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RE/MAX recently hosted its 2021 R4 convention, held this year from March 23 – 25 virtually as well as in person at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

The brand kicked things off with an opening session on March 24, featuring CEO Adam Contos, Chief Customer Officer Nick Bailey and National Speaker Dave Ramsey. According to Contos, the event brought together over 60 countries virtually, with over 6K people attending either in person or virtually.

“We know you are with us in our hearts, and we thank you so much,” said Contos, addressing audience members who opted to attend virtually.

This year, the conference focused on what the brand has accomplished, particularly in a time fraught with challenges. Some notable innovations included the brand’s merging of Seventy3—its data center which pulls information from MLSs nationwide—with the Gadberry Group, to create G73: a united data organization with information on almost every property in the U.S., according to RE/MAX.

“We started this three years ago, and it’s been a major undertaking that has taken a ton of resources, a ton of money and a ton of relationships,” said Contos. “Now we all have these MLS feeds going into one place in the cloud, giving you better access to better data.”

In addition, RE/MAX announced a social media platform created specifically for RE/MAX members: MAXCenterGO.

“We wanted to put all of our resources in one place, and we came up with this new tool where you can like, post and comment, as well as pass referrals back and forth,” said Contos.

During this opening session, Contos also highlighted four essential strategies for 2021:

Presence creates trust: “Level up your communications game. The key to that is video.”

Practice digital empathy: “Include caring and empathy in your digital presence to focus on the customer experience. Be authentic.”

Know your data and use it: “Workplace automation and AI are key.”

Realize that people want trust, safety and inclusion: “People are not transactions, they are human.”

In a one-on-one conversation with Contos and Bailey, the pair discussed the real estate career at large, clarifying that while there is a low barrier for entry into the business, the standards for success are much higher.

“When you are in business for yourself and not by yourself, it’s easy to get distracted. Discipline is staying in front of the money-making activities,” said Bailey.

Contos agreed, stating that agents should always be in control of their business “despite marketing conditions. This is what we need to focus on.”

Bailey dug deeper into the theme of distractions and disruptors during the closing “Good Afternoon RE/MAX” show, held on March 25. He addressed the elephant in the room for many in the audience: Zillow’s recent acquisition of ShowingTime. Amid a discussion of having control over data and not being distracted, many feared that Zillow’s recent moves could strip that control from the industry’s agents.

“All this means is you all just got upgrades in showing services for you and your clients,” said Bailey to allay these concerns. A previous employee of Zillow himself, Bailey emphasized: “You’re now going to have a choice. There are so many new entrants… that’s what the acquisition is about.”

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to