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NAR in NOLA: Highlights of the 2014 REALTORS Conference

By Matthew Bushery

Industry News

New OrleansOh, the week that was in N’awleans. Real estate professionals and brands from all over the country congregated in the Big Easy for the 2014 National Association of REALTORS®’ Conference & Expo in early November — and there was a lot going on in the Crescent City.

From intriguing Trade Expo vendors and booths, to captivating speakers and sessions, to some major company announcements, there was no shortage of news coming from this year’s rendition of NAR Annual (that’s #NARannual, for the Twitter initiated) — and we’ve got the scoop on all of the major happenings in case you missed it.

Placester Announces New Partnership with NAR

One of the big early announcements made at the conference was Placester’s new partnership with NAR through its Member Benefits Program. Agents can learn all about the news and discover information about our new real estate website offer specifically for REALTORS here, while brokers can learn about a separate offer we have for them right here.

The Conference Gets Underway in Grand Fashion

The conference itself started with a variety of unique events, receptions, and gatherings that brought together the tight-knit REALTOR community:

Before the event kicked into high gear, some attendees headed to NOLA early to partake in the REALTORS Volunteer Build, during which they worked in tandem with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for those affected by natural disasters citywide.

The following day, the Inaugural Gala for this year’s NAR Annual took place at the Morial Convention Center, the host of the entire conference, where incoming NAR leadership, including incoming 2015 NAR President Chris Polychron, spoke in front of the considerable crowd of REALTORS.

Another popular event among attendees was the NAR Young Professional Networking Reception, where some of the nation’s youngest REALTOR talent came together, to swap stories, build new relationships, and … well … have fun (it is New Orleans, after all).

REALTORS Share Their Business Insights

After all the first couple of days of getting settled into NOLA, REALTORS and other real estate pros in attendance got down to business, as they educated others in their respective fields:

Kristy Hariston of the Nashville-based Village Real Estate Services spoke at length about what REALTORS can do to better communicate with their leads and move them through the sales funnel.

Coldwell Banker Director of Agent Learning Engagement Jason Pantana discussed the need for REALTORS to define their niches and go after those specific audiences and markets with all of their digital marketing might.

Placester VP of Sales and Marketing Seth Price talked about the vast benefits of real estate marketing in the digital age with Boutique Real Estate Group’s Raj Qsar, Google’s Cecelia Choi, and Village Real Estate Services’ Brian Copeland in an informative session moderated by NAR’s Nobu Hata.

In addition to agent-centric sessions, there were also many geared toward the significant broker presence at NAR Annual: Jackie Leavenworth of Jackie Leavenworth Seminars focused her session on specific ways brokers can recruit and retain top industry talent through improvements in branding and communication with their agents.

Sales trainer David Knox covered his tactics for brokers on how to bolster their sales and management strategies and develop detailed, winning listing presentations that bring in business.

Power broker strategies were discussed by some of the top brokers and real estate minds nationwide, including RISMedia President and CEO John Featherston, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate President and CEO Sherry Chris, and John L. Scott Real Estate Chairman and CEO Lennox Scott. 

Popular Guest Speakers Impart Words of Wisdom

It wasn’t just respected members of the REALTOR community who imparted their wisdom at the conference. Lots of other folks outside of the real estate industry came to share their distinct insights as well:

Before the conference officially got into swing, former President Bill Clinton made an appearance to share his thoughts with REALTORS in attendance and offered some kind words for incoming NAR President Chris Polychron, whom he knew from his days in Little Rock.

Former U.S. representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired Navy veteran and NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, shared their secrets to success and story of perseverance in an inspirational talk during the conference’s General Session.

Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player Cal Ripken, Jr. made an appearance on the Trade Expo floor to take photos with attendees and speak about a range of topics during a NAR partners dinner.

Olympic star Jackie Joyner-Kersee headlined the conference’s Inspirational Program, during which she talked about her goal of improving the health of America’s youth and communities through volunteerism and charitable work.

The Entrepreneurial Excellence Sessions hosted a trio of interesting guests: Artist Candy Chang, the inspiration behind the popular public art project “Before I Die;  Upworthy Editorial Director Sarah Critchfield, who relayed her thoughts on the current state of digital marketing; and renowned New Orleans chef John Besh, who conducted a cooking demonstration for attendees.

REALTORS Record Their Time at the Conference

Everyone at NAR Annual came away with new personal and business relationships, ideas for their real estate marketing and sales efforts, and new technology to utilize for their companies. But attendees also took in the amazingness that is New Orleans. Here’s how some of the attendees (including Placester’s staff) spent their time at both the conference and in the Big Easy:

Expo floor ribbon cutting!! Come on by and get a Purple Voodoo drink! #openforbusiness #narannual A photo posted by REALTORS® Conference & Expo (@narannual) on

#bourbonstreet nightlife #narannual

A photo posted by REALTORS® Conference & Expo (@narannual) on

#narannual

A photo posted by Jacy Riedmann (@socialmediajacy) on

Learn about other great real estate conferences coming up in this Real Estate Marketing Academy post.

NAR Annual attendees: What was your favorite moment of the conference? Share your thoughts below!

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