Inman 100Each year, Inman News sponsors a “people’s choice” voting for the most influential person in real estate.  Inman nominates 100 strong candidates but voters may also write in someone not listed.  This week, I was very deeply honored to have been included on such a prestigious list of real estate leaders nationwide, and I’d be thrilled if you would consider voting for me.

Where to vote:  follow this link and the fields for entering your desired winner’s name and info will be about 20% of the way down (midway through the article and just after a large ad) – deadline is Dec 1, 2011:

What is Inman looking for with this people’s choice voting?  I’ll quote a couple of passages and then comment.

“It’s time to vote for a leader who you believe has had the most substantial impact on the real estate industry in the past year. ”  

“The Inman 100 list recognizes those whose voices and actions have the power to change the industry. Among them are individuals who embody strength, common sense, innovation, ingenuity, perseverance and progress. They include the industry’s brain trust and dealmakers, and those outside the industry who impact the business of buying and selling homes.”

So how did I, Mary Pope-Handy, a Silicon Valley Realtor with Sereno Group in Los Gatos and not a CEO of a big brokerage or large vendor, get named with realty’s best & brightest? It’s very humbling. But I think I have a few ideas as to why I’m getting the national spotlight. I’ll break it into a few bullet points, for those who may only know me from local blogging or home sales.

  • In 2007, together with Frances Flynn Thorsen, I won the Project Blogger contest (sponsored by Inman and Active Rain) and have been a leader in blogging and web marketing circles ever since.
  • In 2011 I was named “the best real estate agent in Silicon Valley” by the San Jose Mercury News. (Many of my clients now come to me from my blogs.)
  • Speaking & training: In addition to residential real estate sales in the San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga and greater Silicon Valley area (Santa Clara County and nearby), I do speak at real estate meetings, trainings and classes on blogging, social media, real estate and related topics; to keep it short, I’ll post a link rather than list my involvement:
    Read more about my speaking & training on my Valley of Hearts Delight website.
  • While blogging is the most important part of social media for me, I am engaged on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedn, YouTube and other venues too. Through these, I have a pretty good reach or impact on the web.  This is good for my realty business generally but also good for the owners of homes I list, as they get fantastic exposure when listed for sale with me.
  • I don’t just have one website or one blog, but rather a network of them.  I may be a little crazy for embracing blogging to this extent (yes, it is time consuming), but I  hear time and again how much the info I put out there is helping people, both consumers and other real estate licensees alike (and not just folks buying & selling homes).  I’ve had agents at Sereno Group thank me for blogging, saying that it raises the bar in the industry, makes the company look good, and in one case, by association, apparently I helped a colleague to gain a listing (he told me that I make him look good because it shows the strength of our firm).  That’s a positive influence too.
  • When I train, speak to or blog for a real estate agent audience, I try to provide helpful tips and encourage authenticity and transparency and to skip the games, the slick closing techniques or any smoke & mirrors. In other words, I really do try to raise the bar on our standard of practice.   I can be outspoken on what I believe is right or wrong with either the way the business is worked or, perhaps more of interest at the moment, the way social media is being employed to help agents to run their business. Sometimes I hold positions that aren’t popular but I hope that at a minimum, it helps agents to reconsider putting their values into action for the betterment of consumers as well as the real estate community.

Who, then, is a big real estate influencer?  I suspect that everyone on this highly esteemed list really is one.  Heads of brokerages directly impact how those companies work, their standards and requirements, how they hire and train and so on.  Real estate coaches (and there were several of them on this collection of super stars) directly impact their clients – agents and brokers – and help them to improve the way they work, suggest how those individuals can best use their time, etc.  I could go through the list and indicate why each category matters.

Only about a dozen of us on the list are simply Realtors, in the trenches, selling and networking and changing to meet the changing demands of the industry.   My hat is off to each person named, whether a real estate agent, vendor, CEO, manager coach or any other category.  And there are many other great people who weren’t there in writing who also deserve kudos as well.  I think it’s fair to say that everyone listed this year or in recent years past has been a highly influential force in the real estate landscape today.  We can’t vote for them all.  I do hope that you will vote for me!