We take our market seriously. And we have never been afraid to invest in events or excursions that benefit the profile and the position of the organisation.
We chose to go to MIPIM this year because it just feels right.
Last year we were still very much in our infancy at only 18 months old. Whilst performance was strong and the desire to be at MIPIM was there, we were more focussed on opening our second office and building a genuinely strong leadership team. Laying the foundations I guess. I just felt it was too soon to go out and, almost pretend, we were something we were not. Staying away was hard but my instinct told me 2018 should be the year of our maiden voyage.
Fast forward 12 months and we have two offices and a new leadership team. A head of Contract and a Head of Permanent recruitment who both have outstanding track records (Camilla Thompson and John Guest) and have been great addition to our London business. Those guys are also hiring consultants who are strong on delivery which is really exciting.
Our Manchester business is 6 strong now and we will be announcing the appointment of an Associate Director in the coming weeks. A great hire for the business and somebody I hugely admire and who will be a true asset to not just that office but the wider group.
So, with some critical mass and genuine expertise (quality over quantity will ALWAYS be our focus), MIPIM 2018, here we come.
Having never been before, I was keen to plan as much as possible. My first port of call was trusted clients and contacts who were MIPIM veterans, keen to gain some tips and pointers as to how I get the best from the trip. Many people spoke about getting meetings in the diary and pack it full. However, just as many people advised me to not book too many. Have free time to wonder, to engage and to learn.
The trip itself cost the business thousands of pounds and heading in to something without as many meetings as I would have liked seemed a little odd and not quite right. I hear of recruiters who go and don’t buy tickets to the conference. But I don’t really agree with that. They are hugely expensive, granted, but in for a penny, in for a pound. We want to do it right and properly. I've found clients respect this more.
So, I completely trusted the advice given and broke the days up in to periods; 50% of our time with booked meetings, 25% of the day at seminars and smaller break out sessions and the rest spare to mingle.
Evenings in the lead up to the event were most challenging. Knowing where to go and where to be was difficult! Some clients of ours insisted dinners and drinks with your closest contacts was key. Now, we have great clients and I 100% believe they value us a huge amount, but some of our clients are consultancies and they are heading to MIPIM to wine and dine / meet clients of their own. Therefore, we found it more difficult to pin down clients for evening dinners on a one to one basis. I wasn’t surprised by this. I understand why dinner with a recruiter, over their own contacts, may be a missed opportunity for their business irrespective of how much value we believe we add!
Lunches and afternoon drinks in the various cafes were a great deal easier and the best thing about the property sector is that it’s genuinely a people orientated market. Therefore, people are happy to meet and engage. If you’re not, then you probably wouldn’t see much value in attending the event.
So we are heading to more generic parties to meet a cluster of clients more informally and on a more traditional networking capacity.
Amie Capron is my partner in crime and has a number of 15 minute sessions with some really senior figures as a result of an article she intends to write upon her return dedicated to the subject of Women in Real Estate.
Coming on trips like this with Amie is brilliant. Not only is she a dedicated and hugely capable business woman, she is a lot of fun and a brilliant networker and is a huge asset to the business. She lives the property market and... she’s not adverse to some good weather, so to say she’s excited to be in Cannes is probably fair, to say the least.
So, we land in Nice in 20 minutes. We have our transport and hotel all booked and are heading to the conference in 2 hours ready to attack the day.
This has been months in the planning. As a first timer, I've no idea how successful MIPIM will be, but Harper Harrison should be here and I’m proud we are.
If you are missing MIPIM this year, fret not, I will be writing a diary each morning of the previous day so keep tuned, and if you are here and want to meet don't hesitate to get in touch!