BlogWorld 2009: The secrets of Las Vegas are not so secret anymore.

Real Estate Agent with Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME

Girl holding a souvenir Eiffel Tower drink in Las Vegas.

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.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Clint Miller 10/19/2009 07:46 AM
  2. Alan May 10/19/2009 07:51 AM
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Show All Comments
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

I thought what happens in vegas stays in vegas... glad you broke the rule on the no secrets info... any more juice you can throw our way... glad you got to go!

Oct 19, 2009 04:10 PM #17
Steve Shatsky
Dallas, TX

Hi Matt... Welcome home and thanks for sharing the big non-secret.  Hopefully you'll be sharing more with us... remember who helped you get there! :)

Oct 19, 2009 04:15 PM #18
Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

I put out a lot of statistical information in my blogs and I have had people call to tell me that this freely available information earned their business. Yet, I have spoken with one of the big website SEO firms that wants to control the site content and they keep the "family jewels" all locked up. If you don't register you get nada. I just can't see that working today.

Oct 19, 2009 04:29 PM #19
Tiffany Cloud
HomeSmart Real Estate - Gilbert, AZ

People want transparency... it makes us real and authentic.  Guess what?  Being secretive not only applies to sharing your ideas and your successes, but also your mistakes and failures.  Don't hide your failures and people will know they can trust you to own up to your mistakes.  You get what you give...

Great post...followed blogworld09 on twitter, hoping to join you all next year.

Oct 19, 2009 07:18 PM #20
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Christianne - Privacy can be a serious issue, but I try not to worry myself over it too much.  If someone wants the information bad enough, they will find it anyway.

Missy - Would have loved to have met you.  Bill Lublin and I actually spoke of you one night (we were discussing the NAR Committee's and Christa came up in conversation which led to you).  Suddenly, I'm really worried that her name is spelled with a K.  Please tell me it isn't.

Sheila - We did goof too.  After all, it was Vegas.  That on the other hand - is a complete secret.  Haha.

Brother Richard - I learned from some of the best.

Chris - Some of what you're talking about there falls more into the "working for free" category (which I don't do), than the being open, helpful, educational, and sharing.

Candice - I think a lot of the distrust comes from the old "gate keepers of information" stance brokers took in the past.

Dora and Vincent - My pleasure.

Debra - I have a few very specific "tools" posts that I will be doing soon.  All very simple stuff, but things that will help immensely.

Steve WHO? - Oh yeah, I guess I have to share with you.

Vickie - The stat info is a great way to get people to talk.  I've been using AltosResearch for awhile now and it has helped immensely in much the same way.

Tiffany - There was quite a bit of talk about admitting your failures and mistakes.  Perhaps I'll write about that as well.  As for BlogWorld 2010, I would recommend it.  Well worth the time.


Oct 19, 2009 11:37 PM #21
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Thanks Matt. Sometimes words can get to your emotional core and resonate. There are no secrets for me was exceeded with we must continue to open up our industry. Every door that closes is not cause for gloom, because two more doors will open, we just have to have the courage to go through them.

Oct 20, 2009 01:44 AM #22
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Joe - I am a big believer that the more we tell people what we do and how we do it and even help them do it themselves, the more they will return to us, because it is easier to have us do it in the end.  For me the travel industry is a great example - I could do it myself, but I still call an agent 9 times out of 10.  In the case of my trip to Vegas, I called my travel agent, but when we figured out it could be done cheaper at Expedia, she recommended I go there.  Things like that keep my business.

Oct 20, 2009 02:00 AM #23
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


After many years of keeping this as a "secret society" it is a difficult habit to break. Secrets from other agents, never sharing business practices - too afraid of competition. Secrets from the public when only Realtors were able to get MLS listings and other protected information. It is a whole new world out there and I think it is working much better than the old one.

I am so glad you were able to go to Blogworld.  I hope you brought back one of those Eiffel Tower statues. That is really cute.


Oct 20, 2009 02:16 AM #24
Nicholas Goraczkowski
Aurora, CO
Your Mortgage Resource - (720) 83-RATES

Glad to hear the trip was a success. I look forward to reading all about it.

Oct 20, 2009 02:52 AM #25
SarahGray Lamm
Allen Tate Realtors Chapel Hill, NC 919-819-8199 - Chapel Hill, NC
Realtor - 100K Hours of NC Real Estate Experience

Awesome observations Matt! It was worth all the hard work to send your bloggers butt to Vegas to hear this! And as Candy Dinofrio said so well about losing business..."what we will lose is the risk and liability that goes with consumer mistrust and distrust."

Oct 20, 2009 02:59 AM #26
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Matt - sounds like a great learning experience. I couldn't be there this year but was last year and learned more than I ever thought possible. And as you found, sometimes more in the casual conversations than in the sessions. That has been my experience with RE Bar Camps as well.

You said People pick us for who we are, not whose "secrets" we employ to find them and assist them in one of your comments. Right on!


Oct 20, 2009 02:59 AM #27
James Lyon
Vista Pacific Realty - Sacramento, CA

Great insight. A little truth will go a long way in this world. Thanks for sharing with us.

Oct 20, 2009 05:00 AM #28
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

That was an interesting observation, Matt. I'd love to see that play out here in my neck of the woods. Or, maybe it is and I just don't know it yet?

Oct 20, 2009 06:21 AM #29
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


AR is a good example of the no secret mantra. Generally members here share what they know about real estate, mortgages, SEO and so forth. You do appreciate those who openly dispense their knowledge.

Oct 20, 2009 08:29 AM #30
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

There are no secrets anymore?  Does this mean that KFC is finally going to let us in on the secret herbs and spices or Coke will share their formula?  Oh well at least with RE we know that most of what had been kept behind locked doors is now available for anyone to learn.

Oct 20, 2009 08:58 AM #31
France and Mark Clausen
Realty Austin - Dripping Springs, TX

I thought what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Glad to see we're setting a new trend.

Oct 20, 2009 11:06 AM #32
Fred Doleac
Fred Doleac - Bean Group - Amherst, NH
Real Estate in a Virtual World

Matt - Great Post!  Another way to phrase it -  Information without commitment (I want the opportunity to earn your business).

Oct 20, 2009 12:39 PM #33
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

I was amazed when I first got into real estate at just how many people were willing to share with me.  Not just from towns far away, but from right here in town.  Those same agents are now my office mates as well.

Oct 20, 2009 12:41 PM #34
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I am so excited to hear more of the "secrets" you learned.  Thank you for your willingness to share.

Oct 20, 2009 02:26 PM #35
Amy O'Laughlin
Saint George, UT

I'm glad you made it home safe, Matt!  It sounds like you had a really good time.  I'd be curious to know if any new 'blog worlds' of industry professionals will be started up as a result of your sharing about AR...'The Teaching Tree' for teachers, etc.  I'm looking forward to what you have to share with us.  Thank you for going!

Oct 21, 2009 07:19 AM #36
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