This year, we have representatives from Block Multifamily Group (BMG) attending the Multifamily Executive Conference and representatives from Block Real Estate Services (BRES) attending the IREM Fall Leadership Conference. As BRES grows from a local to national presence, so does our positioning and goals for our presence at conferences.To accommodate this, we have taken on a proactive and strategic approach, focusing on these key aspects pre-conference:
- Goals - what you want to achieve at the conference
- Representation - making sure your employees and presenters are prepared
- Booth Presence - planning ahead to make the best impression
- Exposure - networking for quality connections
The pre-conference work is the most important and you can only measure your success at the conference by setting goals. These should be simple, worthwhile and measurable. Evaluating these goals before and after the conference is key to identifying the worth of the time and money invested, and can also expose areas for improvement next time you prep for a conference. Here is an example of the goals we set for one of our conferences:
Come away with 30 leads. Of the 30 leads we collect, 6 of those will turn into a solid business partner.
It’s important to educate your representative and yourself, and not just your department, but the company as a whole. Have all parties involved study the company's new hand outs at the conference booth and make sure there is an understanding of what the main message and theme is for that conference and target audience. This will ensure that everyone understands what the company is trying to communicate and what your company materials really do say. Also, make sure that your measurable goals are clearly communicated to the entire group so that everyone is on the same page.
Your booth should be a professionally presented taste test of your company and should be tailored to whatever conference you are attending. It is unacceptable to simply push out the same generic marketing materials for every conference you attend and every audience you network with. Start by examining the attendee lists and looking at which businessess line up with what you can provide to them. At BRES, we will create direct marketing pieces that speak directly to the individuals that we want to do business with.
The real value of a national conference can come solely from the exposure your company gains. Promotion before the conference is essential to optimize exposure at the conference. To support the BRES national conference awareness, we are blogging weekly and pushing out social posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with content that ties into the conference topics. We are also connecting with those attendees prior, during and post conference through these social channels.
By taking this proactive approach, when I get to the conference itself I will have completely focused my attention on my company goals and will have a solid plan to execute and follow up even if the seminar I chose to attend didn’t hit the mark. Yes, our booth will have a giveaway and nice presentation folders and maybe a fancy pen, but at the end of the day I will have connected one on one with the person I set out to connect with.
Harry P. Drake
Executive President / COO
Block Real Estate Services, LLC