the best talk was from Billy Efoko. He shared his story about coming to the US from the Congo with nothing and how strangers took him in and supported him.All of this leading to him getting his license and succeeding. I think we need to hear stories like this more. I truly believe that most people that are truly successful didn’t get there easily. When many are running around complaining about superficial things, people like Billy are more concerned about helping people and giving back. We have to GIVE MORE! Give more than you get. I can tell you from more own experiences that if you simply focus on helping people, things seem to just fall into place. MOYO!

Billy Ofoko

 

Surprisingly, a lot of the sessions were focused on connecting better with the consumer. Our industry has been enthralled with technology and many agents focus too much on leads and not actually connecting well with their clients. Most of us know that the best transactions we have are from people within our sphere. More agents need to think about this: If you didn’t have online leads, what would your business look like? If all you have is online leads, you have a problem. Agents need to focus more on keeping in touch with their clients and on a more personal level. This was a refreshing trend at Inman.

This year, they decided to pull out the red carpet for the Innovators Bash. It was a nice event. I think they could have done without the comedian. I tuned him out in less than a minute. But I loved that they created an award in honor of Nate Ellis. I got kind of emotional when it came around. There’s just not enough people like Nate and it was inspiring to hear all of the stories about him. Jim Walberg was the first to receive this award. While I don’t know him personally, I know how much he did for Nate. Jim was so deserving of this award. I have to give a shout out to Imran Poladi for bringing Nate’s mother. It was so wonderful having her there. Also thanks for Imran for lending me a tissue and dealing with my emotions.

There was a lot of talk about my hair. I felt like I needed to promote it. Everyone has me known me as a blonde. There were many people who didn’t even recognize me. (Dale Chumbley). I actually had someone take a picture. I felt like I was living vicariously through Laura Monroe. Sorry Laura, I didn’t mean to take away from your hair envy!

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I recently got into a show called Chef’s Table on Netflix. One of which was about Dominique Crenn. She happens to have a couple of restaurants in Sanfransico. One evening I had planned on having dinner with Greg Sax and Kim Broback. Greg and Kim are friends of mine who both worked for my local associations in Minnesota but had both moved to San Fransisco. We had hoped to visit one of Dominique’s restaurants while I was there. However, we were unable to get a reservation. The night we planned to go to dinner, we decided to stop by Petit Crenn. Not thinking that we would actually get in. But by some twist of fate, they happened to have three open seats at the bar. We were thrilled. I can honestly say it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time. I actually considered licking my plate.

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One of the greatest things about Inman is meeting new people. Thanks to my friend Mitch Skinner, I ended up at a happy hour with the team from Bridge Interactive. Bridge was recently acquired by Zillow. I’d recommend looking into them if you are not aware of who they are. I always love meeting fellow nerds and talking about things like data standards. Very smart crew at Bridge! Congrats to their team on the acquisition.

As always, it’s great to see old friends. I didn’t get enough time to talk to many of them. I opted out of attending most of the event this year. Mostly because I am into hardcore adulting and I’d rather have a small dinner with great conversations VS some of the late night, over the top parties. Sorry to those I didn’t get to spend time with. So many of my friends that I have met through the Inman conference have become friends for life. They have been there through my many ups and downs in my career. I look forward to seeing you all again soon!