• Real estate expos are a great way to meet a large number of people in a short period of time, but in-depth conversations can be difficult amid the bustle.
  • Follow-up is key; business relationships can begin at a trade show, but must be developed over time.

Between Dec. 11 and 13, 2015, I attended the Shanghai Luxury Property Showcase (LPS), hosted at the Marriott Shanghai City Center. As discussed in previous articles, real estate expos and trade shows have been part of our overall strategy in China since we first began operations there in 2014.

The LPS featured dozens of exhibitors from around the world, including real estate brokerages from established global cities such as London and New York and also from emerging centers such as Dubai.

Shanghai image via Shutterstock.

Shanghai image via Shutterstock.

Other countries present included The Seychelles, Panama, Australia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic.

It was an invitation-only event, and the first day was especially busy. Some of the aisles were shoulder-to-shoulder, and our booth had a revolving cluster of people pressing into it and peppering our staff with inquiries.

Over the three days of the LPS, we collected hundreds of business cards and had 500-plus conversations about Canadian real estate in general, and our services in particular. Prolonged conversations were difficult at the LPS given the traffic at our booth, but we anticipated this going in.

The expo is generally the first step in the relationship-building process. The day after the show, we began following up with everyone we had met and inviting them to our office in Shanghai for a more in-depth discussion.

Some of those we met are potential clients; some are potential partners with whom we can access new markets and new spheres of connections.

In addition to our location in Shanghai, we recently opened two new offices in China, in Chengdu and Tianjin. With our growing team of Chinese-speaking staff, our physical presence enables us to build relationships that will lead to business down the down the road.

We have put together 40 deals in China as a result of our overall strategy, of which major trade shows are one piece.

The true measure a real estate expo’s success is not necessarily apparent during the event itself, but becomes clear during the proceeding months of follow-up and meetings.

Jonathan Cooper is vice president, operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group. You can follow him on Twitter @jtscooper or on LinkedIn.

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