This week has been a fantastic experience for me in Las Vegas at the Coldwell Banker Generation Blue Conference. During the conference Mike Ferry and Matthew Ferrara had a debate regarding the place of online media in the engagement strategy of the Real Estate agent. Chris Smith from TechSavvyAgent posted a video of the debate (Thanks, Chris).
Here’s the video:
There are some important points I want to make about Mike’s delivery. At 4:11 Mike refers to NAR as “Non Active Realtors” and “National Association of ‘Retards’ “. Now, as insensitive as that is to the attendees, who may have mentally handicapped children; he did it to get a specific response. In doing so he started off showing that he knows his audience.
As much as I COMPLETELY disagree with Mike’s points on technology and social media; I would have given this debate to him. I agree with him on staying away from park bench’s, open houses, etc… However his disregard or lack of understanding about today’s current client, is telling me he’s outlived his usefulness as a Real Estate Speaker. That would scare anyone who has a 30+ year career in speaking about techniques that are now only a part of an overall strategy. I don’t think Mike is wrong in his techniques, I think he’s wrong in assuming that his techniques are more than 20% of what an agent now needs to do to engage and represent their client.
I think he won the debate because of his experience and ability to read a crowd, not because he’s correct or relevant.
He has 30+ years of taking money from Realtors. You only do that at his level, if you know how to tell people what they want to hear. Don’t get confused. I agree that his message is opposite of what OLD NAR wants him to say (and that makes him a bit endearing), but he is saying what the individual AGENT wants to hear.
See, Mike knows his audience, while Matt is thinking as a consumer. The general Real Estate audience are irritable 55+ year old agents with a few years under their belt. (Check the NAR profile of members, if you disagree with the average age) The average audience is either indifferent or intolerant to NAR and even less tolerant of being challenged to change their consumer approach. They also dislike new agents. So when Mike makes his condescending and demoralizing comments to the new agents, he’s really catering to the majority of people in the crowd .
When Mike said that people aren’t buying homes off of YouTube I had to laugh, because I had JUST negotiated an offer on a home where the consumer found the listing on “OnLocation”, the YouTube channel for Coldwell Banker. He is right… YouTube didn’t sell them the home, but our marketing of the home on YouTube did get them in the door!
Even down to Mike’s self promotion “Come see me tomorrow, to learn how” and his rude interruptions of Matt, while Matt was making his point are all calculated. Many Realtors are attracted to irreverent, egomaniacs that tell us what we want to hear.
Mike knew who he was speaking to… However, those he is catering to is not the emerging leadership of the industry. Those folks were busy hash-tagging and YouTub’in our personal evidence how wrong Mike is. As an aside, I’d love for the current leadership and speaker circle do more to embrace and educate Gen X and Y Realtors, so that we can all benefit. Of course that means that Gen X and Y need to be open to that mentoring – and I hope we all are.
At the end of the conference they asked the attendees to text their vote for who won. This obviously was a façade and they of course claimed it a tie. They really didn’t have much choice, as both participants had truth in what they were saying. Not to mention that the people who favored Mike Ferry would need help from those who supported Matthew Ferrara, in figuring out how to text their vote.
Interesting enough the conversations in the halls after the debate, showed that most of the Baby Boomer generation didn’t necessarily agree with Mike either. Many of them came to the same conclusion that you may already know. Being online is a means of talking and a gateway to the real life meeting and communications that is essential to providing the best services to our clients.
Next year, I’d to see two active practitioners debate their old school, versus new school techniques. Nothing beats a bad theory like a present reality.