How to get the most out of a real estate conference

The first conference I attended was NAR in 2008, and I have to admit it was the lure of Orlando and not the actual conference that got me there. At the time I had a growing real estate company and was looking forward to the “R&R" of getting out of town with my business partner and best friend. We said to ourselves, "If nothing else, this will be a great time to do some planning." I found myself looking for the “after conference parties" and setting my agenda around those. But once there, something happened. I found that I was being inspired and motivated by some of the greatest minds in the industry.

After a long year of ups and downs with our business we were able to mingle, brainstorm, and take an objective, fresh look at our company. We were seeing things in a brand new light.

We went back to Colorado full of new ideas ready to conquer the world. I officially became a “conference goer." Since that time I have attended national, state, and local conferences. Attending a conference can be an expensive endeavor. You have to consider the cost of attending the conference itself, as well as the cost of travel and accommodations, and then decide if you're ready to commit to learning. I have found some helpful tricks to making each conference successful.

1. Have a goal

Write down what you want to achieve or learn by going to the conference. What would be the best possible outcome by attending the event?

2. Do your homework

Look at the schedule ahead of time. See what events and classes are being offered. Read about the presenters and find classes or events they are teaching that you would be interested in. Look at past conference reviews by your peers.

3. Make a plan

Plan out your days. Make a schedule of classes and events you want to attend. Find something that interests you during each block. If you don't make a schedule ahead of time, conferences can be overwhelming.

4. Bring a friend

Divide and conquer! My business partner and I have found it to be a great benefit to split up. Often times there will be multiple events or classes at the same time. We never go to the same class together. After sessions we can share notes and discuss what we learned in the sessions we attended.

5. Work hard and play hard

It doesn't have to be all classroom. Go the the cocktail hours and after-conference events. Much of the connecting and great conversations happen here. Bring plenty of cards and don't be shy.

I am a firm believer that one of the best investments an agent or broker can make is in knowledge. Accepting the norm and falling into a routine might mean you're falling behind. Take the chance and check out a local or national convention this year.

Eric Sachs is the president and co-founder of BreakthroughBroker.com. Send your feedback to eric@breakthroughbroker.com.

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