I’ve just returned from the 2014 National Association of REALTORS Conference, which was held this year in New Orleans. Every year I’ve attended, I’ve worked to find some tidbits of information to share with the agents back at the office. This year, however, NAR granted me access to the recordings of all the sessions and I felt free to focus on my own personal growth as a broker/coach/accountability partner.

Two sessions were especially meaningful to me. The first was from Bruce Gardner of Strategy Box titled Coaching Your Agents with the Seven Success Styles. Bruce hammered home the point we’ve all known for a long time—there isn’t just one successful type of salesperson. Different customers actually create a demand for many different sales styles and there’s a secret sauce to finding and coaching to each distinctive style. The other session that blew me away was from Trista Curzydlo of C4 Consulting titled Risk Reductions for Brokers in a Digital Age. When the session started, I felt as if I had a pretty good handle on what she was going to talk about. About 5 minutes in, I was pleasantly blown away. If you’re running a real estate company right now, it would be in your best interest to let Trista bend your mind a little bit with her challenging questions and tips on the risk and management of what she calls “New Media”. This girl isn’t just the smartest kid on the block, she’s also wildly entertaining with the ability to create fun where there’s usually fear and boredom.

On the Expo Floor I didn’t find a whole lot of new this year, but I did find a friend who’s launched a new product that seems like a great way to keep in touch with past clients. I was happy to find he expanded on the items we talked about last year and has created something that could turn out to be very valuable in a real estate transaction. Essentially, an active living history of a home—it’s called Home Diary. Don’t worry, the product is totally free and gives agents the ability to load their personal info and logo to the site. Once you’re set up, you can easily invite a list of friends or clients to create their own Home Diary. As the years go by in the home, owners can load information such as details on new appliances, extra work that’s been completed, receipts, warranties and more. When they go to sell the property they’ll simply share that info with their real estate agent and also have a reference to help fill out that dreaded seller’s disclosure.

As everyone knows by now, I’m not this serious worker bee all the time. Heck, we were in New Orleans, a place that demands you have fun—even the networking events were awesome. I was incredibly happy to have my real estate partner/husband with me this trip. Josh is one to turn every place he travels into his hometown and explore outside the tourist box. We became streetcar aficionados, honorary New Orleans Saints fans at the local spot Bamboula’s, part of the crowd at the Treme Creole Gumbo (Jazz) Festival, a bit of a blue crab eating spectacle in the French Market, Wild Thing singers on Royal Street and solid friends with a couple of locals. Here’s some fun pics from the trip.