By Gino Blefari
This week my travels first found me in Minneapolis to present on the West Coast Offense and leadership at the HomeServices of America Title & Escrow Conference. I then headed back to Northern California and this weekend, will attend the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco. The conference, known on social media as #NARAnnual, is described as “the largest annual event for the most successful real estate professionals,” and features more than 100 educational sessions and 400+ exhibitors.
According to the event website, year over year, REALTORS® who attend the REALTORS® Conference & Expo report making twice as much income from real estate as the average National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) member.
Why would the most successful agents attend the conference and why would this attendance result in higher income? Because success breeds success. As my mentor Jim Rohn famously said, “Don’t join an easy crowd because you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.”
Attending an event like the REALTORS® Conference & Expo allows for an opportunity to immerse yourself in a different crowd, a group of professionals eager to up their game. As leaders, we have a responsibility to challenge ourselves with novel ideas and surround ourselves with colleagues who can help us find solutions we may not have discovered on our own. We must always resist the stationary position because it is the beginning of the end. If we don’t advance, we fall back, and one excellent way to advance is to join an association and attend conferences.
Advancement is an ongoing mission that can of course be expedited digitally – we can connect on LinkedIn or follow an inspirational leader on Instagram – but the most lasting, profound progress in terms of our professional connections happens in person. It happens over coffee with friends you haven’t seen in months because you work in markets across the country. It can be found in a packed audience of passionate colleagues listening to our industry’s finest leaders speak about doing what they do best. It’s found in the hallways between sessions, as you run into someone who could refer you your next deal. Just being at the conference puts yourself in a position for success. Adding into that mix all the best practices of networking and continuous improvement and you’re on a solid path to winning the year. (Remember, in last week’s post I wrote about how the year really started Oct. 1, so if one of your Wildly Important Goals is to expand your referral network, conferences could be the key.)
To sum up why professional associations and conferences are critical for success, here are three fundamental takeaways:
- Broaden your network. Whether it’s a sales professional you meet in line to grab a quick lunch or a new friend with whom you exchange business cards before an educational session, sustainable network-building happens in person with people just as willing to connect.
- Take control of your success. Creating a solid business plan is one way to craft the success you seek but another is to put yourself in a position where you can improve your knowledge and learn from the accomplishments of others. (This gets back to that Jim Rohn/easy crowd idea.)
- Stay inspired. There’s no better way to cultivate inspiration than to sit in a room full of inspired people. Inspiration that big is contagious in the best possible way. You’ll return home from a great conference with even more skills and motivation to accomplish your goals.
So, what’s the message? Success is a journey, not a destination, and the journey is marked by incredible moments in time that you’ll realize were tipping points in the growth of your career. By joining associations and attending conferences, you’re creating more opportunities for these tipping points to occur, adjusting the sails of your career against the winds of positive change.