One of the most frustrating things that active real estate investors can encounter is a wasted real estate event. We don’t mean an event you paid for through the nose on credit, and then found yourself still unable to invest. Those are an entirely different topic, and not one we’re delving into right now.
We’re talking about real estate events that are probably perfectly pleasant but are simply ineffective, meaning you end your weekend feeling as if you simply wasted your time. You aren’t ruined for life, but you could have spent the hours you dedicated to that conference or expo better elsewhere for yourself, your family, and your business.
We’ve talked to countless real estate investors about what makes a real estate investing event a productive, positive experience. After all, we strive to make every Think Realty National Conference & Expo better than the one before! We read a lot of comments, ask a lot of questions, and listen everywhere we go to every attendee we meet. We’ve identified five things that nearly every real estate investor believes make a real estate event worthwhile:
1| Actionable Education
Real estate investors understand better than anyone else in business that an investment in education always yields good returns. We’ve found the most important thing to real estate investors is that they walk away with just one thing they can use in their business. They’ll attend hours of instruction and even pay for additional education in order to get access to that one thing, but they’d better walk away with it! Sometimes it’s a strategy, but other times it may be a marketing technique, an insight into the local market, or even just a red flag about a certain tactic or type of investment that the investor can imitate, apply, or avoid as the case requires.
2| Realistic Networking Environment
Real estate investors are dedicated to the concept, “Your network is your net worth.” However, savvy event attendees know that just being in the same space as other investors is not enough. You have to be able to mingle, converse, and explore your connections! For new investors, events that have established times for networking might help them get over initial cases of “the jitters,” while experienced investors might want to attend special networking events or have the opportunity to talk over lunch or a break. An event that is scheduled with back-to-back trainings may not allow enough time to network for those investors who are attending for the networking side of the equation.
3| True Opportunities for Exposure
Many real estate expos today offer opportunities to meet real estate investing celebrities, possibly be seen by producers of real estate-related television shows, or shake hands with industry “movers and shakers.” Sometimes, the attraction is even simpler, and the event headlines an experienced motivational speaker or athlete with a meaningful message.
If you are attending an event specifically for the purpose of meeting such an individual or gaining such exposure, be sure that your goals are realistic. Will the featured individual or company be present at the event and available to you? Are you just hoping to snap a picture, or is reality real estate broadcasting your goal?
Obviously, one option requires a backdrop and the other, significantly more time and effort. If you make the effort, you need to try to obtain clarity about whether your target will even be present long enough to see it. If the star of the show will only be there long enough to speak or will be “hiding” so that they can identify the next big star, you need to carefully evaluate if that opportunity meets your needs and goals. In some cases, the chance will merit attendance. In others, you might want to dedicate your time to building up your local investors’ meetup group, generating leads for new deals, or networking and educating yourself in some other way that relies less on chance.
4| Relevant, Available Exhibitors
Review the list of vendors or sponsors when you evaluate an event as well as checking out the speakers. The presence of vendors who offer services or products relevant to your business and real estate investing interests are a great reason, all on their own, to attend an event. Real estate events are just about the best places in the entire world to meet the people with whom you need to be working on a regular basis…if they’re in attendance. Don’t skip the exhibit hall just because they paid to be there. Think about it: They paid to see you! That means every one of them is a motivated resource for you, whether you want to ask detailed questions about how to best handle certain aspects of your business or quiz them about their own real estate investing experiences.
5| Legitimate Follow-Up Options
We’ve all been in this position at least once: We attended a great event and really felt like the doors were opening up for us. We saw the future, and it looked bright. Then, when we got home, we found that although we remembered the event, the hosts of that event had pretty much forgotten us. We had no way to hear about the next event, reach the instructors, or get more of the great education, information, or networking we experienced while we were there.
Solid real estate events allow for follow-up, and if your goals for an event include learning, you need to make sure the host of the event is prepared to support you in your continuing education either with extended sessions, access to education in other formats, or, at a minimum, updates about the next event in your area.
Event Flow Chart
Wish you had an easy set of questions that would provide you with a clear “green light” for real estate investing events? Check out our quick question series below. At Think Realty, we strive to meet the real needs of real estate investors at all levels of the industry at our events. So, we think we know a few things about what makes an event a good one for some investors and, sometimes, a poor fit for others. Follow the flow chart below to determine if any given real estate event, Think Realty-sponsored or otherwise, will meet your investing needs and goals.
If Result #1, then a bootcamp or other training intensive is the perfect fit for you! Make sure you are signing up with experts who not only have the knowledge to help you but also the time and expertise to guide you in your real estate endeavors.
If Result #2, then a conference or expo is the perfect fit for you! Attend an event that covers a variety of topics and offers local market insight so you know whether your plans for your future in real estate mesh with local market conditions. Don’t be afraid to network with everyone, and never pass up the opportunity to shake someone’s hand and ask them what they do. Take plenty of business cards, dress professionally, and stay until the bitter end. You’ll be glad you did.
If Result #3, make sure the event is going to address issues relevant to your specific markets of interest or offer insight into those markets specifically via panel discussion or because a population of investors similar to yourself will be attending. A good way to determine if this is the case (other than checking the speakers’ agenda, of course) is to find out if there are any leadership groups, mastermind circles, or other associated events specifically for passive investors. If you’re a passive or turnkey investor, you already know your presence is in demand and that you are a valuable attendee! Many events will host special meetings or offer exclusive educational tracks for the sole purpose of attracting investors of your caliber and experience.
If Result #4, check out the speakers’ and exhibitors’ affiliations. Are they associated with opportunities that might interest you in light of your goals for your portfolio? Do you have reason to expect other investors like you to attend the event and be available for networking? If so, then the event is a good fit for your needs.
If Result #5, evaluate the organization’s ongoing media presence and industry coverage. Are they a source of valid, educated opinions? Do they have experts on staff or associated with the event that will likely provide you with valuable insight? If the roster looks good, then the time and possible expense of attending will likely be well worth it.
If Result #6, refer to results 1, 2, and 3. All of these factors are relevant to you, and a well-run, professional organization offering access to this type of information and these types of attendees, sponsors, and speakers will be a good fit for you every time.
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