Bigger Conferences Are Not Better

by Victor Lund on April 20, 2017

Indie Broker SummittThe real estate industry is going strong. It is healthy and vibrant, full of bloom and experiencing exciting change. As agents, brokers, MLSs, franchises and tech firms explore a deeper understanding of the industry’s best practices, they look to conferences to gain insights and meet the people that are powering new ideas. Conferences are good, and we attend a lot of them. Our annual conference tour includes two NAR conventions, two Inman Connects, CMLS, two RESO conferences,T3, RIS Media, and a variety of franchise, state AOR, Leading RE, The Realty Alliance, 1000Watt, Clareity, and large AOR or MLS events. Yup – that is a lot of travel. If you add up the flight costs, hotel costs, convention fees, etc – it’s expensive, especially when you have multiple people attending.

I remember a conversation with the event manager at Trulia a few years ago before the Zillow deal. They were attending over 450 events a year at the time. Yikes! It is old school business development – belly to belly, burnin’ shoe leather.

With the economic rebound, these conferences have become overwhelming. When you have thousands attending a conference, it gets out of control. Hotels are sold out, restaurants are impossible, service everywhere is stressed out. But most importantly, you can go to conferences without seeing or meeting many of the people that you want to see. It’s a struggle, not fun.

I remember a few years ago when conference guru Brad Inman expanded ConnectSF to New York, London, and Miami. New York stuck, Miami and London did not. I think that Inman must feel the same as I do regarding conferences. His conferences have always had Tracks – but he is building micro events at his Connect conferences now. This year, he is launching Indie Connect – a meeting for independent brokerage firms that will examine how they can pursue success and excellence in the wake of Franchise domination. Also, Inman is returning to his roots for CEO Summit by returning to the site in Sonoma where it all started.

Lobby Con

Conferences continue to be a target rich environment for meetings. That has been our game plan for the past few years. Each even allows us to schedule about 8 or more meetings a day with clients, prospects, and friends. These quiet, small conversations are where the good stuff happens at conferences. Off stage, people get right to the point. They talk about business goals and challenges. They ask about the status of industry shaping projects and imagine how those projects will impact their business. It’s the best stuff. If you want to meet with us at the upcoming NAR® Midyear Legislative Meetings and Expo in Washington, D.C. – send an email to camilla@wavgroup.com

RE Technology Party

Yes, we will be having a number of great parties for clients and friends at these conferences this year. Our parties respect that hundred days or more that so many of us spend on the road. If you have grey hair, have been in the industry for more than a decade, and attend five or more conferences a year – you have probably been to one. We meet late – after the business dinner. They go from 9 to midnight. There is a lot of dancing. It celebrates the hard work of so many road warriors and allows everyone to clock out for a bit.

WAVes of Change

In a way, WAV Group does have a conference. It is online, happens once a quarter and lasts an hour. In that hour, you get a comprehensive update on all of the change events in our industry. The event is geared toward quick updates that allow industry executives and board members to stay current on everything that is going on. We have the meeting once a quarter, a cadence that allows evolution of change. The next WAVes of Change is scheduled for after Midyear. We gather all of the intel that we can and condense it. You also get access to WAV Group research, white papers, and case studies.

The content is geared for executives and directors of MLSs, Large Brokerage Firms, Franchise organizations, REALTOR® Associations, and technology firms. Some State AORs have purchased it for all of their local AOR boards. Franchises are doing the same for their broker owners. We record it for those who miss the meeting. We also provide our powerpoint deck. It’s a great program and you do not need to leave your office to get the intel. Contact camilla@wavgroup.com for pricing and registration.

RESO Spring Conference

Marilyn Wilson and Kevin Hawkins will be attending the sold out RESO spring conference next week. If you are attending and want to meet with them, please reach out to marilyn@wavgroup.com. So many of the industry’s complaints about Technology are solved at RESO. The attendees are CTOs, CIOs, Developers, and CEOs who understand the role that data plays in the future of real estate. It’s a place where the industry’s best practices are shaped. A discussion on Unique Property IDs for real estate may not sound very sexy – but it would fundamentally cure an insane number of problems that encumber so many technology solutions in real estate. It may sound like an easy problem to fix, but trust me – its not. And the Unique Property ID issue is just one of many epic challenges that the RESO conference sets out to discuss and solve.

Happy Spring!

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