My Trip To Orlando for the Prudential Real Estate Convention

Last week I went to Orlando, Florida for the Prudential Real Estate Sales Convention. While there is a convention every year, this one was my first, and I am so happy I went! I registered Sunday and then went out with co-workers from the office for a nice dinner at Roy’s (Hawaiian fusion). (Sadly, the one here in Austin closed down-it was next to the convention center. There is something about Austin that not a lot of chains do as well as local businesses). Roy’s was probably one of the most delicious meals I have ever had! Thanks to Rick and Dede Jenkins.

Photo above: Orange County Convention Center. It is huge! View from the Walkway from the Convention center to the Hilton hotel (where most stayed).

If you know me fairly well you would probably say I am a happy person and a hard worker for the most part…this convention was right up my alley. I really enjoyed what I had heard from other very successful business entrepreneurs as well as some of the speakers that have faced adversity. Listening to someone’s hardships or achievements is always an insightful, inspiring eye-opener for me.

Liz Murray, author of from Homeless to Harvard, was the first opening speaker, telling of her true story of her parent’s drug addiction, being on welfare, not having food, eating out of trashcans, the passing of her mother and the decision to go back to school, with the help of a mentor, having her story published by the New York Times and accepting admittance to Harvard. Her story, her words were very inspiring. I wrote down a few notes I took away from the session, and needless to say there were definitely parts that brought tears to my eyes. It is so amazing how easy to forget how “good we got it” until you hear stories like this. Here she is below:

Some of the notes and quotes I wrote down while she was speaking probably won’t have as much meaning out of context, but I’d like to share.

  • No one gets where they are going alone
  • Personal responsibility has direct correlation with happiness
  • “Later” becomes a lifestyle…(meaning, always saying “I’ll do it later”)
  • Don’t make what happened to you who you are
  • If you think you’re having a bad day try missing one
  • Be grateful for all you have, not regretting what you don’t
  • Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do

After her speech the national awards for sales all over the country are given (honestly, it is hard to compete in the sales volume category with places like NYC where the price tag is much, much higher than in Austin, Tx)! Below is a really blurry photo of what the room filled with agents from across the country was like and the lights and music made the awards presentation much more interesting.

The convention has break out sessions on different topics you think you’d like to get something out of. At first I went to a panel (in which you listen to other successful agents talk about how they “made it,” but honestly, I wasn’t getting much out of that so left–and man do I hate that feeling–as everyone watches your back walk out the door!)

However, I am glad I left because then I went and listened to a speaker (a much more enthusiastic one) talk about marketing to 4 Generations. Seth Mattison (his blogs are awesome) was his name and the topic of the class was called: Moving the Market. Reaching Four Generations of Buyers and Sellers. It was so relative to what I have been doing, it isn’t even funny. Below are some notes I took regarding the different generations, and we went further into discussion regarding gearing your business toward marketing, servicing and relating to people of different ages, because all accept and appreciated different forms of communication-we must tailor our strategies to these various groups.

  • Traditionalist (Pre 1946): loyal to service providers, fastest growing segment on facebook, being forced to explore more options by their children, tied to more emotional stories and personal touch.
  • Baby Boomers (1946-1964): Dichotomous, traditionalist parents therefore grew up in suburbs etc, compare to movie: The Sandlot, grew up with social unrest, idealistic, optimistic, competitive, time starved generation, scared of change and the economic downturn impacted outlook and financial situation
  • Generation X (1965-1981): Get a bad label, grew up in a transitioning time, women enter work place, institution of marriage is negative as divorce rate triples, **Most skeptical generation, taught to question and push back with everything, hate sugar-coating, get all information from online and have a “I know everything” approach
  • Millenials (1982-2000): Plugged in and high tech, socially diverse and collaborating generation, they “get by” but don’t save or invest, entitled, parents usually involved in decision making-especially when it comes to purchasing a home.

