Networking: Maximizing Your ROI at National Meetings

by David Morris, CCIM

I hope your 2017 goals include attending at least one national meeting at NAR, CCIM, SIOR, IREM®, RLI, CRE®, or your brokerage’s national meeting. Attending these events opens your doors to regional, national, and international opportunities. To get the most out of your investment, I suggest committing to attend an annual conference for at least three consecutive years. Do not look at it as an expense! It’s an investment in your future you will recoup by building relationships, learning best practices, and encouraging referrals

Plan Ahead

Once you pick a conference, choose which sessions to attend to make sure your schedule is balanced and you are optimizing your learning experience. Look for topics that impact your market and speakers who have achieved the goals you set for yourself.

Build Your Conference Database

Build a database of conference attendees. Call the event organizer and ask for a list of attendees. If you are a designee, such as CCIM, SIOR, break down the list to the brokers who share your designation.

Two weeks before the conference, send an email (HTML or Outlook “Mail Merge” function) introducing yourself, your market, your specialty and be sure to include a headshot. Add concise commentary about what’s going on in your market and attach your most recent market report. Mention that you look forward to meeting that person at the conference to share market knowledge, connections, and best practices over a beer or a cup of coffee. This is a great way to break the ice. People who received your email will be more open to approach you since you already made a soft-introduction. During the conference, get as many business cards as possible. Write notes on the back of each broker’s card about what you talked about or what you learned/shared.

Post-Conference Follow Up

Within a week of the conference, add your new contacts to your database. Draft a follow up email (HTML or Outlook Mail Merge) to everyone highlighting some of your “take- aways” from the event and that your eagerness to work/ collaborate with them if they should have any business coming to your market and visa-verse.

On-Going Engagement

Building a conference database over a few years and sending introduction-emails will ensure referrals and your conference ROI. It is professional and an immediate way to expand relationships and build your business.

David Morris, CCIM is the former Managing Director of the Grubb & Ellis office in St. Louis. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn at davidmorrisccim

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