Before you jet off to Miami Beach in a few weeks for the 16th annual NRMLA convention Nov 10-12, 2014 (or drive to the venue, if you happen to live in the area), it’s wise to prepare. This year’s theme is “Reverse Mortgage Reset,” and there is a lot to re-think. From the new Non-borrowing Spouse (NBS) rules to growing interest in the reverse mortgage industry from financial and estate planners, face time with your colleagues and industry experts can be the ticket to a winning 2015.
Start by making a list and checking it twice. Not only will it put you in the spirit for the upcoming holidays, it will help you make the most of the conference.
Separate attendees you plan to interact with into distinct target groups, e.g.:
- Government officials
- Loan originators
Plan to attend NRMLA with the intention of connecting with each of these groups as potential resources, focusing on what you can offer them and sharing specifically how they can help you.
Here are some tips for face time with each audience:
- Government officials:
- Professional, polite and confident are the keywords. Avoid being overly informal, and refrain from criticizing HUD or FHA policies, even if the person is someone you know well.
- Ask how lenders and loan officers can help strengthen the reverse mortgage program: what would the official like to see the HECM community do more of (e.g., consumer education)?
- Aim to glean nuggets of wisdom and build rapport, which demonstrates professionalism for the industry.
- Seek to build key alliances.
- Don’t spread industry gossip — it always rebounds, often with negative consequences.
- Be social, but imbibe cautiously; it’s still a business environment, and the impression you make counts.
- Look for opportunities to trade ideas. Even competitors are likely to collaborate when you seek their counsel, such as marketing tips or how to better manage your loans.
- Loan originators:
- Build friendships and share ideas, mutual support and guidance.
- Ask to connect on LinkedIn, and do so.
- Offer yourself as a resource: brainstorm, be a team player.
- Gather contact information, and keep in touch!
- As a job seeker, reach out ahead of time — several weeks prior to the Conference — to arrange an onsite meeting. (NRMLA members have access to the attendee list).
- Make sure your business cards, résumé and LinkedIn profile are up to date.
- Dress in more formal business attire than you typically would for meeting other NRMLA participants.
Don’t be afraid to “go wide and deep” with your contacts. You’ve invested time and resources in getting to NRMLA, so it pays in every sense to make the most of the opportunity. While it’s wonderful to greet old friends and associates, aim to broaden your reach. Your convention mindset ought to be “business as usual” — after all, you’re taking time away from “business as usual” to participate.
Remember, too, that all-important first impression you make on prospective business alliances. Put your best foot forward by dressing professionally — not necessarily in a suit and tie, but not as though you’re ready for a pool party, either. Consider the impression others are making on you, and how you want to come across as a potential business associate. It’s simply smart convention protocol.
Having said that, you are in Miami Beach, so enjoy those breakers and remember to pack the sunscreen!