Our flight out was full of Scottish property connections and, as always, some familiar faces. MIPIM is one of the world's largest real estate events where more than 25,000 property professionals from all sectors gather every year to attend formal and informal presentations, meetings and networking events. It was the first time for Jonny, however, Brian and myself as "veterans" knew some of the tricks and tips to use in targeting the correct people and to gain business opportunities from the event.
It may seem self-evident, but one of the key ingredients for a successful MIPIM is the pre-event planning. Turning up without appointments or events organised and diarised is pointless and we had a very full timetable of meetings and events compiled in the build-up to MIPIM. Our own client contacts at Malcolm Hollis were of considerable assistance in the scheduling as their chartered yacht (which is used as their business hub during MIPIM) hosted a number of functions, and at least one of us made sure to be present at every one of them. There was particular value in these events as we were the only Scottish lawyers present and had direct access to many of the key decision makers from a number of the Hollis blue chip clients, the majority of whom were London-based. The opportunity to network "without competition" with such potential clients and in such numbers in a private location was very worthwhile, and will hopefully result in some new business in the future.
The Malcolm Hollis events and our own independently organised meetings, dinners and others (including a wine tasting at a local wine merchant which was extremely well received by all of the invitees!) gave us some excellent opportunities to network with some very relevant business contacts. We encountered project managers, solicitors from all parts of the UK and beyond, lending managers, surveyors, asset managers and others and it is this opportunity to meet persons otherwise unknown to us or inaccessible which is one of the real values of MIPIM. Hot topics of conversation included the extremely busy high end residential development/re-development market in London and the South East, and the evolution (and demise) of law firms in the UK. Our recent merger was a positive story which caught the attention too!
The next critical step is, of course, the follow-up and plans are already in hand to place ourselves in front of the valuable contacts made with a view to building business relationships for the future.
MIPIM is an enjoyable but non-stop event (with days commencing at 7:00 am and running until 3:00 am) but the effort is worthwhile. MIPIM phase two commences now - and that is where the real hard work begins.