Updated: Jan 26
Real estate conferences are a great way to learn new things, meet new people and expand your professional network. They provide an opportunity to learn about the latest industry trends, share ideas with peers, and make connections with potential business partners or investors.
While conferences are a lot of fun, it’s important to know how to meet new people, remember who you met and what you talked about, and follow up after the conference in order to build strong relationships that will last beyond the event. For many of us in the industry, networking is one of the things we like best about attending a conference, but it can also be intimidating for those that are new to the industry or those of us who may be more introverted.
Whether you're new to real estate or a networking pro, here are some ideas on growing your professional network and maximizing its potential in 2023.
Preparing Ahead of Time
Before attending a real estate conference, it’s important to do some research on who else is going and what topics will be discussed. This will give you an idea of which sessions or events might be most relevant for your interests or career goals.
If there is a list of attendees available online ahead of time take advantage of it by researching potential contacts before arriving at the conference so that you can identify specific people that you'd like to meet.
Personally, I'm not trying to meet every single person attending a conference or see how many business cards I can collect. It's not a numbers game for me, I want to focus on two, three, maybe four people that I speak with throughout the entire conference, but really speak with, really get to know them better, have a real conversation, grab a coffee or lunch with them. It's all about making sure that you're talking with the right people, those that are right for you.
Making Connections During The Conference
If there's anyone specific you want to meet, start by introducing yourself as soon as possible. Don't hesitate to strike up conversations; even if they don't lead anywhere right away, they may open doors further down the road.
Make sure to listen carefully; ask questions about their work or experiences in order get them talking more freely (and remember names!); it will help make your connection stronger.
Also, consider joining social media groups associated with the conference beforehand or, if the conference has an app it may also have some messaging features where you can reach out proactively. This is an easy way stay connected with other attendees throughout (and after) the event even if you don't have a chance to exchange contact information directly.
Remembering Who You Met And What You Talked About
It can be difficult remembering everyone you meet at large events; luckily there are several strategies for keeping track during such occasions:
Take Notes: Bring along something like pen & paper/a notebook/your laptop/tablet device so that you can jot down notes while talking with someone – including their name & any useful info related specifically them (e..g., where they work). This way when following up afterwards - either via email/phone call etc.- all necessary details will already be written down somewhere safe!
Bring Physical Business Cards: These days, everyone loves connecting through LinkedIn or other digital methods, but people's information can get stored away and quickly gets lost or forgotten. Getting a physical card from a new contact can help you remember some details about them and gives you another way to take notes right on the card.
Use Technology To Your Advantage: Everyone's used to connecting on LinkedIn, but there are several other ways you can use technology to your advantage. Taking photos together often helps jog memories later on and gives you a good excuse to follow up post-conference, while apps Evernote allow users store digital files containing notes from meetings which then sync across multiple devices – perfect for staying organized.
Follow Up Post-Conference
Following up with people you meet seems so obvious, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people fail to follow up post-conference. In my opinion, it's an essential step to maintain momentum gained during initial encounters. Here are a few easy things to try:
Send a Physical Note: An email is fine, but a real letter or note will help you stand out since so few people take this step anymore. Even easier, you can use websites like Cardly and others to send customized, personal notes complete with your company's branding in just a few clicks.
Request Meetings For Coffee Or Lunch: If logistics and location allow, suggest catching up over coffee or lunch sometime soon and build your relationship informally without any pressure of having to do business together (yet).
Join Professional Networking Sites: LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for connecting and growing your business network, but talk to others at the conference and take advantage of discovering new industry groups, meetups or even things like book clubs that can help you stay involved with your new network.
Do research ahead of time about who else is going. Don't make it a numbers game, identify who are the right people for you to meet.
Try and introduce yourself to your targets as soon as possible and spend time getting to really know them over the course of the conference.
Exchange physical business cards, don't rely solely on social media or digital tools.
Take mental notes while talking with someone, but write them down quickly after meeting. Use your new contacts business card for notes to help trigger your memory.
Follow up after the conference and keep the momentum going!
Attending real estate conferences are informative and a lot of fun, plus they provide numerous opportunities for making valuable connections within industry circles– but only if done properly.
By preparing ahead , engaging actively, taking notes and, most importantly, following through once the conference ends, you'll see tremendous success and the power of your network will grow exponentially.
Here's wishing you success in maximizing your network in the the year ahead; maybe I'll see you on the conference circuit soon!
As always, be well, be strong, and keep pushing forward!
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About Ellie Perlman
Ellie is the founder of Blue Lake Capital, a commercial real estate investment firm specializing in multifamily investing throughout the United States. At Blue Lake Capital, Ellie partners with both institutional and individual investors to grow their wealth by achieving double-digit returns by investing alongside her in exclusive multifamily deals they usually don't have access to.
A defining factor of Blue Lake Capital’s strategy is founded in utilizing machine learning/artificial intelligence throughout the course of all acquisitions and asset management. This advanced technology enables the company to produce accurate and data-driven forecasting for all assets on a market, property, and even tenant basis. In doing so, Blue Lake is able to lead commercial investments with the full capabilities of today’s technology.
Ellie is the host of REady2Scale, a podcast that highlights the assets, processes, and strategies for the multiple approaches to successful real estate investing.
She started her career as a commercial real estate lawyer, leading real estate transactions for one of Israel’s leading development companies. Later, as a property manager for Israel’s largest energy company, she oversaw properties worth over $100MM. Additionally, Ellie is an experienced entrepreneur who helped build and scale companies by improving their business operations.
Ellie holds a Masters in Law from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.
You can read more about Blue Lake Capital and Ellie Perlman at www.bluelake-capital.com.