photo courtesy of ChicagoGeek
It already feels like it was weeks ago.
I landed in San Antonio late last night from my trip to BlogWorld 2009. This morning it already feels like it was a long time ago. So much fun had in such a short space of time always seems to make it feel like the distant past a lot quicker. To say it was a blast would be to lie. It was more than a blast. Seeing friends, meeting new ones, listening to some of the best and brightest, and toying with new products for a few days will keep it fresh in my head, but I believe I'm already missing it, as if I've been away too long.
I feel honored to have been there (and thank those who helped get me there) and over the course of the next few days, I'll begin to dump some of this knowledge and thought that's crammed into my head, but first, I wanted to talk about secrets.
Can you keep a secret?
I learned a big secret in Vegas. One I shouldn't share with anyone. One that could change the course of history. One that might just rattle everything you believe in and leave you questioning your faith in everything you've ever stood for.
Can I trust you? Will you swear to secrecy? Can you keep your lips sealed?
The secret isn't as complex as I thought it might be, in fact, it's quite simple. I asked real estate industry vets, social media mavens, and run of the mill bloggers. I phrased the questions so many different ways to be sure I was getting "different" answers and no canned responses. They all lead back to the big secret.
The not-so-secret secret.
There are no secrets anymore.
The one thing everyone told me in different words each time, was just that: "There are no secrets anymore." With social media reaching the masses and becoming more than just a buzzword, we are creating a new reality. One where information flows from source to source, all without regard to "letting the competitor know our secrets." Bloggers I met outside of real estate seemed quite fascinated by our use of social media and loved the idea of us being there not to be gate-keepers like we once were, but instead information desks - ready to dispense our knowledge and expertise on a waiting world. Many of them agreed that when we do so, we only make ourselves more attractive as a viable way to buy and sell homes.
One blogger who I spoke to for awhile outside the convention center told me how he met an agent who was open, honest, and gave information at the drop of a hat. He gave so much information in fact, that the blogger thought "I could do that." The one thing every agent fears - training a FSBO to do it themselves. Instead the blogger contacted the agent and listed his house immediately with the agent. Why? Trust. He knew that the agent was "there for him" and would do his best. He felt that the agent was willing to give up his secret at the risk of losing the business. No longer was the agent there to build his bank account, but instead he was there to build a community.
By giving away the knowledge, the agent took the blogger's fear away. He took out all the years of distrust he had learned from others. He took away all of the negative news stories and bad reports. In an instant, he became a trusted adviser...and as the blogger told me, "a friend."
Enough with the secrets. We must continue to open our industry up to the consumers that patronize it. Will we lose business? Depends on how you look at the word lose. Do you think the FSBO was ever going to list with you? Do you think the person who equates purchasing a home to picking up a pair of socks at Wal-Mart is ever going to see the value you provide? There are people who will always go it alone. And there always will be. This will never change. The secret to our success as an industry lies within the phrase itself - there should be no secret. We may not convince those who don't want to be convinced, but we might just show someone why they can trust us and become our friend.
And that is worth more than any Vegas casino vault's cash reserve.