For the last week I’ve been networking like crazy at a big property conference called MIPIM. The event’s hosted in Cannes in the South of France and a is big, glitzy affair with lots of investors, developers, property fund managers, Mayors and service providers doing their best to attract attention and investment to their new schemes.
Finances are very tight these days and I had to do it on a shoe string budget travelling there in cattle class on the train and sleeping on a friends’ sofa (thanks Bradley!) for the duration. The time commitment alone meant the opportunity cost was also high.
Naturally, with property & finance having been hit so hard there were far fewer people there than when I last went. Numbers were down from about 30,000 to 18,000 delegates. It struck me that the people that were there were much more serious than before. Discussions weren’t about the market as such but more about deals. Those there were clearly making the most of the current climate and using their time in France effectively to speed network.
Most of the people I met there were top influencers – as an example the chap I happened to sit next to and chat with in a cafe on Saturday is developing a huge scheme in Korea. I’m pretty sure he casually mentioned it was the largest in the world and that he had hosted 7,000 guests at the MIPIM launch party (and he owned 15% personally). I didn’t have the money to buy a ticket to go into the main ‘bunker’ (which cost 1,600 Euros) so I missed that bit but I was lucky enough to be invited to quite a few of the lunches, boats and parties where I chatted to numerous UK property legends.
Knowing I had to make the most of my time there I collected plenty of business cards and made sure I sent them all personal emails and Linked In connection requests before I left. In the months that follow I’ll aim to turn at least a few of those brief business card swaps into coffees events, coffees into mutually beneficial exchanges and as a result some new business all round.