The 2018 Texas REALTORS® Conference from September 7 to September 10 features 40 hours of CE from top instructors covering topics including how to keep your clients coming back, saving money on your taxes, smarter marketing strategies, and tips to avoid legal trouble. Here, seven instructors answer questions relating to their sessions. See a full schedule of events and register at

What is a step REALTORS® can take toward achieving a greater work-life balance?

Jessica Rector: Fully engage with others when they are at home. It’s easy to be at home and still be plugged into work. So it means putting your phone in the other room, shutting it off, and not grabbing it when it rings, when a text comes in, or when you get bored. Give yourself permission to shut off work. Designate an “off” time and stick with it. Be present, fully engaged, and add more fun to your life.

Jessica Rector’s session “Avoiding burnout” is from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. on Monday, September 10.

What kind of insurance should brokers consider to be covered for cybercrime?

John Torvi: Real estate firms are especially vulnerable to cybercrime due to their access and storage of confidential personal information, wide use of electronic and social media, and awareness of and access to escrow and deposit funds. While real estate professionals may be skilled in the transaction of real estate business, they, like many small- and mid-size businesses, lack the IT skills needed to better defend against the cybercriminals.

Brokers should consider cybercrime coverage that responds to a data breach or theft, ransomware, or extortion attack, as well as computer fraud, wire fraud, and social engineering. While many preventive steps can be taken to minimize this risk, no business is immune from computer crime. Insurance plans can be developed that are customized to each firm’s unique needs and includes risk management and preventative information.

John Torvi’s session “Cybercrime management for real estate firms … issues and solutions,” is from 1 to 3 p.m. on Monday, September 10.

What is one surprising way a REALTOR® can gain more business through existing clients?

Terri Murphy: Most agents do not have a regular, systematic protocol for re-activation and nurturing past clients and customers. Here are a couple of quick tips.

  • Go through your database and identify the top 50 people who would provide you a referral this year.
  • Schedule a personal touch once every month for the next 12 months.
  • Don’t just call every month asking for a referral, but provide a personal, meaningful touch to each contact each month.
  • Record these touches in your CRM, and after each contact, schedule the next touch for the upcoming month.

Scheduling one call per week to your top 50 will get you through your list annually.

Terri Murphy has two sessions at this year’s event: “Seven simple systems for seven figure results” is from 9 to 10 a.m. on Friday, September 7, and “Five super strategies for keeping clients for life” is from 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 8.

What marketing strategy is it time for REALTORS® to ditch?

Craig Grant: Print advertising. In my pre-real estate life, I worked for The New York Times. While I was part of the online/digital divisions, my roots are in the print world. When I left The New York Times in 2005 to begin my journey in the real estate world, the shift for both consumers and advertisers away from print to online had already begun.

Even back then, I would hear the arguments that, “Print isn’t working; the only reason I am in this publication is because my customers expect me to be there.” Fast-forward to 2018, and print readership continues to drop, yet many REALTORS® still dedicate a considerable amount of their budgets to newspaper, magazine, and other print offerings. The problem is, your customers have moved online. So, if you are still using print in your marketing mix, make 2018 the year you finally say no more and move those marketing dollars to where your customers are—online.

Craig Grant has two sessions at this year’s event: “Market like a rock star on a roadie budget” from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and “The ultimate technology toolbox” from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, September 8.

What are barriers to growth REALTORS® often fall prey to?

Bruce Gardner: Agents need to figure out what their style of success is. In other words, what kind of lead-generation model works for them and their personality? That is one of the hurdles, because prior to figuring that out, REALTORS® spend a ton of time trying things and never getting any momentum behind one idea. Conversely, when REALTORS® do figure out their style, everything they should be doing makes total sense, and they start doing the right activities and become more efficient. Especially if their chosen style of generating leads matches their personality, everything feels very natural and authentic.

The second barrier is not getting help as business grows. It’s when you get to that spot where you’re working full time and not taking care of yourself, and what you really need is help with some of the administrative functions in real estate.

Bruce Gardner has three sessions at this year’s event: “Chasing greatness” from 8 to 9 a.m.; “The seven styles of real estate” from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m.; and “Extreme growth” from 1 to 3 p.m. on Monday, September 10.

What is one way for REALTORS® to provide outstanding customer service to Chinese clients?

Pius Leung: There are differences between the West and the East cultures. Understanding of the cultural and business protocol will help setting the foundation to provide outstanding customer service to investors from China.

Pius Leung’s session “Real estate and the Chinese business practices” is from 8:15 to 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, September 8.

What is one of the most common ways REALTORS® violate the Code of Ethics on social media?

Marki Lemons-Ryhal: Presenting content developed by others without attribution or without permission. In several cases, the REALTOR® is sharing a link back to their website where the property was displayed via an IDX feed.

The IDX policy authorizes participants to display IDX listings on public websites, mobile applications, and audio devices that participants “control.” For purposes of the policy, “control” means participants must have the ability to add, delete, modify, and update information as required by the policy. Posting other brokers’ listings on Facebook may not comply with all of the IDX display requirements (in particular, the requirement of listings being updated every 12 hours) and may, therefore, require separate authority from the listing broker to advertise.

Marki Lemons-Ryhal has two sessions at this year’s event: “Unethical and unlawful use of social media” from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. and “Implement a video strategy to secure leads quickly” from 1 to 3 p.m. on Monday, September 10.