Are Conferences Worth The Time And Money?

As Real Estate and Mortgage professionals, we are bombarded with conference opportunities.  It seems everyone has the next big idea and they want to sell you something.   Taking the time and money to attend one of these things in a far off land that usually involves casinos, bad food and too many bars seems ridiculous to the busy, self employed, kill what you eat professional.

I talk to people every day and hear things like, “I just don’t have the time” or “If I am going to spend 5K, it is going to be on a lead prospecting program”.   These are certainly valid concerns, but, what is the opportunity cost of staying in your box?
 

20 Yrs of Sales Training for Todd Duncan
I recently attended Sales Mastery in the Palm Desert… for the ninth time.  The resistance welled up the week before the conference.  I had a lot of work on my plate, candle burning at both ends, deals to close and hundreds of reasons to back out.   Steven Pressfield talks about this resistance in his book The War of Art   Ultimately, I sucked it up and got on the plane and I am glad I did!
Motivation
Even the hardened conference veteran or “anti ra-ra” team mates, can’t help but extract some level of motivation from a conference environment.  One of my team members attended “only because he had to” and although he was reluctant to admit it, he came back re-charged and ready to go!  Whether you get up and clap or not, leveraging the energy of the group is an amazing strategy.
Collaboration
A lot of the work at these things happens “between the lines” of the agenda.   During the 45 minute breaks I was able to meet new people and pick their brains.  These are folks I am not exposed to in my day to day life and they bring the perspective of different markets, companies and views.   I also had some great meetings with my team.  Changing the physical location and the adding the context of growth creates open, sincere dialogue that is hard to extract in the office.
Proof
This one is huge for me.   I met three managers that are already doing pieces of what I want to accomplish.  When I left, I wondered about several parts of my plan.  I arrived home with clear proof that I can do it and it will work.   Our Mortgage Planners had an opportunity to witness top producers that are achieving the previously impossible every day.
Calculating ROI
So, what is 3 days and 3K worth to your business?  For most producers, just the uptick in energy in the three months following a good conference more than pays for itself.   One of our Mortgage Planners came home, made 10 strategic calls to his database and generated 2 apps in the first day.  Another fixed several things on their lead website and improved performance 50%.   My experience is that you have to work really hard not to get a 10X return on your investment.
My closing thought is that every sales professional owes it to themselves to attend at least one conference a year.  Which one doesn’t matter, just that it resonates with you and is aligned with your needs.  The motivation, collaboration and proof are enough to create an ROI for years to come.
What is your best conference ROI experience?