Prepare now to make the most our of your trip to the exhibit floor of the 2017 ORRA REALTOR® Expo
So much to learn. So many people to see. And so little time. Perhaps that was your overall impression when last year’s truly ginormous NAR REALTOR® Conference & Expo landed here in Orlando. Perhaps you face that predicament at every REALTOR® trade show.
You are not alone: Confronted with crowded aisles and hectic booths, REALTORS® often return home with no more than a confused mass of general impressions.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can do better! Prepare now to make the most out of your trip to the exhibit floor of the 2017 ORRA REALTOR® Expo, which takes place on October 19 at Loews Royal Pacific Resort.
Trade shows can be powerful tools for learning, networking, and business profits. The secret is to plan for success, spend your time wisely, and prioritize tasks. Take a moment to learn how to do just that with these tips from trade show experts.
Tip 1: Set your goals
Before arriving at the show make a plan with specific ‘keeper’ ideas, then prioritize them.
Include specific descriptions of what you want to find at the show. Here are some possibilities:
new contacts for mortgage lenders;
inspectors that perform on short lead times; or
title companies that serve specific homebuyer situations.
List your priorities in order of importance and translate your goals into a must-see list of vendors. Do some research on the ORRA website to identify the companies that will be exhibiting, and write down those that you really want to visit.
It’s also smart to draw up a ‘B’ list of goals and exhibitors, such meeting new printers or tchotchke manufacturers. Tackle your secondary goals in the remaining time after completing your primary ones.
Bonus tip: Ask yourself “What is the biggest problem I have in my business?” Write it down and take it to the show. Talk to exhibitors about it.
Tip 2: Reduce your steps
Once you’re at the show it’s tempting to take it all in with an initial walk-through. That can be a mistake.
The last thing you want to do is shop the floor as you shop a flea market, just walking down the aisles and looking at things. The clock moves quickly. It’s easy to run out of time before you accomplish what you need to do. Instead, use the show floor map to plot out your walking pattern so you can see the greatest number of vendors in the least amount of time. Schedule a certain amount of time to each vendor on your “A” list.
Bonus tip: Avoid duplication of effort by allocating tasks among other people from your team or brokerage who are attending the show.
Tip 3: Take charge at booths
Deal with booth personnel efficiently. Determine early whether they are willing and able to answer questions that pertain to your needs. If the booth people can’t answer those questions then you have to smartly move on.
Not all booth personnel are alike. A well-constructed booth has people at various levels. One person will be at ‘in depth’ level; others will be at beginning and intermediate levels. No in-depth person at the booth? You need to decide if you have sufficient interest to ask for an appointment with the right person. That can be smarter than using up your time talking with an individual who does not have the requisite knowledge.
An alternative is to obtain the name and contact information of a person to call after the show’s over. That can be a prudent step anyhow. If you are serious about learning more about a product or service, you may wish to obtain the name and number of the local sales person in your area.
Bonus tip: Save time by stating “I need to make a business decision” as you enter each booth. Then state the nature of the decision and ask how the vendor’s products will help.
Tip 4: Take notes efficiently
Haphazard note-taking can result in a confused mass of papers stashed on a shelf back home. That means you lose information critical to business success, including the names of key contacts.
Modern gadgets can come to your rescue, and old tech still has its place. Plenty of people still collect business cards and take notes on them. These can be great memory joggers to help connect the dots after the show. A pack of business cards provides an easy reference for making follow-up calls.
Bonus tip: More attendees are entering information into iPads. Digital notes are efficient for later review and also for passing along key insights to people who did not attend the show.
Tip 5: Allow for serendipity
Plan out your time, but leave some open space. One of a trade show’s strengths is a potential for ‘serendipity,’ or the discovery of unanticipated knowledge or connections. So leave time for random encounters. Everyone at the show wants to discover new things and meet new people. You may meet someone who does something similar to you but who is not a competitor. Find the opportunity to say hello to people.
Tip 6: Share the wealth
Getting the most out of a trade show is a learned skill. Pass along the talent to the next generation. It’s good for a junior level person to accompany a senior level person as someone who can make introductions and put services in the context of business initiatives.
Sharing such knowledge can lay a foundation for the continuing profitability of your business.