I have the good fortune of attending dozens of real estate events and conferences throughout the year – usually two or more per month. After I leave each event, I always have a stash of business cards, receipts, photos on my iPhone and more “stuff” to go through. I am a firm believer that there is a small window of opportunity after an event to follow up, cement new business relationships and new friendships.
Here are a few things I do to really make the most out of each event I attend:
1. Make notes about who you met during the event. While the event is still in progress, I make it a point to jot notes down on the back of the cards (where I met them, and any other notes about the conversation). Or, if I don’t have time for that, I will snap a photo of each card, put them into an Evernote notebook that I have created for the event, and type out a couple quick notes about who I met.
2. Follow up with each business card I received within 72 hours. After each event, I make it a point to go through each card that was handed to me and send them a personal email to follow up on the conversation we had. Sometimes the email may be something as simple as, “It was great meeting you at ____ event. Looking forward to getting to know you better!” I also recommend entering people into your CRM and making notes about who they are, the market area they serve and any other details about your conversation with them. That being said, make sure you don’t add them to a marketing email list without their permission. If you’d like to add them to your marketing lists, simply add in the personal email you send them something like, “I will add you to my email list and may email you periodically with information you may find useful. If you’d prefer to not be added just let me know!”
3. Connect with each person on social. Depending on the conversation – if it was brief then I may look them up on LinkedIn or Twitter and connect with them there. If I had a longer conversation where I really got to know them, I may look them up on Facebook and send them a friend request. Personally, I do not friend request everyone I meet at an event. For me, I try very hard to keep Facebook to people I have at least met and had a conversation with. But, by connecting on LinkedIn or Twitter, it will help me to get to know them and then perhaps in the future I will connect with them. If I do connect with them on Facebook, I put them into a list. I have all of the Realtors I am connected to in lists (i.e. Realtor – NYC, Realtor – SF Bay Area). This helps in the future when I am looking for a Realtor in a specific area, or if I have information that I just want to share with that specific list.
4. Post an album of favorite photos on Facebook. Going to an event allows you an opportunity to promote that you are taking time out of your busy schedule to better improve you and your business. Here is a great opportunity to talk about real estate, without talking about it. I recommend posting your top 10-20 photos in an album to your Facebook personal profile or business page and make sure to tag any friends or colleagues. I would then tweet out the link to that album – making sure to use the conference hashtag.
5. Send a personal note to 3-5 people. Take the time to reach out and send a handwritten note to 3-5 people that you really connected with and/or the conference organizers. It’s a lot of work putting on an event – and a small gesture goes a very long way!
6. Take care of receipts and expenses right away (before the next trip!) There are a number of great apps to help with this. Three that I recommend are: