I went to a real estate conference the other week. In this industry, that isn’t unique; there were thousands of people there…and they’ll all be at the next one in a few weeks. Or the one a few weeks after that. There are tons of conferences out there.

Attending Business Conferences

Then, as if that isn’t enough, you go into the expo hall and see all the things they have for sale. 16 CRMs, 8 lead gen companies, 22 sign makers, 14 banks, 9 independent lenders, 8 gift companies, 10 title companies…and a partridge in a pear tree. All of them are wanting to give you some crap with their name on it to take home and remember how much you spent (or should have spent) on their product.

Most of us come out of conferences inspired to do this, change that, increase one thing, decrease another…and we end up not knowing where to start or what to do. So, we do nothing and feel like we’re never going to be like this agent or that agent we saw. We start thinking of ourselves as failures because we aren’t those speakers, presenters, or experts. We have new tools for our team, but don’t know how to use them or how our team should use them.

Stop it. Just stop it.

Conferences can be wonderful things if you go with a plan. Here’s what I recommend:

First, most of the conferences give you an advance schedule of the classes and speakers. Get that list. Look at what the topics are and who is speaking. Are they qualified on the subject? Look them up and see if they’re legit. See what kind of market they’re in, and how it compares to yours. Does what they do make sense for you and your market, or are they going to get you all worked up over something that will burn you out and break you down?

Second, the conferences put out a list of vendors. Get that list. Look at who they are and what they’re selling. If you have a CRM, don’t go looking at all the CRMs. Yes, they’re pretty. Yes, they have fancy bells and whistles. And if you change your CRM because the other one looks pretty, you have a steep learning curve that takes away from your productivity. Changing horses in the middle of the stream can make you drown. If your CRM is truly horrific (and there are some out there that are bad), then preview a few online and only go talk to one or two. There’s probably a demo for each available on YouTube, so you don’t have to register to take the demo and have them bombard you with email. Go armed with some knowledge so you aren’t just listening to a sales pitch.

Third, and most important, take those two lists of classes/presenters and vendors, and the research you’ve done, and talk to your coach. Work with your coach to design a plan to follow so you’ll get the most out of the conference. Your coach has been to them before, they’ve seen what they’re all about, and they likely have some knowledge of the topics, presenters and vendors. Don’t drive yourself crazy attempting to be a copy of someone else when you and your coach can make sure you are the best version of YOU.

I went to this conference with a specific plan. I had 5 classes I wanted to take. I had 3 vendors I wanted to talk to. I was very successful at sticking to the plan. The first class was an all day class on social media. I learned more in the first hour about what to do and not to do, and which platforms to use or not use than I ever knew about social media before. One of the biggest takeaways was to have an actual social media plan that includes photos and videos, that doesn’t over-post, that allows videos and photos from one platform to be re-purposed to other platforms, and fill in with some spur of the moment stuff. The other big takeaway – don’t sell real estate 100% of the time. Be a source of information, not someone to avoid because your commission breath is so bad.

I took another class that was top producers talking about building their teams. They reminded me of everything taught by Corcoran Consulting and Coaching – use DISC to determine someone’s comfort in doing the job and to fill in your holes; hire, train, and if necessary, release based on culture; be consistent and do the work; track what works and what doesn’t. And train your team, don’t assume they know.

Finally, my last big takeaway was another confirmation in coaching: Everyone has the same tools and information I have. My persistence, my consistency, and my customer service is what sets me apart. If I don’t create a culture and level of service for my brokerage, I’m just like everyone else – and there are 1.3 MILLION Realtors out there.

I don’t want to be like any of them. I want them to aspire to be like me.

Phillip Greenberg
Broker and President
OC Lifestyle Realty
Abode Residential Specialists