Do Real Estate Conventions Make Better Realtors?

Keller Williams Family ReunionI’ll be travelling to the Keller Williams “Family Reunion” convention for 5 days in Orlando later this month. Sylvia and I have attended the Family Reunion together every year since joining Keller Williams in 2005, and we also attend the yearly “Mega Agent Camp” held here in Austin. Sylvia is staying home this year due to scheduling conflicts, so I’ll be flying solo and taking good notes to bring back home, and some new ideas to implememt in our business.

Are these real estate conventions worth the time and expense? All totaled, I’ll drop about $1,200 to $1,500 on this trip, plus lost productivity while I’m away,  plus the torture of airline travel, hotel stay, and lugging around the “convention bag” full of trade show stuff, goodies and the notes and handouts that are accumulated each day during classes and workshops. And, finally, when I get back home, I’ll have to work hard to get caught up. Is it worth it? Maybe a vacation would be better. 

Yes, it is worth it. You couldn’t pay me to not go. Here are some internal stats from Keller Williams:

Agents who attended the 2008 Family Reunion convention …

  • Took twice the number of listings in 2008 as KW agents who did not attend.
  • Sold 81% more houses.
  • Closed 47% more buyers
  • Completed 61% more transactions than agents who did not attend.

Attendees who attended BOTH the 2007 and 2008 Keller Williams Family Reunion convention…

  • Took almost three times the number of listings in 2008
  • Sold 146% more houses.
  • Closed 74% more buyers
  • Completed 104% more transactions than agents who did not attend.

I don’t have additional stats, but I’ll bet these same agents also produce better numbers such as percentage of listings closed, number of days sold, list to sales price ratios, etc. You name it, and I’ll bet the convention goers beat the non-goers any way you slice it.

Why is that? Why do agents who regularly invest time and money into their education and professional betterment, outperform agents who don’t?  Well, as my 12 and 15 year old daughters would say, “duh”. The question answers itself.

Whether you are a plumber, painter, midwife, accountant, inspector, actor, teacher, or even a professional clown, you will continuously improve your skills and abilities if you regularly surround yourself with those who do it better than you. 

What this means is, when you hire a Realtor, one of the interview questions you want to ask is, “tell me about the educational events you’ve attended recently, what you learned and why it will be beneficial to me if I hire you to list my home for sale (or help me buy a home)”.

If the answer is, “Well, let’s see, I take my 15 hours of Mandatory Continuing Education every two years”, then you might be interviewing the wrong agent.

This is not to say that agents who shun conventions cannot be good, or that every agent who does attends convention every year is automatically better than the rest, but you stack the odds in your favor when you decide to hire someone who never quits learning how to do a better job.

The biggest excuse I hear from agents who don’t go to convention is, “I can’t afford it”. And I’ll ask, “did you go last year?”. “No” they say. “I couldn’t afford it last year either”. And I think, “Hmm, I can’t afford not to go”.

Posted by Steve
7 years ago
Steve

Steve is a Real Estate Blogger, Husband and Dad, UT Austin Grad, Runner, Real Estate Broker and owner of Crossland Team and Crossland Real Estate in Austin TX.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Bill - 7 years ago

Correlation is not causation — maybe agents who hustle harder choose to go the convention, leading to the impressive statistical results.

The real question is: what specific things have you picked up and implemented that you learned at these events?

Reply
tony - 7 years ago

correlation does not equal causation. Maybe only realtors who are successful can afford to go on the trip.

Reply
Steve - 7 years ago

I don’t disagree with the “correlation doesn’t equal causation” principle in theory, but in this case, I think it’s hard to prove otherwise. The correlation seems pretty strong.

> what specific things have you picked up and implemented that you learned at these events?

One thing we’ve learned from attendees the past two years is how to function in a slower market. It’s been interesting to attend in 2007 and 2008 (2006 was still just starting to decline nationally) and listen to and hear from agents with massive listing inventories, but no showings. Austin’s dip will be shorter and more shallow, but we still take a somber view of what we’ve heard from these other markets.

The lessons learned by those agents in Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida in particular have caused us to be more picky about listings we’ll take. We were warned, “don’t build up a lot of listings that are not well priced, they’ll bury you in time and effort”. So we are reluctant to as many listings as we otherwise could have at present, talking a lot of sellers into waiting, or letting them go find someone who will take the listing at their list price.

Then there are tactical things that we learn from veterans of slow markets. For example, the concept of a “reverse offer”, which we used just the other day.

That is when, after the second showing on our listing, we talk to the buyer’s agent and find out the buyer is “still thinking and looking”, and we simply get our seller to write up an offer below list price to send over to the buyer. In this case, it did in fact get the buyer to become engaged, they went back a third time, measured the place, thought about it some more, but after a few days decided to keep looking.

So it didn’t work this time, but it’s something we will certainly think about again for listings that receive very few showings.

And there is a lot more that we know from talking to other agents from around the country at the convention twice a year that local, isolated agents simply don’t have the benefit of being taught.

Steve

Reply
Jim - 7 years ago

I think the interview question to ask is “What tactics / knowledge set you apart from other agents?” or “What’s your strategy for selling my house?” and so on.

