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Kicking off 2021 on a high note, RISMedia’s “Real Estate’s Rocking in the New Year,” a virtual event co-presented by the National Association of REALTORS® on Jan. 7, took a closer look at what real estate professionals across the board are doing to set themselves up for continued success during the session, “Strategies to Win in the New Environment: The Activities That Are Driving Success.”

“A lot has happened over this past year, but our panelists quickly turned situations, challenges and trends into opportunities,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, who moderated the lively discussion.

RISMedia is making a limited number of “Real Estate’s Rocking in the New Year” sessions accessible to the public. Readers may view this dynamic session in the video below.

Jumping right in, Scott turned to Michele Harrington, COO of First Team Real Estate, to discuss how she’s helping her agents navigate and implement the abundance of technology in the real estate industry today.

“While technology has always been a fascination of mine, I’ve found that agents are overwhelmed by this race to technology that we’ve implemented in our companies,” explained Harrington.

To combat this so-called technology overload, younger agents within the company who have a better grasp on the technology are coaching the more seasoned agents who may not be as proficient in the tech arena.

“As brokers and owners, it is important that we understand that not all agents want to learn to embrace technology,” said Harrington. “If we can figure out a way to make it easier on them by doing it for them, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Taking things off the agents’ plates is the name of the game for Anthony Lamacchia, broker/owner and CEO of Lamacchia Realty, Inc., as well.

“We kept telling our people to dial the phone, write the handwritten notes, send cards and call past clients, but they were having a hard time, so we created incentives for our agents,” said Lamacchia.

The firm’s “Working By Referral” course, which runs twice a year, has been a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting agents focused on obtaining business from their sphere of influence.

“We all know that when agents are in touch with the people around them, they obtain business from them regularly—and we made it a little easier for them to do that,” added Lamacchia.

Shifting gears to address the inventory shortage that’s apparent throughout a majority of markets across the country, Scott asked Todd Sumney, CIO of HomeSmart International, to share his tried-and-true strategies to drum up listing inventory.

Sumney challenged attendees to make 2021 their year by engaging their database, creating their own listings and tracking their progress.

The three tactics Sumney discussed? A CMA challenge, a video challenge and making the effort to do more things virtually.

“We’re in a situation where we have low inventory, and the desired outcome is more listings, so go out there and create your own inventory,” explained Sumney. “You’d be surprised at how many people you can get to show up to a 10-minute virtual open house versus a traditional open house.”

For J.B. Goodwin, founder and CEO of JBGoodwin REALTORS®, if there’s one thing 2020 taught us, it’s the importance of adapting.

“The successful real estate brokerages are the ones that are constantly adapting to market conditions,” said Goodwin, who has seen a lot during his storied real estate career.

“One of the things I talk about frequently is the fact that everyone thinks real estate is harder now than it’s ever been, but the way we’ve changed our practices because of COVID is no different than how we’ve adapted over the years to other market conditions,” added Goodwin.

Looking at the iBuyer challenge specifically, panelists agreed that it’s all about staying ahead of the game and setting themselves up to compete.

“When we see things like this disrupting the industry, we have to be on top of it so that we can compete,” said Harrington. “As a traditional brokerage, we need to make sure we have everything any buyer, seller or agent wants to see in the market.”

For Sumney, it’s all about being the first person to engage the unattached seller and create leads.

“The majority of people who inquire about an iBuyer offer typically end up listing with a real estate agent, so you need to be the first one to create a relationship with unattached sellers,” said Sumney.

Wrapping up the session, Scott asked for one final statement to set the stage for a successful 2021.

“This is going to be a very big year,” said Lamacchia. “Keep moving forward, keep doing what you do every day and watch how strongly we’ll come out of this.”

“We believe that your biggest and best financial results come from focusing on the fundamentals of relationship building,” concluded Goodwin.

To purchase a ticket to view all the event replays, click

Be sure to mark your calendars for April 8, 2021, when RISMedia and the National Association of REALTORS® present “Spring Into Action,” a full-day virtual event packed with strategies to help you maximize the spring and summer markets.

Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to