Takeaways from Inman Connect 2020 New York

This week, 2019 ValleyMLS.com Chair Cindi Peters-Tanner, along with Director of MLS Operations Rhonda Ricketts attended the Inman Connect conference in New York. Inman Connect is a twice a year gathering of real estate leaders, technology companies, association/MLS leadership, brokers, and agents from across the world. Inman Connect is produced by Inman New York. Here are a few of the highlights and takeaways from this week’s sessions:


  • ·         Inventory is a big issue.  There were $1,489,417 US Homes listed for sale as of December 2019. $120,009 fewer than 1 year ago. That is a 7.5% annual drop.
  • ·         The typical home value in the US is $244,054. An increase of $3.7% from December 2018.
  • ·         Typical US rent grew 2.6% year-over-year to $1600
  • Video is KEY: Bad video is better than no video. Just make it relevant
  • Consumers expect agents to have intuition and know their questions before they’re asked.
  • Find other ways to communicate other than social media to reach those who are pulling away from it.
  • Real Estate has become an entertainment industry: HGTV has higher viewership than CNN
  • Advertise your home, not yourself. Make potential clients want more information.
  • Data is key: include community details, restaurant photos, maps of nearby retail, etc.
  • 70%-80% of all emails are viewed on a mobile device. Your message must be direct and technically optimized for mobile devices.


Brad Inman interviewed a reporter, editor and manager from Newsday, who last year uncovered systematic discrimination practices on Long Island over the course of 3 years. 40% of all shopped real estate professionals showed disparate treatment.

That breaks down to 49% percent of the experiences showed unequal treatment towards the black home shoppers. 39% of Hispanic testers and 19% of Asian testers.

According to the reporters, the bias is sometimes super subtle. Most of the agents tested, who were determined to have a bias – didn’t believe that they were in-fact showing bias. Very often the data showed the testers were steered based on the tester race by school district recommendations.

And as a home shopper, the average consumer of a minority background wouldn’t know that the information they were given would be based, however subtly, on their non-white status. It was only uncovered because of the paired testing (sending in a white and non-white testing)

A lack of awareness is not an excuse for getting it wrong.


  • Top luxury agents will spend 4-5 times more on digital marketing in 2020 than other less productive agents.  The old saying that you have to spend more to make more money is more and more true.
  • Create content that makes you feel something.
  • With Facebook and Instagram prioritizing video, top agents are recognizing this as an opportunity to tell their story in more visual ways.  They’re focusing on brand marketing through Facebook, Instagram, newsletters and websites.
  • Do something different: Instagram stories, Snapchat, Facebook stories, etc. Look for emerging channels that help you reach different and new audiences.
  • “The average agent allocates about 14 percent toward brand awareness campaigns and 86 percent towards lead generation while top agents allocated about 60 percent toward brand awareness and only 40 percent toward lead generation.”

“The ‘cool’ people will pull away from social media. Make sure to think about what the consumer wants. Put the apps away and find a way to engage with someone on a simple level.  The greatest value an agent has is what they can offer as a person. The agent needs to stand out and differentiate yourself.” – Mitch Robinson, eXp Chief Marketing Officer.

HOW AND WHEN TO CHANGE YOUR MIND with David Marine, CMO, Coldwell Banker.

“Changing something that’s been around for 42-plus years isn’t easy,” Marine noted the uproar Apple caused when they ditched the rainbow apple for a sleek, chrome color. “The rainbow wasn’t the future they saw for the brand. If we want to change who we are and how we’re perceived in the future, we needed to make that change.”

“Don’t just change your marketing, yard signs, business cards and do nothing to push it,” he said. “How can you make it into something that’s unignorable? How can you make it into an event?”

“It needs to represented in a way that connects with the community. Going out there and making some noise in the community is key,” Marine concluded. “Give people a reason to connect with you.”


“There’s no better way to build trust with people you don’t know and with total strangers than through social media,” Serhant said of his social media personality. “It’s the biggest gift salespeople have ever been given because before, if I wanted to meet somebody, it either had to be a referral or I had to physically go and meet that person.”

“Now, I can do that, now I meet people all the time,” Serhant said. “It doesn’t matter how many followers you have if you’re consistent with what you put out on social as a salesperson, people are going to come to you.”

Brian Donnellan, president and CEO of the massive multiple listing service Bright MLS, said during Inman Connect New York that pocket listing bans have positive impacts in three areas: competition, consumers and cooperation. By requiring agents to put all of their properties into their respective multiple listing services (MLSs), in other words, both real estate industry members and their clients have better access to the market.

“We believe that this has a huge impact on consumers,” Donnellan said. “We think that if a consumer can go to one place and get all the information, they’re better served.”

Drussy agreed and says that sellers are going to benefit from having that exposure.

“We need to remember who we work for,” she added. “Who do we owe our duty to? I think it’s an advantage for everyone involved.”

Donnellan said, “We’re doing what’s right,”. “This is the foundation: that you cooperate entirely, not just when you want to. I think it puts us in the right place, and I think it’s good for us all.”


  • Give concierge level services. Think Ritz Carlton when you are providing services.
  • If you get a referral. The first thing a consumer will do is google search you.
  • If you miss a call from a potential client, send them a video text messages so they can meet you and KNOW who you are when you meet them.
  • Concentrate on the quality of the relationship you’re about to form.
  • At the end of each year, look at how many contacts they have. It’s not about the quantity of contacts but the quality of contacts and the relationships they have.
  • The more personalized you can make your messages, the better off your relationship will be.
  • Meeting face to face is the hardest thing you do. It’s much easier to be upset over a text so when you encounter someone that’s upset, engage with them in person.
  • In today’s age people get caught up with how many “likes” they get on Instagram or Facebook instead of measuring their success against the meaningful engagement they have with their clients.
  • The biggest inefficiency in the real estate industry is dealing with paper checks.
  • An undefined mission will cause you to say yes to a lot of things. Clareity around your mission will give you power to say NO to everything that does NOT move you towards your designed plan.