5 Tips for Getting the Most out of a Convention or Expo!
This my 22nd consecutive time to attend the National Association of REALTOR’S Annual Convention. I love it because I get the bigger picture of what our industry is up to!. About 25,000 REALTORS attend the meetings, education classes and walk the expo. I have spoken at the last 6 Conventions with 3 other sessions in the 90’s. Through the years, depending on whether I was an officer for WCR or on a national committee, the specific meetings and activities changed, but the connections and perspective have been very valuable. This year I am getting trained to teach the new e-PRO full day class with Amy Chorew and the updated WCR PMN Business of our Business Class with Betty Kinkaid. What fun!
It is easy to get overwhelmed and to wander aimlessly. If you want to get the most out of this (or any other large meeting, here are my five tips for making the most of being there.
1. Have a Plan! Why are you attending?
Is for the classes & education ?
For the networking? I have closed several referrals that have been a result of someone I have met at the Convention.
To attend or observe the National Meetings of NAR, WCR, CRS ? Perhaps you are an officer or a voting member.
To see firsthand all the cutting edge products and get to talk to the representatives?
Or maybe it’s to go somewhere cool you’ve never been before and have a business purpose & write-off. Too many times I have neglected to spend a little time seeing the sites and have regretted it. Good planning fits this in, rather than making it an afterthought!
So, take a look at the schedule and fit in the activities you are interested in, the meetings you plan to attend and the breakfast, lunch & dinner plans.
2. Prepare for the networking.
Bring lots of cards! Is your business card memorable? Does it clearly identify where you live and who your target market is?
Is there another way you can differentiate yourself? One year an agent I know had bought bags of microwave popcorn and attached a card with her contact information that read ”I hope my name will pop up when you need an real estate agent in Houston.” How can you be memorable?
Make a goal for your networking. Do not just hang out with folks from home you see all the time. Intentionally meet others. Perhaps meeting 25 new people each day!
Are there certain cities people relocate from to your town? Make it an objective to connect.
3. Have a plan for the trade show.
Look through the program and circle or list the booths that have products or services you are particularly interested in and visit those first.\
Then go through methodically from beginning to end. If a booth you are interested in is crowded, make a note of the booth number and come back later or the next day.
4. Plan the education sessions. There are over 100 and it is a great opportunity to see your favorite speaker or instructors. This year, every full attendee is getting the recorded sessions as part of their registrations! What a wonderful benefit. In previous years, the full set usually cost $350+ and I’ve always felt it was worth it to purchase them!
5. Action Items! Keep a little notebook or open a document on your phone to capture your action items. Too often, we’ll return with flyers, brochure and ideas and they’ll get swept aside by catching up and business as usual. Set a time after the convention when you get back home to read your action list and put the things that will enhance your business on the calendar. Don’t let the ideas slip away.
Plan your time and you’ll find the payoff will make it all worthwhile!!!