Attending a conference with over 22,000 individuals, 100+ education sessions, 400+ exhibitors, in a venue of over 700,000 square feet, can be a bit overwhelming.
The best advice for international professionals is to plan ahead, and work your global business plan while you’re at the event. Do a little thinking before you head to the Moscone Center, and identify the people, sessions, and events that will be most beneficial to help bring your plan to life.
Who Are You Looking for?
Based on your experience, language skills, and local market demographics…what international groups make the most sense for you? Find out when they will be in the International Networking Pavilion (#6444 on the trade show floor). This is an excellent opportunity to conduct face-to-face networking with representatives from your country of choice. Thanks to the scheduled hours, you will know where they will be and when! Also, a handful of countries (Mexico, China, Japan) have sessions that are country-specific taking place during the conference – check the International Schedule to see when and where, or visit REALTOR.org/conference and search by audience.
What Is Your Elevator Pitch?
You’ve identified the ideal referral partner. What will you tell him or her to establish credibility? Be prepared to talk about your qualifications and experience in international real estate. Are you a CIPS designee? That should be one of the first things you mention (and wear your pin!). Have you already worked with clients from his/her native country? Mention that you have past clients that would be happy to send a recommendation/review of your services.
How Will You Make Yourself Memorable?
Each year I walk away from this event with hundreds of business cards. I try to make a note of each person and what our conversation was, and any follow-up that is required, because otherwise I just can’t remember every single individual. The same likely goes for your referral partners – simply handing a business card and hoping they remember you isn’t enough. Make yourself memorable…bring some country-specific marketing materials that outline your experience and your willingness to pay referral fees. Some people bring small gifts for particularly strong connections – while not necessary, it is memorable!
The Best Networking Happens “Off the Clock”
That makes International Night Out a fantastic opportunity to network! This event is black-tie, but the atmosphere is very relaxed. Picture over 500 real estate professionals, dressed to the 9s, a celebration of a record year for CIPS and our global award winners, cocktails, dinner, and dancing. It’s international’s night to shine! I always meet new people at this event, and it provides an opportunity to get to know people without the hustle and bustle of conference to distract me. Check with the International Registration desk for tickets – they should still be available onsite.
Global Day is an important kick-off to the conference for international professionals. All sessions in the room (305, Moscone Center) will be translated to Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, and Japanese. The Global Business & Alliances Committee meets at 8:00 am, and it is not your typical committee meeting! It’s educational and informative, and you’ll learn about markets all over the world. Hint: Arrive early (around 7:40 am) for the best networking. If you are interested in joining the committee or getting to know the “powers that be,” this is the best time. After GBA Committee you will hear from experts on Communicating Globally: Technology Tools for Cross-Border Transactions, followed by the always popular Economic Issues & Commercial Real Estate Business Trends forum with NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. We’ll be covering these sessions for Conference Live, so if you can’t make it, check back for some highlights.
We’ve outlined sessions, events, and Country Networking Hours that will be most relevant to international professionals in an International Schedule of Events. Check it out, create your schedule on REALTOR.org/conference, and let us know how the conference goes for you!