Last week I, along with an estimated 36,000 others, attended RECon 2014, the ICSC annual retail extravaganza in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Like most attendees, my days consisted of back to back meetings. My nights included a rotation of parties. However this year, compared to years I have attended in the past, was better attended and had a much higher vibe. Not sure a 50-year-old knows what “vibe” is, but there simply was a higher level of energy!
As such, here are 5 key lessons for all in the real estate community, even those who don’t necessarily work in the retail sector.
1) You have to be seen. Think about it. It is highly unlikely ALL your clients, prospects, influences and referral sources are not located exclusively in your local market. The Massimo Group has clients throughout North America, and most brokerages have more than a local presence. There is no substitution for meeting someone face to face. Admittedly I met scores of our clients for the first time. Many I had only seen on our video conference calls, others I had never met. These relationships are now greatly enhanced, simply because we were able to shake hands, bump fists and even man-hug in some cases.
2) It’s not only a retail conference. What, did I actually suggest ICSC is not a retail conference? Of course it is; however, many of our office and apartment brokerage clients were attending because they understood their targeted owners would be there as well. And according to #1 above, it is essential that they physically meet and interact with these clients.
3) Party at the Pool. The actual conference hall was almost explosive in terms of velocity of people and conversations. The only place that outpaced the quality of these conversations was the pool. Both during the day and evening festivities, the pools of Vegas resorts were ground zero for owners, brokers and developers to assemble, entertain and engage in relationship-building activities.
4) You must invest in yourself. We have always preached that the greatest asset you have is YOU! So you need to make the investment in yourself. Tens of thousands of people invested thousands of dollars to travel, attend and house themselves. Companies spent Hundreds of thousands of dollars as well. Why? See #1-3 above.
5) Never sleep in the Chicago Airport. Due to horrendous weather, coupled with sold out hotels, I had the opportunity to sleep, or at least attempt to, at Chicago O’Hare on Tuesday evening. Thank goodness for the internet. As this was a time to review all our meetings, and schedule follow up activities to ensure our investment (see #4 above) will provide ample returns for years to come.
So, next year I hope to see you in Vegas as well. Maybe at the conference, preferably by the pool, but hopefully not overnight in the Chicago airport!