Real estate pros need to keep up with social changes or face losing their livelihood in the next decade, a Tennessee-based broker and speaker told Charleston area agents at a Realtors of Distinction luncheon April 24.

In a whirlwind talk, Brian Copeland showed slide images and audio variations of the sultry hit "Fever" from Vegas crooner Peggy Lee, pop star Madonna and rapper Rhymefest to delineate the industry's evolution from a broker-centric business in 1960 when the song first struck gold to the consumer-centric trade of today. He displayed videos of his six-year-old son to show how impressionable he acts toward the family's Alexa virtual assistant — a nearly unheard of device even early in the decade.

Copeland mapped out the primary types of real estate customers today, flavoring the descriptions with everything from the optimum visual colors to lettering "fonts" to show how to appeal to the groups in marketing campaigns.

One group, "achievers," are saying, "They feel they've made it." The "emulators," meanwhile, are trying to stay ahead of the social curve, "looking at what would be big — say, downtown Charleston," says Copeland, chief of broker services for Village Real Estate in Nashville and the 2018 Immediate Past President of Tennessee Realtors.

The largest segment entering the marketplace today is the "socially responsive consumer," he says. They want food security and locally grown products. "It not just an age thing (but) a lifestyle and social-environmental factor," Copeland notes.

"Realtors can do best listening," he says. "If not, you may not be top producers in 10 years."

Showing a scene of his 6-year-old bemoaning that a silent Alexa "isn't listening to me," Copeland compared it to today's real estate buyers and sellers. "That's the consumer. They want things right away," he says.

The keynote remarks were part of the 5,400-member Charleston Trident Association of Realtors' annual luncheon for top yielding salespeople.

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In a yearly event, the association honored dozens of Realtors of Distinction for 2017 while singling out the very best in the housing sector and for business-related real estate.

Michael Sally, of Carolina One Real Estate and a former CTAR president, was named Residential Realtor of the Year. Longtime broker Jack Owens, with Lee and Associates, was chosen Commercial Realtor of the Year.

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