If it’s been a while since you’ve been to an industrywide event, broker Troy Palmquist says it’s time you start making travel plans.

There is nothing like a real estate event to make you return home all charged up and ready to put your new insights, new ideas and new relationships to work for your business. I feel like I’ve been buzzing ever since returning from Inman Connect Las Vegas with members of my team late last week.

When you stop to think about Inman Connect — whether it’s ICLV or ICNY or one of the other breakout or virtual events Inman holds all year round — it’s so much more than just another real estate conference. 

Part of its appeal for many of us is the chance to make new and existing connections because you’ll see some people at every event. You can have coffee or breakfast with both old friends and new friends, introduce them, and give them the chance to get to know each other as well.

Of course, whether you’re watching a panel, participating in a panel or just hanging out with colleagues, it’s an opportunity to grow professionally, expand your network, grow your business, and have (or hear) conversations with people who change your perspective on things. Is door knocking good or bad? Are you recruiting or attracting agents to your brokerage? 

When you go with an open mind and open ears, you never know what golden connections or learning opportunities you might encounter. From new friends to new tech or a new website, sometimes the best things come when you aren’t even looking for them.

Here are just some of the connections I made last week:

1. I met the iconic Sherry Chris who just retired as CEO at Anywhere Expansion Brands. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet someone who has spent decades helping to shape several of the most important brands in the industry.

By the way, did you know that Better Homes and Gardens, an Anywhere brand, has one of the most recognizable brands at the consumer level alongside Target, Lowes and a few other consumer product brands? We all know that red and white checked cookbook cover from our parents and grandparents, after all.

2. I also sat next to the new president of Better Homes and Gardens, Ginger Wilcox, and got to know her and her past accomplishments as well as her future plans. She is a true next-generation leader for the brokerage industry. My agents and I were blown away by how incredibly relatable and approachable she is. (More to come on this conversation soon. Stay tuned!)

3. I participated in a panel with eXp’s Michael Valdes and learned a lot about the company and what they are really doing in the markets they serve. It was a great reminder that perception and reality can be very different and that our preconceived notions about a brand and its messaging can be incorrect.

Troy Palmquist

4. During that panel, we talked about the difference between attracting agents with your value proposition vs. recruiting in the old-fashioned, transactional sense of the term. I came away with new insights and a new friend in Michael.

I wore a sweatshirt with a heart-shaped design and the phrase “It’s always a we, never a me.” That actually ended up being one of the primary takeaways from the conversation for so many of the listeners. It’s not just true for me and my friends or me and my agents. It’s true for the entire industry. We’re all in this together and the actions of each of us impact all of us.

5. I listened as Robert Reffkin discussed getting agents back to the office and the value that will bring to our customers and colleagues. Even for brokerages and teams who no longer have physical locations, there is an importance to getting together as a professional community to support and uplift each other.

6. I am a broken record when it comes to my tech stack, and I love what we offer, but it was great to hear about all of the new tech that’s out there — especially Brad Inman’s insights into the potential of AI. I know that I get my value back every month from my current tech subscriptions, so I look forward to seeing what new platforms are out there just waiting to blow my mind next.

7. On top of that, I got to catch up with my favorite proptech CEOs about what’s up-and-coming from some of my go-to tech companies, including RealScout and Luxury Presence, which announced its AI-assisted Presence Copilot. Stay tuned for that, too. There’s some really exciting stuff coming up in Q4 of this year. Startup Alley had some great new vendors on the scene as well.

What is the real dollar value that you can get from a conversation or panel? $120,000 annually? $250,000? Priceless? How can you follow up and what can you implement or change from the connections you made to impact your business?  

The two agents I took with me to the event had priceless connections and conversations of their own. How much bottom-line impact does that add to their businesses — and to our brokerage as a whole? Is that something that you should be trying to facilitate for your agents or team members?

L to R: Dani Vanderboegh, Ernesto Vargas and Rachael Hite

I loved seeing DOORA agent Katie Connelly connecting with Side agents and brokers and rubbing elbows with nationally recognized industry leaders. It was one of the thrills of my career to see DOORA agent Ernesto Vargas onstage converting a room full of door-knocking haters into door-knocking believers.

A lot of the brands showed up with a presence, hosted events, and displayed a strong sense of community, and that was great to see and experience firsthand. The Side community showed up in a powerful way and built stronger connections and collaborations than I feel we ever had before. Our group text was filled with meet-ups to support each other on panels and sit together in sessions or at breakouts. Priceless. 

If you’ve never done so before, I’d encourage you to make plans to attend an industry-wide event over the next 12 months, whether it’s Inman Connect or an event closer to home. You owe it to yourself to open up to new faces, new ideas and new connections.

We’re bigger than our individual teams or brokerages. We’re all in this together. We’re each responsible for the impact we have on our industry and the impact our industry has on the world.

Troy Palmquist is the founder and broker of DOORA Properties in Southern California, a Side partner company. Follow him on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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