Coldwell Banker painted the streets of Miami “blue” on October 18-20 as thousands of sales associates throughout the company’s global network gathered for the biggest event of the year: Gen Blue 2016.

From an incredibly stunning locale and inspiring guest speakers to unlimited networking opportunities with top leaders in the industry, the roar of Gen Blue’s waves into the Magic City was nothing short of exceptional.

The conference included:

  • Local, national and global networking opportunities with real estate’s top sales associates
  • Expert industry speakers from top brands like Amazon, ESPN, Facebook, Yelp and YouTube that dove deep into today’s most critical marketing topics, going beyond tutorials to focus on the strategy and real life examples of success
  • Numerous skill development sessions
  • World-class entertainment, including comedian/actor/impressionist Frank Caliendo who had attendees rolling with his impression of Morgan Freeman as he introduced Coldwell Banker’s new President & CEO, Charlie Young
  • Dazzling motivational speakers like Alison Levine who encouraged attendees to aspire to new heights of leadership and Melissa Stockwell who inspired everyone to not let any obstacle get in the way of achieving their goals
  • Closing night party at the quintessential South Beach oceanfront landmark, Nikki Beach


Incredible talent, an energetic ambiance and tons of tips and tricks to take in – Gen Blue had it all. So what were some of the event’s top lessons that attendees took away? And how can those lessons be applied to your real estate business today? Here’s everything you need to know.


1. You control your destiny in this business.

Success doesn’t come from waiting for business to walk through the door. You have to work hard, educate yourself and leverage your resources in order to see results. Speaker Alison Levine, New York Times best-selling author and captain of the first American Women’s Everest expedition, related her mountain climbing experience atop Mount Everest to the struggle, patience and perseverance sales associates have to overcome in order to see results in their business. When lives are on the line and the stakes are high, there is no better way for leaders to learn life lessons than when they are seemingly pushed beyond their limits. Through her inspiring talk, Alison showed how the same leadership principles that apply in the world of extreme adventure also relate to the ultra-competitive business environment.


2. Utilize smart home technology to attract a larger pool of potential buyers.

A recent survey conducted by Coldwell Banker found that roughly half of millennials and 42 percent of U.S. broadband households surveyed would “smart stage” their home to attract buyers. The survey also found that more than one-third of Americans (35 percent) now associate smart home technology with a move-in ready home – something that 71 percent of Americans would want if buying a house today.

So it was no surprise that smart home technology was a big focus at Gen Blue.

Matt Case, Coldwell Banker’s director of leadership development, Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief of CNET and David Siroty, Coldwell Banker’s vice president of communications, discussed smart home technology and how to use smart home gadgets to amplify your business.

And while you don’t have to be an expert when it comes to the latest trends in smart home technology, it’s important to educate yourself enough to know how to use it on a listing appointment or during an open house.

One easy way is with the Coldwell Banker Smart Home Staging Kit, available to Coldwell Banker agents and their home sellers at a discounted price.

Two other smart home standouts were presented by Ashwin Karuhatty of Amazon: Echo and Alexa. Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. It allows you to control lights, switches and thermostats in your home in addition to letting you play music with omni-directional audio. Alexa, the voice of Echo, is a service that allows customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. Alexa adapts to speech patterns, vocabulary and personal preferences. CNET has some great tips for those who want to learn more about using these products.


3. Using video is a must and easier than ever.

Speaker David Sandler from YouTube spoke about the power of the video and how to properly and effectively utilize it in your business in order to set yourself apart from the competition. According to David, video tells a story, allows complete strangers to get to know you and can attract potential clients. By showcasing your personality, energy and business ethics on video, you will appear personable before anyone sits down in front of you.

One exciting and easy new way to share video that was revealed at Gen Blue is YouTube Director, a suite of video ad creation products for businesses recently launched by YouTube. With the free YouTube Director for business app, anyone with an iPhone can create a video ad for their business in just a few easy steps. Simply download the app and select from ready-to-go video advertising templates, point your phone and shoot (the app will even show you what to do step-by-step. You can add text, animations, and music). Once you have a polished video, upload it to YouTube and an AdWords expert will help you run a successful campaign. Want even more help? With YouTube Director onsite, business owners can work with a filmmaker who will write a script, shoot, edit and deliver a video of the business all in the same day. All business owners have to do is spend $150 to advertise on YouTube in order to enjoy this professional service. YouTube Director is a great way for real estate professionals to create quality videos of their listings and community involvement, and showcase their expertise and services.


4. Networking is both local and global.

Whether you establish relationships with local, international, new, or seasoned sales associates, it’s important to build as many connections as you can and, in time, you’ll realize that the payoff is huge. Since Coldwell Banker is a global brand, sales associates have access to a global network from all over the world. Agents from Turkey, San Croix, Canada and Mexico were in attendance at the conference.

One great way to keep in touch with fellow Coldwell Banker Sales Associates from all of the world outside of the annual Gen Blue conference is through the Coldwell Banker Generation Blue Facebook Group. The group is the home for nearly 15,000 members of the Coldwell Banker network to get the latest breaking brand news and announcements and to ask questions and share ideas with other Coldwell Banker Sales Associates. Not part of the group? Coldwell Banker Sales Associates can join here.


5. When it comes to luxury, it helps to learn from the best.

Coinciding with Gen Blue, the brand’s top 8% of agents worldwide were invited to partake in the newly revamped Coldwell Banker Previews International® certification course, which has been enhanced to a national certification model to further distinguish exceptional real estate professionals who represent exceptional properties.

As part of the course, mentors and top Coldwell Banker Sales Associates Jade Mills from Beverly Hills, Jennifer Ames from Chicago and Wendy Walker from Phoenix discussed luxury marketing strategies and provided tools and tips for sales associate to be successful in today’s luxury real estate market. Many of the attendees felt privileged to listen to these seasoned agents’ experiences and gain firsthand knowledge about all of the luxury real estate marketing resources at their fingertips.

In speaking about the course’s new look, Sean Blakenship, chief marketing officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, explained “each enhancement we make ensures that agents are prepared to succeed in the luxury real estate market and can effectively collaborate with their peers in our global network.”

Collaboration and networking with other luxury specialists is key when listing and marketing high-end properties. The Coldwell Banker Previews® program in Colorado is one such way. Through special meetings, home tours, sales clinics and an annual business conference in Vail, Previews® members are able to build meaningful relationships with other Coldwell Banker top producers, which can pay dividends when it comes time to list or market a luxury property.


6. Connect to your clients through storytelling.

One of the main themes of the conference was storytelling.  The best way to sell yourself and your listing is by telling a story – the story of our noble profession, the story of home, the story of the Coldwell Banker brand. Gen Blue focused on how storytelling can help you move beyond talking about real estate and listings in terms or just “price” and how you can gain clients, win listings and sell homes through sharing your story.

Not only is storytelling a fun way to let people know what services you offer, it also allows your personality to shine through and be able to connect with clients on a much deeper level. Whether through personal interactions, video, social media, advertising or promotion, everyone has a unique story to tell and that story should be at the forefront of everything you do.


How will you use storytelling and the lessons from Gen Blue in your business? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.