Amid the dazzling, bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, when attending your first ISCS RECon, it’s easy to make rookie mistakes. We asked around the CREXi team and, using their 25+ years of experience, compiled our top ten list to survive the ever-exciting ISCS RECon.
1. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
If you plan to stand in your booth and wait for customers to stroll on in (and you are not giving out iPhones), then you’ve just wasted a whole heap of time and money. Figure out who you want to meet and reach out to them now. Your booth is a means to show your presence, but most folks you want to meet with won’t just stroll up to your booth. Use the ICSC mobile app. It’s a great free app that you can use to see who you want to meet with, what sessions you wish to attend, and it has a floor plan of the entire event.
2. You can’t hit a target you can’t see.
Remember it’s quality, not quantity. One of the first years Paul Cohen – CREXi’s national sales director – attended, he hung out with two guys who were also starting in the business. One an architect and the other a banker. They’re still good friends to this day and have done a fair amount of business over the years.
3. Stay healthy, my friend.
When you first arrive at ICSC, pick up as many large bottles of Evian as possible in the hotel lobby store. It’s so easy to forget the value of hydration. In a related topic, getting drunk will utterly ruin your productivity the next day (if it doesn’t get you fired). As a former boss at CBRE would tell us at conferences, “Don’t go deep the first night.”
4. Always be prepared.
Every boy scout in America learns this motto. Here’s a list of handy items to pack for a convention trip: a power pack and cord for all cellphones, band-aids, Advil, Emergen-C, breath mints, stain remover, cough drops, needle and thread, Tums, wipes, hand sanitizer, Blistex, hair ties, scissors, and more. CREXi will be giving away survival necessities at Booth C2413, so if you find yourself unprepared, stop by and stock up.
5. Finesse your elevator pitch.
It’s going to happen. You are going to be at a cocktail reception and a great potential client will be standing in front of you. It’s your big moment. It’s the entire reason to be at ICSC. Don’t blow it. Here’s ours: “We run a dating site for brokers and investors to find the perfect property.” This is more immediately engaging than “we have an online Commercial Real Estate marketplace.”
6. Tagteam to land the meeting.
Let’s face it; it can be hard getting meetings unless you have a brand-new power center in Manhattan. So, a useful tip to meet retailers or developers is to partner with an existing client and set meetings with other retailers or developers. For example, if one of your clients is the head of retail for Coffee Co, a fictitious coffee company that is opening stores across the US, partnering with Coffee Co incentivizes landlords and developers to meet with you and vice versa.
7. Choose your roommates wisely.
This one is obvious, but it’s worth mentioning as it can ruin conferences for brokers. The colleague who is a bit of a character at home will turn into a complete nut in Vegas. If you don’t want to be woken by random guests at 2 am, or your roommate knocking on the door drunk because they lost their key, then either spring for your own room or room with the dullest guy in your company. And remember: if you check in first, your card’s on the table for liability with the hotel.
8. Leave in comfort.
It’s nice to leave on a late-night flight out of Vegas and arrive home in the morning, especially if you’re a good sleeper. That said, no one wants to take a red-eye in the same suit you’ve been wearing all day. Stash some sweatpants in your carry on for the journey home: it’s a much more comfortable way to pass out.
9. Collect cool swag.
There are usually some great giveaways at the booths but mostly junk. Why do firms insist on giving away stress balls with their logo on it? Do they want people symbolically crushing and throwing their company around? The best giveaways we’ve ever received were a utility tool and a backpack. As a team who has operated many booths, there’s nothing worse than someone who pretends to be interested just to get your free stuff. Just take it and do everyone a favor.
10. Follow Up is Key at ICSC.
You (or your company) just spent a few thousand dollars sending you to Vegas. Within twenty-four hours of departure, make sure you send a personalized email summarizing the meeting and stating any follow-up items. Some folks like to send handwritten notes. Personally, we I prefer an email because it’s easier to respond, track and set reminders, etc. Either way, follow up!
We hope that was helpful. See you at RECon? Click Here and fill out the form so we can get in touch and arrange a time to meet! We’ll walk you through our CREXi Commercial Real Estate Marketplace, and show you how firms like CBRE, Cushman, JLL, Colliers, HFF are leveraging CREXi to sell their listings.