The IBS2020 Recap

Titans Clash, Unicorns Shine, and Quint Lears Awes

The 2020 International Builders Show just wrapped-up and I am intoxicated by the possibilities the future holds for our industry. It’s no surprise my time at the show is almost completely spent in Sales Central, the sales and marketing education sessions, or connecting with the sales and marketing pros in attendance. This year just kept giving and giving.

Full disclosure, I had to trim my highlight list for fear that no one would ever get to the end. But I’m still including so many amazing happenings. And yes, I’m going to share the goods on that rocket ship everyone’s been talking about – 🚀 Quint Lears.

Buckle up . It’s happening.

Clients & Partners Meetup at TopGolf

The ONeil Interactive team held our second annual IBS Kickoff Party at TopGolf in Las Vegas. Our team was honored by the good people that accepted our invite and enjoyed some adult beverages 🍻, spicy tacos 🌮, and golf🏌️‍♀️. It’s noteworthy that this event has limited space, so we can never seem to include everyone we want. I see bigger venues in our future.

Habitat for Humanity Fundraiser

The ONeil team is serious about becoming a double-bottom-line organization. In 2019, we shared the TopGolf event to help Iowa Skilled Trades raise money. In 2020, we announced the #ONeilChallenge to encourage selfie taking and donation making to benefit Habitat for Humanity Australia to assist in the rebuilding needs after the devastating fires. We’ll be reporting on our total donation soon!

A Silent Disco at Tech Bytes

Ever heard of a silent disco? Me either, but apparently it is an event where the attendees wear headphones and dance to music played only through those headphones. Everyone without headphones gets to have actual conversations using a normal speaking voice. I might actually go to this club. #TooOldForDaClub

The Tech Bytes room is a crowd favorite at IBS featuring technology focused talks in snack-sized thirty minute sessions. This year’s Tech Bytes attendees wore headphones to hear one of the two presentations going on stage at the same time! If the presentation bores you, just flip the switch and start listening to the other choice. No pressure for the presenters, right?!

As a speaker, all-in-all, it was way less weird than I thought it would be. And the competitor in me enjoyed the prospect of winning over some headphones from my onstage “opponent.”

Robert Cowes of SmartTouch Interactive and I spoke in the Tech Bytes room on Tuesday morning; helping attendees decide on the appropriate size and scope of homebuilder website projects.

Later in the week Megan English and I presented a Tech Bytes session on search engine optimization for builders, titled SEO Demystified: The Truth About Getting to the Top. I’m always going to enjoy presenting a session where I can #GetNerdyWithIt. Megan shared the backstory of some major organic traffic successes alongside the data to support it, and advice for the attendees to recreate it.

The Beatles is the Right Answer

I caught up with Mike Lyon of Do You Convert on Tuesday afternoon for a quick hallway interview on the future of data and marketing attribution. Note – I’ll be filing an appeal on the judges ruling at the end.


Marketing Breakfast Coffee ☕️

I am not a morning person. Not even close. So this might be the first and only time I RSVP to a Facebook event invite for anything happening at 6:30am. Thankfully the time zones were in my favor, and the invite came from Will Duderstadt. So, yeah, I’m going.

The Digital Marketing Breakfast was co-founded by Will Duderstadt and Kevin Oakley many years ago and it just keeps growing. It may eventually need a convention center of its own. I enjoy the breakfast and I love the top notch people, but another highlight of breakfast is asking Will, “Why did you choose this place?”

One year, it was “because the chicken and waffles photo in the GMB (Google My Business) listing looked amazing.” This year’s venue was The Peppermill which Will chose because it has been open for 48 years and the original hostess and bartender are still active employees. Marketers love stories. Everyone loves stories, right?

Megan and I were bummed there was only time for a brief hello. I shotgunned some coffee and we headed over to the convention center for another full day of action.

Adam and Chelsea in Sales Central

Adam Van Bavel and Chelsea Keenan of Group Two kicked off day two in Sales Central with ideas of attracting and retaining young professionals to the industry.

Megan, Jenna, and Beth Take the Stage

I’ve been excited about this session for months. This presentation, The Sale Begins with Your Website, marks Megan’s third consecutive year presenting at IBS. Alongside her are Jenna Verrecchio, whom many of you know and love as our Digital Producer, and Beth Russell, the talented and DYC-certified unicorn 🦄 Director of Marketing for Stylecraft in Texas.

This was Jenna’s and Beth’s first ever IBS presentation and they nailed it. They practiced and rehearsed like professionals and it was apparent.

