In two jam-packed days, Tyler Auerbacher and the team at Dippidi managed to wrangle 27 different sessions, 30+ speakers, and an incredible amount of quality content together for the Dippidi Deep Dive 2021 virtual conference.

Attendees got a lot of value here—from a de facto free coaching session from Tom Ferry, branding advice from Gary Vaynerchuk, to the incredible story of how The Broke Agent (the funniest brand in real estate) came to be from the founder himself, Eric Simon. If you couldn’t make it to Deep Dive this year, fear not. We put together 12 of our biggest takeaways from the conference. Here’s what we learned:

1. Tom Ferry’s Blockbuster Prediction: 50% of Transactions Will Have a Referral Fee by 2023

tom ferry headshot

Real estate coach and all-around Jedi master Tom Ferry pulled no punches in his predictions for what the future of real estate lead generation will look like.

His message was simple: Lead sources like Zillow,, and even financial institutions like Quicken Loans are already moving into a referral fee model when it comes to lead generation, giving leads away for free on the outset, but charging a hefty percentage when they close. By 2023, 50% of transactions will involve a referral fee.

Will this come true? We know it’s bad karma to go against a heavy like TF, but here at The Close, we think this is a little extreme. Our amended prediction; 50% of PAID real estate leads will involve a referral fee.

2. Your Zillow Reviews Are Becoming Less Valuable (We Think)

Zillow Offers Map

We heard multiple presenters speak about the importance of reviews in generating real estate referrals, in branding, and to your overall marketing strategy. However, with Zillow’s move into the brokerage space with their iBuying business, and with the introduction of new programs like Zillow Flex, the idea that Zillow is now a competitor to Realtors rather than a tool for Realtors is really hitting home.

What does this mean? It means that if Zillow truly pulls off the gloves and enters the market as an unabashed competitor, the reviews you’ve collected on their website could become de-emphasized and harder to find.

This conjecture had many presenters suggesting a de-prioritization of Zillow review solicitation and a move towards other sources. Specifically, Google Reviews (more on that later) is the next gangster move in review strategy.

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9 Tips to Earn More Reviews & Help Build Referrals & Repeat Clients

3. If You’re a Bottom 25% Performing Real Estate Agent, Technology Is Coming For Your Job

Agents drinking coffee

When conference host Tyler Auerbacher asked presenters whether or not they thought advances in technology were threats to real estate agents, the resounding answer was “No, but…”.

Many presenters talked about how tech wasn’t a replacement for an agent. Rather, it’s an empowering tool for our consumers that renders underperforming real estate agents less valuable.

Tom Ferry summed up the overall presenter sentiment on this topic well in his conversation with media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk, when he said,

The real estate transaction is always going to be a big enough deal that people are going to want experts involved in it. However, the agents involved have to know their stuff and provide value. So, the bottom 25% of agents in this country, the ones whose value proposition isn’t clear, those agents are in trouble; they are going to get replaced by smarter tools and technology, because they aren’t providing value to the consumer.

4. If You Don’t Have Your Google Business Page Set Up, Don’t Walk, RUN to Your Computer

Google My Business logo

In January 2021, Google began quietly rolling out an expansion to their “Google Screened” service to include real estate agents.

If you’re not familiar with Google Screened, it is an optional paid service that allows certain professionals to verify their credentials and then appear in a special search area for local service providers. Google is over-indexing this right now (meaning it’s getting more exposure in people’s search results than it would normally) in an effort to get consumers to use it. But the typical Realtor hasn’t done what they need to appear here yet.

In some U.S. markets where there are thousands of Realtors, there are literally only a dozen agents showing up as Google Screened.

This is a MAJOR opportunity for agents, but in order to qualify for Google Screened, you have to have a verified Google Business Page (free to set up), and the more Google reviews you have, the more likely you are to show up in people’s searches.

So, if you don’t have your Google Business Page ready to go, get started immediately, and make sure you’re requesting reviews on Google to build your page’s authority.

5. BitCoin and Digital Real Estate Marketing Have More in Common Than You Think


If you’ve never heard of Bitcoin, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the last five yearsa rock that didn’t get good cell reception. Even though cryptocurrency and blockchain feel a million miles away from the topic of real estate marketing, Delaware Realtor and TikTok influencer Zachary Loft explained why his connection between these topics is exactly what agents need to hear right now. Here’s what he had to say:

“Bitcoin is interesting because the more people use it, the more it gets adopted by society at large, the more valuable and influential it becomes. The same can be said for digital real estate marketing. The more agents who engage in strategic, high-quality digital marketing, the more our clients and prospects will be trained to engage us there, meaning the more predictable the locations of our new leads become. The industry benefits as a whole the more we all get better at doing this.”

This is an especially powerful conclusion when you consider that traditional real estate marketing like direct mail actually has the opposite effect. If every single agent decided that postcards were their primary way to communicate with you, we’d all have 50 postcards a day in our mailbox, and the effectiveness of each of them would be near zero.

6. Don’t Be Stefani Germanotta, Be Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

One of the major themes of Dippidi Deep Dive 2021 was recognizing your skillset, accelerating your time and effort in places where you can have the most impact, and utilizing your resources to contract out the work you can’t accomplish in the time you need it or with the quality it requires.