Which one are you? Do you fit the descriptions? It is possible to be a “cusper.” One born in between two years. I am a cusper, as I identify more so with Generation X, but also millenials (as I am always plugged in, constantly checking email, try to be socially diverse, but tend to also always ask- “what’s the catch?” And I too hate being given sugar-coated information or creepy car salesmen, like my Gen X counterparts. Either way I found the class VERY informative.

Next session I attended was a speaker named Mark Stark and his topic was: Tips for Creating Success in Life, Business and Any Environment. It didn’t just pertain to real estate, however Mark is a successful agent and broker out of the Las Vegas area. Here are some things that struck a cord while he was speaking and I jotted down:

  • Success is clarity and consistency
  • Do 3 Things each day-MIT (most important things) first
  • Don’t take the personal stuff personally (this can be hard in real estate as our feelings also get involved with our clients, I know mine do, but I am working on it)
  • Focus on the core. Your business will die if you don’t focus on the core items to keep it moving forward
  • Do things Intentionally.

After the session there are some networking receptions and what not, but I had felt the need to get some Florida sunshine and go for a jog. Unlike a lot of my colleagues, I was staying with a friend from high school (bless facebook for keeping people in touch), and his home wasn’t too far from the convention center. My schedule has been absolutely crazy lately, and sadly my health and fitness have suffered (which I hate). I went for a jog in my friend’s neighborhood, fairly close to downtown Orlando. It was nice to get some fresh air and a little sun on my break.

Below is a photo I just had to snap. One of my favorite flowers and one you don’t see often, took it on my run.

What I noticed about Florida is that EVERYONE golfs no matter the time of day. Below are some men on the range, also taken on my run.

And what kind of real estate agent would I be, if I didn’t pay attention to actual real estate in the area? This neighborhood in Florida was really interesting. Had great proximity to DT, golf course, your basic needs, and there was a great mix of smaller homes built maybe in the ’60s with tear-downs and newly built homes as well as remodels. Here is one now, definitely not standard for the neighborhood, but there really wasn’t anything “standard.” If I had to compare to Austin, it reminds me of parts of the East side, closer to DT (down town) and the eclectic mix of modern, traditional, shacks and bungalows.

After my jog I headed back to the Convention Center and Hilton Hotel to load up on the buses to go to Universal Studios. The buses took us to Adventure Island (part of the park) and when we pulled up, the Prudential Logo “The Rock” was cast amongst another rock wall in the theme park.

I love roller coasters and theme parks in general. It has been such a long time since I had been to one! Best part: theme park to ourselves!!!! They gave us a whole park with money (Universal bucks) for food, free booze and virtually no lines?! I was in heaven.

“Why yes, sir. I will have a free, cold one after my long day, thank you!”

One of my favorite movies as a kid. This photo above brings back some memories. Not just the movie we had on VHS, or the book I read in 9th grade, but my little brother loved this movie. We would watch it all the time together and play Jurassic Park, ha. I also remember the first time I saw the movie and how big of a deal it was. We waited in the longest line with our Dad on a rainy day in Victoria, Tx, I remember thinking how ahead of its time it was-the visual effects, everything. Funny the things you remember growing up, and even more amazing that theme parks make that connection. I didn’t ride the rides in Jurassic Park because it was a water one that was getting everyone soaked and I was already a little cold. Yes, this Tx girl was chilly on a Florida Spring night.

Harry Potter had a new ride out: Amazing. I loved that part of the park the most. There was the new 3D ride as well as the Dragon’s Challenge ride that you dangle from. Smoother, newer coasters are my favorite. It was the first time in forever I got to ride in the front–more than one time–and waited a mere five minutes. Awesome. Above is me and the conductor in the Harry Potter part of the park πŸ™‚

I took this photo on my way up in the front seat of my favorite ride (then quickly stuck my camera back in my pocket before we dropped and I lost my camera forever).

I am really not sure what these guys are from, above. But they were funny and crazy, so I had to take a photo with them.

After a night of rides, socializing, drinks and fun, I had to retire as another full day of sessions and getting motivated awaited.

Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment was our guest speaker. He was awesome. Nothing I love more than a speaker that is concise, relevant, speaks clearly and enthusiastically…makes the presentation so much more enjoyable than those that are monotone and boring. (Reminds me of some old college professors that could take a lesson or two in public speaking).Guy Kawasaki made some really excellent points you can apply to your life–for anyone–not just real estate agents, but those wanting to be successful, make an impact, do great work and make a difference. I took three pages of notes, but instead of sharing, I really recommend reading the book, especially if you are an entrepreneur. I actually got a nice professional photo with Guy (only certain people get this opportunity…Kent let me have his, as he had to be back in Austin to take care of business). Thank you, Kent! [Photo not on the website yet for viewing, but you know I will post it!].

We broke for lunch (thank goodness, too because I was definitely exhausted and feeling it from the night before’s shenanigans at the theme park keeping us up past midnight).

Here was my delicious lunch at the Hilton with the other agents from our office:

So much for dieting. This puppy hit the spot!

My first break-out session for the day was a Negotiation seminar. Marylyn Schwartz, an Italian woman from the New York area gives us advice on “How to Negotiate like a Soprano.” She used her background and the Sopranos to tie into her speech. She offered some great tips and advice. When it comes to negotiating, I try to get to the point where everyone isΒ  happy, felt like they got what they wanted in a concise, clean way. This was not her take. I loved her toughness and as a female she reminded us (and made us repeat a few times):

“I am not pushy I am professionally persistent.”

She values face to face negotiations and believes all negotiating and presenting of offers should be done in person–something we really tend to stray away from these days with technology making everything so convenient (I can’t tell you how many times I have emailed an offer with our statement/letter).

I really liked what she had to say. She even compared her negotiation skills to renting a car for the weekend–there is nothing that woman can’t negotiate and it has inspired me already to practice her maneuvers not only in the real estate world, but in general. Everyone wants an agent who can negotiate on their behalf and get them exactly (if not more) than what they are asking.

My last session of the day went out on a good note! Simon T. Bailey’s topic was: Storyselling: Emotional Branding. This is a really relevant topic in today’s marketplace with how much advertising and social media outlets we have to utilize and yet still connect with those around us. The best part about listening to Simon was his laugh….it was one of those contagious laughs that make you laugh. He used to work for Disney and shared some of his experiences as well as reminded us of the connection we feel with certain brands of companies that make us happy. (Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Apple to name a few companies that were brought up in the session among the attendees).

Overall I got a lot out of the conference to take back with me and apply not only to my personal life and goals, but professionally as well. Now all I have to do is the hard part–actually do it. Habits aren’t easy to break, nor are they easy to pick up, but hopefully this will set me in the right track.

I noticed as I left the exhibition hall the last day the sign stated where next year convention was going to be...Ummm, Yes. I WILL be of attendance at the 2012 Prudential Sales Convention in Las Vegas!!!!!

I left the convention and walked over to the Hilton Hotel Pool. (As if I were a guest). How convenient was it that I packed my swimsuit in my rental car for “after session relaxation?”

I met a nice fellow who laid next to me who was at the other convention occurring (PittCon?). He talked to me about Europe (had been all over) and all the places I should go when I am there. He also bought me a drink. (It’s good being a lady some times). And it was nice going out on that note for the day.

My flight wasn’t going to leave until the following day, so I finally got to catch up with my fellow high school friend, Fred. We went out for dinner and drinks in Orlando–he is quite the knowledgeable one on night life, if any of you need recommendations when in Orlando. Here I am with him and his girlfriend, Lisa. πŸ™‚

We had a good time out and about-despite it being a Tuesday in Orlando, there was a Magic’s game, so quite a few people were out and about, especially since they had won. Thanks Fred, again for letting me crash (I love saving money when I can)! I also had a great time quoting Coming to America with these two and learning all about Orlando night life.

Wednesday: back to reality. Back to catching up on what I didn’t get done as well as being inspired to get started on all the ideas I had gained from the convention. People keep asking “how was your vacay?” I am thinking: What vacation??!

Hope you enjoyed my run-down of Orlando, if you have any questions, comments, or want to discuss anything I learned, happy to share. Stay tuned for more blogs to come. And as always, thanks for reading.