Clash of The Titans ⚡️ Season Three

I have so much trouble describing my love and affection for this session without sounding like giggling child. I have so much fun preparing I feel like I should be paying someone — please don’t tell NAHB 😉.

Clash of The Titans is edutainment – one-part serious debate, one-part comedy sketch, and one part animated gifs. Imagine important topics like branding and content marketing being argued to the extreme using PowerPoint slides featuring baby yoda, Sir Mix-a-Lot, and robot soccer. Each debate is rounded out with authentic takeaways to provide attendees with real-life perspectives to help them decide their best path forward.

The O.T.’s (Original Titans if you’re new), Will Duderstadt, Kevin Oakley, and myself, all participated. This season of Clash of The Titans leveled-up with three new Titans who delivered in a big way – Kristi Allen of Woodcastle Homes and My Home Story App, Alaina Money-Garman of Garman Homes and Fresh Paint, and Ali Webster of Zillow.

The title of “Titan” implies ego, but there was none of that. This is just a golden group of humans, who also happen to be marketing Titans, excited to give the attendees everything they’ve got. I have much love for this group. We packed the room and brought down the house.

Quint Lears: If you don’t know, now you know

I rarely miss an IBS Super Sales Rally, but there was no chance I was going to miss this one. I have major respect for all the speakers this year – Mary Marshall-Forrest, Mollie Elkman, Quint Lears, and the legendary Myers Barnes. Admittedly, I was most excited to see Quint. I feel like I’ve known Quint forever, but he and I only first met at IBS in 2017. We became fast friends and I don’t think we’ve stopped talking since.

I have never met anyone who so relentlessly and so honorably pursues their goals. Quint is an active new home salesperson; selling 84 homes in 2019. Eighty-Four 🤯. I checked in with Quint to make sure I had his volume accurate and here’s how that conversation went…

So… Quint helped 84 families own a brand new home in 2019 😁. He’s right. It does sound better.

Quint’s ideas and his energy are too big for him alone. They are destined to be shared. I’ve watched his credibility rise among industry leaders and he’s earned every drop. So when I heard Quint was going to be a part of the Super Sales Rally, I was incredibly excited for my friend. And guess what? He. Killed. It.

Quint dropped heartfelt stories, actionable sales tips, and left the stage to huge applause – bringing many attendees to their feet. Seriously. I could see and hear the audience fully engaged in his every word, but it was the applause that sealed it. I felt this wave of gratitude that Quint was on stage, that the audience embraced his genius, and I was grateful that our industry has Quint on the team. I’m grateful that he’s worked so hard to develop himself. So much so that he’s overflowing with goodness and he can now share that magic with others.

His arrival on the stage was unmistakable, and his impact dominated the conversations for the rest of the show. You don’t have to take my word for it – just browse the chatter on Kevin Oakley’s Facebook post from immediately after the rally. The consensus opinion is crystal clear.

This will be one of those moments people refer to years from now and say, “I was there for Quint’s very first Super Sales Rally.” Like Will Duderstadt commented, “He’s an overnight sensation years in the making” and I’m proud to call him a friend.

Thank You, Sir

On Thursday, my last session ended at 12:30p. For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to book a flight home that departed at 2:30p. Needless to say, I was in a bit of a hurry leaving the Tech Bytes room.

As I was exiting the room, I had to stand still for a moment when I reached the door because everyone in front of me did the same. Anyone who’s been herded out the exit door at an IBS session knows what I mean.

Beyond the door, there was a gentleman standing to my right. As he’s just inside my peripheral view, he looks at me and says, “You know, you’ve got a really great team.” His words punched me square in the feels. I managed to get out a “Thank you so much for sharing that” before I continued my dash for the cab queue.

Yes, I’ve received compliments about our team many times from clients, partners, and friends #HumbleBrag. I love and appreciate all of them. However, I didn’t know this man. Despite the lack of any working relationship, he felt compelled to share a compliment about the ONeil Interactive team. And I can only assume he formed that opinion based on seeing the team presenting onstage and interacting with others.

I agree. Our team is really great. I’m humbled that this man sees what I see.

Full heart. ✓

Thank you, sir.

Dennis O'Neil

Dennis O'Neil


Dennis has spent over 22 years using the internet to sell and market new homes. He blogs about internet marketing for home builders here, wrote a book about technology's impact on the sales process, and is a respected speaker on advanced internet marketing and the online sales process.

  • Cindy P

    Thank you for your recap of IBS…almost felt like I was there…ALMOST 🙁 Hope to see you soon to hear the ‘behind the scenes’ stories!