I’ve read a lot of articles and books on real estate and a lot of advice is common sense, king of like “don’t build up a lot of listings that are not well priced, they’ll bury you in time and effort”. Well duh? It’s good advice but anyone with good critical thinking skills can come up with that.

As you’ve said before, Steve, real estate is a business of lead generation, and that covers 90% of all efforts. I’ve seen no-name agents in mom & pop real estate companies who get tons of business because they know everyone. I’ve seen dumb agents get a lot of business and get referrals, because they know everyone. And there are smart, well educated agents at companies like KW who are broke because they don’t have enough leads. No amount of education or even doing what works for others, can guarantee income in real estate.

Reply
Steve - 7 years ago

Hi Jim,

> “don’t build up a lot of listings that are not well priced, they’ll bury you in time and effort”. Well duh? It’s good advice but anyone with good critical thinking skills can come up with that.

You’d be surprised. Listings are king in this business, and agents are conditioned to think “the more listings, the better”. That type of thinking at the apex of a market shift, when listings start becoming easier to obtain, can be detrimental. Combine it with the trailing comps that generate over-priced CMAs, and you can end up in a fix.

I sat in on a panel discussion where some of these agents had inventories of of more than 50 listings, some over 100. The tales they told, the lessons they learned (and were still learning) could be written in a book, yes, but it ain’t the same as sitting and hearing about it, along with the questions that come up from attendees. It’s a much richer, more impactful learning experience, in my opinion. Sylvia and I walked out saying to each other “let’s not let that happen”. It’s not the same as reading about it, trust me.

Steve

Reply
arz - 7 years ago

I don’t even see the correlation here. All I see is a simple logic fallacy that people committee all the time:

A -> B = Not B -> Not A
The common fallacy: A -> B, B -> A

In Steve’s example:
convention goers are mostly more successful agents. (A -> B)

Correction Implication:
Less successful agents are not likely to show up in the convention. (Not B -> Not A)

Steve’s implication:
Because I’m going to the convention, thus I’m more likely to be successful (B -> A) which is false.

This is a simple logic game. Not to discount what he has to say.

Reply
Steve - 7 years ago

Hi arz:

> Correction Implication: Less successful agents are not likely to show up in the convention.

I see your point, but why do you suppose the less successful agents are less successful? Bad luck? Or might it be that they don’t invest their time or money into their own education?

But I agree, it’s a question open for debate, especially since it would not be hard to find exceptions to the rule. That said, on our list of places to cut business expenses, eliminating education and networking is not one of them. Mainly because we view it as an investment that produces a return, not an expense.

Steve

Reply
Ida - 7 years ago

Whenever you professionally network, whether it be conventions, seminars, trade shows, etc. you are bound to increase your business! Spending money to better educate yourself or invest in your trade is never wasted!

Reply
arz - 7 years ago

Steve,

I didn’t think what you said was untrue. I just said the logic used in the arguments are incorrect. You were saying that going to convention is one key factor that makes agents more successful. It’s probably true. But using the fact that the convention are filled with successful agents as a reasoning is flawed.

It’s like to say most people on the golf course are well off. So if I want to be rich, I need to play golf.

Reply
Tony Tovar - 7 years ago

-Whether you are a plumber, painter, midwife, accountant, inspector, actor, teacher, or even a professional clown, you will continuously improve your skills and abilities if you regularly surround yourself with those who do it better than you.

Well, in my personal opinion, in going to the golf course, you may run into successful people from whom you may gather valuable bits of information that may further your career as a Realtor or help you in preventing pitfalls you may later encounter; Its educating yourself from hearing and networking with successful agents not just being around them.

As Gary Keller put it:

“I think we can all agree that the future is largely unpredictable. Asking the big questions and seeking the big answers also tend to lead us to achieve our very best level of preparedness (value of information here is worth going to such events as Steve mentions). That preparedness allows us to act more effectively, in the moment. You’re less likely to be caught off guard by an unexpected turn of events. ”

“I believe that if I want to one day become a successful business, I would have to surround myself by successful business men.”

This doesn’t mean that I will have a successful business by standing or being around them as a factor all in itself. I imply that in being around them, associating myself with them, and learning from them could help me further expand my business, etc.

Reply
arz - 7 years ago

Tony, think of this, rich people / successful people do a lot of things in common, not just playing golf. Many of them drive luxury cars, go to expensive restaurants, go to symphony concerts, play bridge, so on and so forth. All these activities can be used as a tool for social network which will likely to enhance your success or wealth. The key here is that social networking is the real cause, not playing golf.

There are probably 500 different ways to make constant contact to your fellow realtors. Going to convention is one of them but not the only one.

Reply
Tony Tovar - 7 years ago

Azn,

I completely agree with and understand what you are saying as it is something I mentioned as well. I just looked at what Steve wrote and saw what was implied although not directly apparent in the structure of the sentence as you mentioned.

-Its educating yourself from hearing and networking with successful agents not just being around them.

Good observation none the less tho.

Reply
Entrepreneurs: International Networking : - 7 years ago

[…] As one of my favorite real estate blog authors put it : “Whether you are a plumber, painter, midwife, accountant, inspector, actor, teacher, or even a professional clown, you will continuously improve your skills and abilities if you regularly surround yourself with those who do it better than you.” – Steve (Crossland Team) […]

Reply
Leave a Reply: