AREC 2022 Accelerating into the next normal

AREC 2022 Accelerating into the next normal

Yes, we’ve got all the visual #fieldnotes waiting for you to download!

But if you want to grab some of the most memorable quotes, keep reading.

With the audience abuzz and the music pumping, the start of AREC was electric. After all the market highs and lows in the past year, our industry was ready to celebrate successes, share heartfelt stories (and yes, they made me cry), embrace the learning, and feel connected to this loud and crazy group of passionate property professionals.  

Here’s what we learned.

Day 1:

Matthew McConaughey

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Matthew McConaughey speaking at the AREC 2022 conference

Aim for joy, not happiness

Hollywood heart-throb and all-round nice guy Matthew McConaughey was the star all over the AREC promotion material and proved to be a real drawcard. Sharing his story from best-selling bio “Greenlights”, Matthew took us on a journey that showed us to look at life as a ‘verb.’

Life is a process. Focus on the journey looking for joy, not seeking the destination of happiness.

“Joy is about the enjoyment of the process and of doing what you are gifted to do”

Take away - if you aren't sure who you are, write down the list of who you are not and start from there.

Seth Godin

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Seth Godin speaking at the AREC 2022 conference.

Modern Marketing - Dancing on the edge of a revolution.

Seth is a remarkable talent who has packed his marketing and businesetss insights into more than 20 best sellers and a blog that he has written to every day for the past two decades. He takes the often complex world of marketing and breaks it down into a straightforward catchphrase:

“Everything you do that touches the market is marketing” 

For every brand, the end goal is to be “remarkable” - to have remarks about and what you deliver shared by the customers. To do this, you need to “stand for something, not everything.” Find your segment, and your specific audience and design your process to be authentic and consistent.

Take away - Don’t try and be the correct answer for everyone

Fiona Blayney

LinkedIn | Facebook 

Creating Space

This time with Fiona will probably be one of the most memorable for me. She presented such a simple analogue that you just can't argue with. Coming straight from time with Seth Godin, we heard again about the importance of consistency.

“Just give me a great coffee every single time because that’s what I asked for.”

Think about those coffee haunts who present, with ceremony, the tiny biscuit on the top of your cup. It’s taken someone time to bake, store and now deliver to your coffee experience. It's excellent… but only if the coffee they just made for you is to you - perfect.

It shouldn't matter who takes the order, who makes the espresso and who froths the milk - you want the same coffee you enjoyed yesterday and the day before. To do this, you need to have very defined processes that anyone in your business can step in and follow.

And don't try to be the coffee destination for everyone. Don’t worry that the 7-Eleven down the road is delivering coffee for a couple of dollars. Just create the experience that is the best fit for the customers you want.

Take away - don’t spend time worrying about the biscuit if your customer does not love your coffee (every time).

Dom Price 

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The Future of Work

Atlassian has taken the tech world by storm. I’m not sure I’ve met a developer who doesn't have a gig at Atlassian on their top 3 wishlists.
Dom is passionate about discovering healthy, effective collaboration patterns that allow teams to do the best work of their lives – because a fool with a tool is still a fool.

How did Atlassian grow from 2 guys in a garage in 2002 to a mega-billion market value? A lot of this success came down to the people . It started with the weights and the behaviours you are willing to walk, recognise and perpetuate.

He shared these “Top 5 super awesome things” that have helped them in their journey:

  1. Organisation Charts

Think of these as networks of teams  all full of friction and excitement - rather than the traditional top down line charts that only create people pleasers

  1. Teams are everything

Yes it can be hard to manage, but if you can focus on being adaptable, innovative and consider the emotional wellbeing as a shared ‘care’, you find the individuals within the team will thrive. Check out their playbook and make sure everyone in the group knows their role in decision making to build “decision velocity.”

  1. Make room to learn

Learning is messy and requires experimentation and blurry lines. To keep learning a priority, look to run your own personal 90 retros to reflect on what you loved, loathed and learned along the way.

  1. Think Tangents

Don’t keep looking for the answers close to home. Great candidates don’t have to come from your competitors. It’s often surprising to find significant correlations in entirely unrelated industries.

  1. Looping

Stop the linear process of “input -> process -> output” and move into continuous loops to “learn -> build -> measure” that allows you to have more minor conversations about what's important. Stop planning for 12 months and start experimenting in quarters.

Take away - argue like you’re right and listen like you're wrong.

Jessica Melling (LJ Hooker Property Club)

LinkedIn | Instagram
Take away - be actively involved in a community for only one reason, because you love it. Find your community, genuinely care and be active.

Jamie Lampard (Ballarat Real Estate Pty Ltd)


Take away - hire for attitude, not skill. Share the good, the bad and the ugly during recruitment. Build a consistent onboarding experience that sets clear expectations.

Cathy Cattell (PRD Nationwide)

LinkedIn | Instagram

“Real estate is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Take away - treat every buyer as a coming-soon seller and provide the resources that help this journey (e.g. ebook on how to calculate the costs of moving).

Dirk Miller


The Future of Real Estate Data

As Head of Real Estate Solutions at Core Logic - data is in Dirk’s blood, so he’s the go-to guy when it comes to making your data work smarter, not harder.

We all know it - real estate is a relationship game. Its personal interactions over what came to be a life-changing decision. So what is the role of data? More context, better conversations and improved customer experience. 

Using data to drive the personalisation of your communications can reveal your core competitive advantage. Think of it like a bathroom mirror covered with steam. Your image is there somewhere but hidden. As the room ventilation kicks in, you can slowly see more and more of an accurate picture.

But data will only become your most valuable asset when it is clean. 1 record = 1 person, 1 property = 1 property. Each email is held only once. Each phone number is held only once.

Take away - collect “zero-party” data as a business transaction. Their data in return for something they value. What's the most helpful piece of content you have that directly matches their situation?

Vinh Giang

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Vinh Giang speaking at the AREC 2022 conference.

Open Your Mind

If Vinh’s mission is to deliver unforgettable experiences, he nailed it at AREC 2022. On stage, with some random input from an even more random group of agents, Vinh used his magical talents to deliver life-changing lessons that did transform the audience.

  • Perspective - what you see, what others see. Do you see the full picture, or are you making conclusions and decisions based on a  limited view. What makes a significant problem-solving team is one with lots of different perspectives.
  • Influence - in particular, linguistic influence. There is an old philosophical concept that language shapes how we think and interact with the world. Taken to the extreme, this concept can be used to explain how language ultimately constrains our cognitive processes. How Vinh could guess which hand was holding the coin ⅘ times showed the power of his words to implant thoughts and outcomes into the unsuspecting.
  • Beliefs - Your beliefs dictate your actions, and those beliefs are formed by those nearest to them. Vinh shares the powerful insights that you are a direct reflection of the top 5 people you spend time with. If you want to develop a skill - spend time with a master of that skill. 
“Give possibility the benefit of the doubt.”

Take away - this time from Bruce Lee:

“When the student is ready, the master will appear.”

Day 2:

Mel Robbins

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Mel Robbins speaking at the AREC 2022 conference.

The 5 Second Rule

Mel Robbins is the most booked female speaker with a 7- figure speaking business. Oh yeah, she’s also a bestselling author, a former criminal defence attorney, a CNN commentator, happily married for 20 years and a mom of 3 kids.

But what you fall in love with is her passion, energy, straight-talking truth, and beautiful vulnerability. Her journey to discover the power of the 5-sec rule provides us with the certainty that everything will be ok if we just do something.

Via zoom, Mel explained you have 5 seconds to act out before your mind convinces you to do otherwise. It creates a process to combat the subconscious mind and forces us to act on our ideas. “The 5-second rule is simple.”

We often spend so much time thinking and worrying about the big plan - the big goal and get stuck. Knowing what to do is easy - it's the how that trips us all up. So counting backwards from 5 … just like a rocket launch … 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 drives us to just do the one next thing …no matter how small. 

“Life is not about the big stuff. It's about getting the little things right.”