Tom Ferry told agents to “stop being a roadie and start being Lady Gaga”, and noted, “We shine when we’ve got a microphone in our hands, so why in the world would we spend time tuning the guitars?”

Ferry went on to say that this in no way means that agents should stop expanding their skills and learning new things. But the hallmark of a “stuck” agent is someone who can’t scale their business because they’re unable or unwilling to outsource tasks. Namely, the ones that could be accomplished by someone else (and in many cases, at a higher level).

7. Discouraged By Low Social Media Engagement? Don’t Be.


Media and branding guru Gary Vaynerchuk dropped in on Tom Ferry’s keynote session on Day One and shared some valuable advice for anyone who is struggling with their social media.

“I hate when people tell me that their social media isn’t doing anything. It is. It absolutely is. More people are seeing your stuff than you think, and that visibility is critical to success. Your YouTube video only has 65 views? Great. Imagine how much time and effort you’d need to put in to go knock on 65 doors? You’re getting the benefit of 65 door-knocks with a single video that is only going to keep growing. Engagement is important, but recognizing your performance in the context of the goals of your business is more important.”

8. Sell With Stories, Not Statistics

Tristan Ahumada

If you’ve been in any of the popular discussions over in the Lab Coat Agents Facebook Groups, you’ve probably heard the advice of CEO Tristan Ahumada. Ahumada’s session was all about creating community in your marketing, and the takeaway from his session was clear:

Your prospects aren’t going to connect with you because you’re sharing numbers, they’re going to connect with you because they identify with you as a person. Don’t provide someone with the numerical evidence that now is the time they should buy or sell, tell them a story about why now is the time to buy or sell. That way, when they’re ready to pull the trigger, they think of you and not just the numbers. 

9. Real Estate Agents Are Running Media Companies That Also Happen to Sell Houses

Gary Vaynerchuk headshot

In one of his patented rants, Vaynerchuk responded to a question about what he thought one of the biggest hurdles were for real estate agents when it comes to pursuing their own success, and his response was pure gold:

“Most real estate agents fail or at least fail at reaching the level of success they should reach because they are constantly misclassifying their jobs. Guys, your job isn’t to just sell houses. Yes, that is something you do, but in order to do that, you’ve got to get your message out, at scale, to the right people, at the right time. That means consistency, that means identifying the places where 1v1 communication is essential, that means identifying opportunities and capitalizing on them before your competitors do. 

If more real estate agents treated their business like media companies that also happen to sell houses, there’d be more successful real estate agents.”

10. Smart Agents Are Using COVID as a Conversation Starter

welcome mat

If you’re part of The Close Pro, you’ve undoubtedly heard me speak about the second-order effects of COVID-19 and the global pandemic. While these events have been major disruptors of the real estate industry and the world at large, they’re also flashpoints that are moving consumers towards new thinking about their homes.

Barry Jenkins, Chief Marketing Officer with one of most active Better Homes and Gardens franchises in the nation, went deeper into this topic with this observation:

“When people think about moving to a new home, they get excited about the possibility of new space. When they think about selling a home, they get stressed, scared, and avoid moving forward because the process of selling a home is unpleasant. We can be the bridge between the excitement around a new home and actually making it happen.”

Tom Ferry took this advice even further and gave us a great line to use when talking to new seller leads: “How has COVID-19 and the last year of your life changed the way you feel about your home?”

Taking Jenkins’ advice and using Ferry’s line seems like a recipe for success.

11. “The Mere Exposure Effect” Explains Why Our Sphere of Influence Is So Important

jason pantana

Jason Pantana is a superstar in the Tom Ferry Coaching Universe, and in his keynote session, he showed he’s more than just a coach. He’s a scientist, too. Jason’s session focused on the idea of being the agent of choice and not the agent of chance—a strategy that is going to get you more business thanks to the ‘mere exposure’ effect.

If you’re not familiar with this (don’t worry, we weren’t either), the ‘mere exposure’ effect is the observation that consumers are more likely to transact with a Realtor they’re familiar with. This means that everything else being equal, a Realtor with a bus stop ad is more likely to land a listing than a Realtor without one.

If you follow this line of thinking, it tells us that a lead source like a geographic farm is going to be more productive than a cold lead source like Zillow (by percentage points). It also means that your sphere of influence is going to be more productive than your real estate farm. Your close friends and family—the people who most know, like, and trust you—are going to be the most productive of all.

Renee Funk, eXp heavy hitter and founder of echoed this sentiment even more in her session when she said, “Agents building a sustainable pipeline will attract business from those around them, not get caught up in chasing it down from others.”

Bottom line here is that thoughtful, consistent exposure of your brand, your services, and your listings is the best way to advance your business, so you’d do well to prioritize it.

Bringing It All Together

The Dippidi Deep Dive conference was well worth the price of admission (free!) and we got to hear some really valuable lessons from solid industry experts. We’re already excited about Deep Dive 2022. We’ll keep you in the loop when details are released.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for more places to engage in conversation around these topics, join The Close Real Estate Agents Mastermind Facebook Group where we dig into topics like this and a ton more. Come get in on the conversation.

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