• Don't get distracted by the networking and gadgets in Startup Alley. Remember to act fast and be succinct when engaging potential tech partners.

Hacker Connect January 16 in New York
An event for and by the real estate tech community

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Connect isn’t deemed so only because of its ability to bring many people together.

It’s also about electronic connections. You know, technology.

And there is no better hotspot for real estate industry innovation than Inman Connect’s Startup Alley.

We know it gets hard to pull away to the exhibit halls, given the super insightful speakers and relevant discussion topics an hand.

But clearly you came to New York, in part, to learn ways to better your business, which means getting a leg up on your competitors. And that means learning about the latest technology tools available.

Here are a few tips about how to best spend your time roaming the tables, tablets and talkers along Startup Alley.

1. Beat the crowds

These people are busy.

Most companies only bring a few representatives, and sometimes only one person is running the booth. It can be hard to make contact when the crowds come knocking.

Consider heading in as soon as the doors open or hanging around just before they close. The vendors may not love this tactic, but if they want your business, they’ll respond.

You came to New York in part to learn ways to better your business.

Also, consider dropping a card on their table or preferably in their hand with a written note to text you when they are free.

2. Go with an agenda

Like carnival barkers, these tech folks are really good at getting the attention of passersby. It’s a terrific trade show skill.

However, if you let yourself be pulled in by something cool — which is very easy on Startup Alley — you may not get to the product table you most need to see. Conferences go quick; we get pulled in multiple directions. Parties. Appointments.

Point is, don’t stop at any other tables until you’ve met with the company at the top of your list. Saturday morning will be here before you know it.

3. Know exactly what your company needs

There are a lot of real estate tech products that serve the same need, such as website development or lead generation. If you ask open-ended questions, you may not learn how Company A is better for you than Company B.

Instead of asking the reps at the table what their product does, tell them what you need it to do and gauge each response accordingly.

4. Insert yourself

This can be fun.

Many agents come to Connect only to find a new technology partner. If that’s your goal, find the couple of potential vendors who may be a good fit and ask them about any special events they are attending or holding this week.

Instead of asking the folks at the table what their product does, tell them what you need it to do.

Many of our corporate participants have side chats, sponsor parties and even hold meetings while at Connect. If your brokerage is prepared to spend money on a large CRM product or custom website, ask if you can attend anything they’re a part of during the week. Make yourself a fly on their wall.

It’s an aggressive tactic. But how often are you in New York at Connect?

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.