Using this quick and straightforward tool then allows you to interrupt the old habits that were holding you back - panic, stress, procrastination, and build new habits that are action-based.

Take away -  positive optimism can be learned and developed. If you want to feel happier, take small (even  micro-actions) to deliver this and remember when things feel like shit, “this is preparing you for something else … further down your journey.”

Seth Godin (back again for part 2) 

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“There are footprints on the moon.”

Don't focus on perfect.

Show up with generosity.

Meet the spec - know what is expected and what level is ok.

Attitudes are a skill. Skills can be learn.

Understand the emotional labour component of what you do.

You know the world's worst boss - it’s you. 

Science is the action of experimenting until it works.

Art is doing something generously, knowing you might fail.

Take away - keep trying new things and learning. Do it ‘merely’ without the internal commentary, and especially don’t invent catastrophes.

Seth Watts


The Future is Now: technology and change

A government tunnel building project is millions over budget and years behind its timeline.

They knew where to go, and had detailed plans and timelines meticulously created and reviewed. They planned every small step and dependency.

A rocket builder knew he wanted to go to Mars. He had a goal but no idea how he would do it. So he built a rocket and blew it up, and he studied what happened. And then he repeated the process over and over. He was learning from mistakes at each stage. Just focussing on the next thing to do.

How to change the world:

  1. Find an idea
  2. Make a plan skip this stage
  3. Execute
“Don’t plan your way. Learn your way.”
“Do the least amount of wrong things.”

Take away - big change is hard. Instead, just do the next smallest thing.

Dr Gina Cleo

LinkedIn | Instagram

Habits for change

Every day we make more than 35,000 decisions, wow. It's draining. It's hard work. So what we do is automate some of these decisions - to reserve energy and save time. Those automations are habits. They are unconscious and unintentional. And they are triggered by a time and place.

Our habit loop is a cycle of trigger, cue, routine, and reward. I get home, walk past the kitchen, take a cookie and eat it. 

The change is in breaking habits. Restructuring the triggers … maybe there is another way past the kitchen .. and reprogramming or avoiding the trigger. 

How many days to make a new habit.

  • X 21 days
  • X 28 days
  • :) 66 days .. 2-3 months

So start easy - limit your goals to three. 

Then plan the first small action that you can do consistently.

Find the cue-response association (trigger).

Encounter the trigger and do the action (every day for 66 days).

Takeaway - having the same breakfast every day, drinking the same coffee and wearing the same shoes are all things we do to preserve our energy so we can use it when demands rise and the “self-control bank” is running low.

Kimberley Castle (The Property Collective)


Never Ending Improvement

Take away - Success is a three-ring circus: culture, business ops and client experiences. Help your culture thrive by creating processes around it. A Culture Playbook sets the expectations for behaviours and values.

Sarah Bell (RiTA by Aire) 


Smarter with Data

Take away - be smarter with data. Find the clusters or groups of ‘similar’ data points. It could be how much the buyer wants to spend or the kind of house. They build stories around these clusters. But you can't prospect to 130,000 people. So add a filter, a refinement and reduce the audience. Again and again. Until you have ‘the’ perfect audience - one that the data tells you is ready right now to hear your story so that you appear first in their “suggested”  real estate playlist.

Mina Radhakrishnan

LinkedIn | Instagram

Doing things:Differently

Take away - change your thinking from onboarding to take-over and you’ll get a better sense of the anxiety at the user’s end. Then you can build a better experience specifically for that stage in the journey.

Mario Sanfrancesco (Blackshaw Real Estate)

LinkedIn | Instagram

“Fall in love with the process, not the reward.”

Take away - complexity is the killer and simplicity is the key. Take everything away - from your desk, in your car or your phone. Then, only put back what you need to focus on in the present.

Laura McKay (Highland Property Agents)

LinkedIn | Instagram

Building teams for growth

Take away - the best part of building your own small teams (EBUs) is to cover your weaknesses, deliver service and scale and provide all the team with a valued contribution, but only if everyone runs in their lane.

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