With this year’s Best Ever Conference around the corner, attendees will have the opportunity to take advantage of a variety of incredible personalities and resources gathered together in the same room. Every investor lauds the power of education and networking, and in-person events offer the best of both worlds.
While I enjoy hosting and attending meetups, paid conferences deliver greater value for me. Conference attendees are not just interested in real estate, they are committed. They have paid money to attend an event, including the event ticket, lodging, and transportation. They invested in the event to create the kind of connections or learn the insights that could help them elevate their portfolio and improve their lifestyle.
After experiencing the power that attending the Best Ever Conference had on my own portfolio, I decided to create one a little closer to home. I partnered with a friend to launch the Midwest Real Estate Networking Summit in Chicago, modeled under the premise of bringing excellent speakers together for insightful discussions and rooting the experience in intentional networking.
Unfortunately, many people attend these conferences knowing there will be great opportunities to network, but have no real plan on how to make connections. Simply hoping you will meet that person who can change your business and solve your problems is not a strategy. Luckily, it’s not too late to devise a successful approach to grow your network.
4 Ways to Maximize Networking at a Real Estate Conference
1. Identify Key Connections in Advance
If you can gain access to the attendee list, identify key connections you would like to make in advance. Even if you can’t access the attendee list, you should be able to see the list of speakers. Identify who you would like to speak with and reach out to them in advance of the event to schedule a time to meet. Doing this ahead of the event shows that you are being intentional and makes it easier for that person to fit you into their schedule.
Even if you don’t have a specific person in mind, be clear about the kind of people you want to meet. Are you looking for potential partners, key principals, passive investors, etc.? If you’re clear on who you want to meet, you can share this with people when making introductions. This gives you an easy exit if the conversation isn’t progressing.
2. Get Recognized Through a Personal Brand
Before I launched my own podcast, I remember meeting Reed Goossens at the Best Ever Conference. I knew exactly who he was from listening to his show. He had no clue who I was. That didn’t stop me from recognizing him and talking to him like we already had an established relationship.
Reed had built a personal brand and made it easy for others to seek him out. This established an instant connection as those who followed his content had familiarity with him. Meeting in person was the last step to solidify the relationship and potential partnership. If you want to stand out at an event, build a personal brand through social media, podcasting, videos, or events. This enables other people to seek you out and facilitates the relationship-building process.
3. Host an Event
If you’re not lucky enough to be a speaker at the real estate conference, consider hosting an auxiliary event. This could be a small coffee gathering with a handful of people or a separate, stand-alone event. Hosting a breakfast, happy hour, or meetup for event attendees and other locals could provide you with the platform to stand out and build your own stage.
In my marketing days, this was a guerilla marketing tactic we used when brands were not officially approved to be at a big event. We had no problem getting close to the action with the intent to siphon attendees in the area. Just be careful not to compete or tick off the event organizers or you could face negative consequences.
4. Set a Goal to Make One “Real” Connection Each Day
This tip should be credited to Joe Fairless, who shared this at one of the first Best Ever Conferences. Instead of trying to meet as many people as you can, focus on building one strong connection that you can grow after the event. This is the old “quality over quantity” approach. Meeting 50 people or getting 50 business cards is less valuable than building a connection with a handful of people that can help you accelerate your growth.
The goal of these events is not to network with every attendee. Instead, spend a little bit of time with a lot of people with the intention of finding a few people to spend a lot of time with going forward. These four tips can pay dividends if you plan to attend conferences to build your network.
About the Author:
John Casmon has helped families invest passively in over $100 million worth of apartments. He is also the host of the #1 rated multifamily podcast, Multifamily Insights. Prior to multifamily, John was a marketing executive overseeing campaigns for Buick, Nike, Coors Light, and Mtn Dew: casmoncapital.com