I was at the NAR (National Association of Realtors) convention in San Diego this past weekend. While it was significantly smaller in scale and attendance than years’ past, I observed what appears to be “green shoots” of new life.
Realtors are accustomed to the new reality. There was no “woe is me” head holding, nor was there any pie-in-the-sky “we are about to bounce”. There was a sense that we have seen the worst of it and that a savvy agent can make money in this market reality. It was the tone in every conversation that I had with vendors, agents, brokers and other attendees. A very pragmatic approach to doing business with lower prices and lower volume.
Realtors are getting ready to market more. Another consistent conversation was agents preparing for a bigger marketing year in 2010. We had a steady stream of former customers visiting the By Design booth, solely to tell us that (a) they still love the product, (b) they are getting ready to return and (c) ask if we can do anything about that set-up fee. Oh, and the answer is – if you are a former customer, if you tell us that you love us we can probably work with you on the set-up fee.
Creative vendors are getting their mental juices going. At NCI, we believe in the intelligence of the entrepreneur. We pay attention to what innovative thinkers are chasing and try to find where people are showing signs of profit. There was just more of that at the show this year than last. The ideas that were being shopped felt more concrete and actionable with a clearer value proposition than those in the past. No one was doing the, “if I could get 80% of agents to give me a dollar” math that never works out.
It feels like indications that we have passed the inflection point – that real estate marketing”s acceleration is pointed “North” not “South”. Very realistic, very positive, very encouraging.