- Conferences are a great way to network, but it's difficult to come away from the experience with more than a wallet full of business cards.
- Building relationships in a crowded space requires a certain finesse, especially with tech vendors that are in high demand.
- Don't expect companies to prioritize you over customers, but feel free to request an appointment or chat after the show floor closes.
Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.
The energy is building; you can hear it like the buzzing of fluorescent overhead lights in an empty warehouse. The 2016 Inman Connect San Francisco event is breaking the horizon.
The twice-annual real estate gathering is a veritable menagerie of everything cool about the industry. The best speakers. The hottest topics. Debates. Handshakes.
Once again an array of sleek apps, sales tools and office solutions will be on hand to demonstrate how they can better your real estate business.
It’s not always easy to establish relationships at busy conferences. The competition for attention is fierce. Here are some tips to meet, greet and stay in front of the technology people your business will need long after the lights fade on ICSF.
1. Know what you need
You don’t have to communicate every office productivity need to a potential technology partner, but you should fully understand why you’re talking to someone.
Tech pros know how to ask questions; it’s how they build solutions. If you can’t share how your team wants to leverage mobile technology, for example, don’t expect the software CEO to translate. Clients need to be part of the solution.
2. Get an appointment
You’ve perused the product, and it has potential. Now what? Having to shoulder your way into a busy booth is frustrating.
Vendors don’t want to cut short a conversation with a potential customer, so that makes waiting a challenge, too. Instead, stop by early or late and ask for a specific time to come by and chat. Or, ask them for time to chat off the show floor.
3. Screen, don’t interview
Even during a one-on-one, tech vendors may not have the capacity (or Wi-Fi bandwidth) to drill down into what they offer. You shouldn’t need them to.
Instead, treat them the same way you would a potential buyer client. Ask the big questions; qualify them as a company first. If they qualify, set up a full demo when you get back home.
4. Keep the home office up to date
We’ve all had our ideas squashed by the higher-ups. Usually, that means we didn’t do enough to sell them on it.
If a stakeholder or two couldn’t make Connect, keep them apprised of your process.
Send daily updates about who you’ve talked with and how you think a product overlaps with your brokerage’s needs. This should help reduce the odds of your technology recommendations being met with another “no” at the next office sales meeting.
I would love to hear other tips and tactics you have for navigating the nuances of networking at big shows like Connect, especially when it comes to finding new business and technology partners. Opine below.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.