This is going to sound like a blatant advertisement for the Inman Real Estate Connect conference, and maybe it is but they did not ask me to write it. People who understand me know that it isn’t all that easy to get me to do anything, but I digress.

There is a hidden benefit to attending Inman’s Bloggers Connect and Real Estate Connect conferences that they don’t advertise and I want everyone to know about. The conferences give my business an instant boost.

Last summer during the annual Real Estate Connect San Francisco I was able to finalize a short sale on one of my listings. It had been on the market for five months, with few showings. As soon as I was in the air headed for San Francisco it got a showing; a day later we had an offer. I spent a few hours negotiating it in the hallways of the Palace Hotel, and some time on my computer in my hotel room going over the offer and explaining it to my seller.

It works the same way when I plan a vacation, but the conference is a tax deduction and I learn a lot while I am there. As I prepare for a short vacation and the upcoming conference, buyers and sellers are contacting me like crazy. I have not had this much business at the same time since the Connect conference in January in New York.

There are two sellers who would both like their homes to be put on the market the week of the Inman conference. If I stayed home from the conference, each would delay putting their homes on the market until the next conference. I don’t want to wait that long.

While I was at Connect last year I got a new buyer. She had been lurking on my Web sites for months but was waiting until I was gone to ask me to call her. We did have a nice conversation while I was at the Beer for Bloggers event. She had a sense of urgency and I felt like a half-million-dollar sale was too good to pass up. Talking to her after a few drinks seemed to work in my favor, but the transaction was slow and didn’t close until the New York Connect conference in January.

There are real estate emergencies, too. They only occur on national holidays and every time I leave town. There is someone who watches my business while I am gone, but in an emergency I have to act. To be honest I am not exactly sure what a real estate emergency is, but my clients know. Most people have no idea how critical and important a Realtor’s job is.

I have let my clients know about my plans. When I explained to one of my sellers that he will likely get an offer when I am gone he told me that if he had known he would have encouraged me to take a vacation sooner. He even said that if all it takes is for me to go away to sell his (expletive deleted) townhouse he would have paid to send me somewhere. Most of my clients are blunt. I still feel the love, but just the same, no closing gift for this guy.

I guess what I am saying here is that if you are a Realtor, have a cell phone and want to make some serious money this July or next January, consider attending Connect. Buyers will call and so will sellers. It has been so lucrative for me that I have been going to all of the Inman conferences. I wish they were held quarterly but I guess I can always take vacations between conferences. If I were advertising the Inman conferences I would not be keeping this a secret.

Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog. Boardman will speak at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, July 23-25, 2008. Register today.


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