Your 2023 Conference Plan & Building Your Referral Business
Yep, it's time to outline & budget your 2023 business conference plan.
STEP #1- Get your personal vacation plans in there!! Always start there, right?!
STEP #2 - Set your budget. Even if you're fairly new in the business, your professional development & referral network opportunities are a foundation of who you are in the business & how you build out your success ... so you need a budget! And here is a place to start ... commit to at least one conference (budget it) and tap in to what you can locally (often free) to better understand what opportunities are out there for you, and then build from there.
REFERRALS! As you outline your budget, keep in mind that a smart agent will pay for any & all business travel by simply having the goal of coming away from that event with a referral or two or three. So don't let that budget piece get in the way of you attending an amazing conference or two this next year. Referrals are how we pay for these events! But it takes a little hustle & focus & follow-up & relationship-building to make this happen. Once those referral relationships starts rolling, you'll realize that your annual conference plan is a critical piece to your annual financial & business plan.
STEP #3 - Identify what conferences matter most to you, do the research, get them on your calendar. And here's a tip ... if it's on your list of potentials, at least pencil it in in your calendar so you can work around it & protect the space if & when you do decide to commit.
So what conferences are most important to you? Of course it depends on your & your business, your niche, your business platform, your involvement in the industry. Here are a few things to consider & a few examples of how other agents manage this.
Your Brokerage / Your Business Platform - Arguably it makes sense for most agents to tap into their brokerage national conference opportunities. Not all brokerages have these, depends on the size and if your business platform is local only or regional or national or international. I would definitely identify what is on the calendar & pencil it in. I personally believe your business platform SHOULD be a solid source of referrals for you ... BUT this typically only happens when you show up & plug in & build relationships.
National / State - I know quite a few Realtors around the country that are super involved with their state associations and/or NAR. If this is you or interests you, you'll want to get your state events on your calendar and the NAR annual events (legislative meetings May 6-11 in DC, national conference Nov 14-16 in Anaheim).
Affinity Groups - NAHREP, NAREB, AREAA, LGBTQ+ REAL ESTATE ALLIANCE, WCR, YPN, Veterans, Seniors ... there are many many affinity groups within the real estate industry. These membership associations do some amazing work and, with the right involvement, they can create significant referral opportunities. If this is already on your radar, you'll want to put their conference opportunity on your list. If it is not quite on your radar, there may be local events or chapters you can check out to dip your toe in that water.
Women's Council of Realtors Example - I have an agent friend in Chicago that this is the core of her business so she seems to have multiple WCR national or regional events on her calendar every year. I'm pretty sure she lands a consistent flow of referrals from her focus & involvement with the WCR.
CRS Example - I have an agent friend in Palm Springs, CA that the Residential Real Estate Council (& the CRS designation) are her jam. She has worked this network for years and years and it pays for itself in referrals. So pretty sure she has a CRS conference or two on her calendar every year.
I am sure I do more conference travel than most, but I have prioritized it. My schedule so far for 2023, I am still tweaking some of this (couple maybe's on the list), includes the following:
January - Agent Academy Sales Mastery 3-Day Immersion - Ft Lauderdale. I have followed the leaders of this event for some time &. have always wanted to check them out. And the location works nicely for me to support my Florida team members.
February - TAR Winter Meeting - Austin. It's local and I can get in some free CE hours.
March - eXp Leadership BUILD event - Cabo
May - eXp Shareholders Summit - Orlando
May - Housing Policy Symposium - DC. This event involves C-level executives throughout the industry & pulls in politics & movers & shakers for a fascinating 2-day conversation on policy & advocacy.
September - LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance - Houston
October - eXpCON - Vegas
As you can see, I need to work in quite a few referrals to pay for these events. That's ok, I have that dialed in, I understand that going in.
So the question is, what is your 2023 plan?