Ask not what your industry can do for you but what you can do for your industry. And, ironically, you’ll gain plenty in the process.
That’s the crux of the message coming from the most recent REBarCamp, a new style of real estate industry 'unconference' where the audience dictates what’s discussed.
“BarCamp is about being in a brand-agnostic environment,” Peter Brewer, general manager at Inlinemedia Biz, told Real Estate Business at the event.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re [from] the Whites, [LJ] Hookers, PRD or Professionals, or anyone, we’ve all got the one goal, we’re all trying to make it a better industry. To garnish that collective wisdom in the one room, and say, give us your best.
“There’s so much collective wisdom in our industry in Australia that goes unrecognised, and when you’ve got such great talent in an industry, for me it’s a shame not to get those people together.”
The event, which was sponsored by a number of industry organisations, was organised by a team which included Mr Brewer, Glenn Batten of First National Nerang, Amanda Hack of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), Kim Voullaire of Inlinemedia Biz, Danika Smedley of PRD Nationwide and Kevin Turner from REUNCUT.
Tapping into the wisdom that’s inherent in the attendees, Mr Brewer said the open nature of the event helped create genuine conversations around issues that matter to agents and principals.
“Where else would you see [online listing providers] realestate.com.au, domain.com.au and the homepage.com.au, all sharing one session as co-facilitators,” he said.
“That is gold. For those three companies that compete against each other, to stand there and take the questions from the floor, and interact, was just gold. You would never see that in any other forum.”
Digital strategist Peter Fletcher, who also provided his support for the event, told Real Estate Business that he hoped the 100 or so attendees would take a few practical ideas away from the day.
“If they can just walk away and get one or two things that they can put into practice in their business...I think the real estate industry is a better place.
“We start out with the idea that most people have the answers,” he continued.
“People are going to walk away with something that's going to work for them in the field tomorrow."
The Brisbane event, which was the third after events in Perth and Sydney, covered “the usual suspects” in terms of topics, although Mr Fletcher noticed a shift towards the fundamentals in the most recent get together.
Mr Brewer agreed. “We have managed in the real estate industry - and I’ve been around this [industry for] 34 years - to complicate a really simple business. Find a buyer, find a seller, put them together.
“It’s ‘nice’ to see a tight market like this where people get back to basics.
“Two of three of these sessions today were just about being good human beings, looking after your clients, give them great service. If you do that the rules of business haven’t changed for 40 years...they haven't changed for 200 years.
“Look after people.”
Social media was another focus, although from a different perspective.
“Agents are starting to engage more with social media policy, [but] at a strategic level rather than, 'I'll dive into Facebook and twitter because it's the cool thing to do’, said Mr Fletcher.
“They’re actually thinking about why they're doing it instead of just leaping in.”
The next REBarCamp is expected to take place on the Gold Coast, immediately following the 2012 AREC event in late May.