Since the beginning of my time in this industry I was told about the great ICSC convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stories from around the office filled my expectations and created an extravagant image in my head of Wall Street like meetings and negotiations with the best real estate minds all over the world.
I remember explaining to a fellow broker after my first local ICSC convention in Phoenix that, “I now have a decent understanding of what Vegas will be like.” He lightly chuckled and replied, “I am sure you do.” That sarcastic response should have been enough for me to realize that I was oblivious to what Vegas would be like. Yet, nothing could have prepared me for the expectation shattering event that was ICSC RECon 2014.
Three larger than life convention halls were filled with what looked to be small Hollywood movie sets for each company. Every landlord, brokerage house, and developer I had come across thus far was in attendance. Hyper intelligent people with more years of experience in this industry than my years of experience on this earth surrounded me. There was so much to absorb from the people and culture of the event, that I felt three days was insufficient. There were however, a few key ideas I managed to take from the event that I would share with other young brokers.
Knowledge is your most valuable asset, be an expert…
Throughout the convention I was offered the opportunity to sit in on a few of the senior brokers’ meetings. All of the meetings went beyond the scope of the initial subject property. What are the rates across the street? What was the last deal done at in the center two miles south? Without hesitation the brokers replied to all of these questions accurately and intelligently. Intellectual capital is our business and where we create our value, if you do not know or cannot quickly find out, you are replaced.
Time is your second most valuable asset, be efficient…
The first day of the show I found myself running around the Las Vegas convention center in order to be on time for each meeting. Compared to the other brokers my to-do list was embarrassing and yet I would find them relaxed and walking from destination to destination. I quickly discovered that while I was running at a five minute mile pace to a different hall for every meeting, the other brokers had set all of their meetings for the day in one hall. They were only a few steps away from each their meetings. That efficient thinking is what determines your work pace, which is highly valuable in this first come first serve type of industry.
It’s all about who you know, network…
The magic of ICSC RECon is that a hefty portion of the deal making goes on off campus and beyond the floor times. However, while the other attendees were catching taxis with clients to eat at the premier Las Vegas restaurants, I was stuffing my face with Jersey Mike’s sample subs, Auntie Anne’s pretzels, toddler sized cups of Menchie’s, and other free samples that were light on my wallet. Although the nosh handouts were financially beneficial, I was not making any deals. Personal relationships produce those invitations to dinners and parties where commercial real estate is the topic of conversation. Industry relationships are where the majority of your opportunities come from.
Mason Clevenger | Associate
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