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This past March, 4,000 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network members came together for the brand’s 2017 Sales Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., to connect with other affiliates, grow their referral networks, attend educational sessions, gain insight into what’s happening at the brand level and celebrate the accomplishments of their hard-working colleagues.

“Sales Convention is a vital time of year for our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network family when we get together to show our appreciation for all the hard-working agents and real estate professionals we serve every day,” says network CEO Gino Blefari. “It’s a chance for network members to learn, to grow, to meet new people and solidify relationships, and, most importantly, to celebrate and connect at an event unlike any other.”

According to network members, from a networking and bonding perspective, no other industry event comes close to the annual Sales Convention.

“I go to Sales Convention because I can network with people across the brand,” says Maxine Gellens of the Maxine & Marti Gellens Team with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, who hasn’t missed a Convention since the first one back in 1989. “I make so many connections and network friends. If I missed a Sales Convention, I feel there would be a sales void in my year.”

Valuable from many different perspectives, the 2017 Sales Convention kicked off with inspirational and informative keynote addresses from Blefari and Stephen Phillips, COO of HSF Affiliates, which owns and operates the network. While Blefari zeroed in on 10 keys to unleashing one’s full potential, Phillips updated attendees on the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices national advertising campaign, in addition to shedding light on new tools and products being rolled out network-wide.

For David Mussari—managing partner with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Professional Realty in West Chester, Ohio—it’s these areas that translate most closely to his world. “I get more out of the keynote addresses and motivational speakers than most because that’s my role within my organization,” says Mussari. “I have to be a bit of a keynote speaker myself and give broad, inspirational and motivational messages.”

Working with Corporate Magic, a production company based out of Dallas, Texas, Denise Doyle—vice president of Conference and Meeting Services with HSF Affiliates—notes that pre-planning and meticulous preparation are integral to the success of the annual Sales Convention.

“We’re laser-focused on offering high-quality education, networking opportunities, top-notch speakers, entertainment and fun,” says Doyle, who goes on to explain that the amount of classes offered this year was double that of years past, with industry experts presenting on everything from the best listing presentations to the most innovative digital marketing strategies. “In addition to building our education track around what the market is currently doing, we also focused more on panels this year, as our franchisees are eager to learn from one another.”

In fact, 95 percent of the feedback Mussari receives from his agents centers around the educational sessions they attend. “Sales Convention is the one game-changer for us every year,” says Mussari. “Their educational sessions are phenomenal, insightful, motivating and diverse.”

While education is an important aspect of the annual Sales Convention, acknowledging, congratulating and celebrating the accomplishments of the network’s award winners is another critical component.

Some of this year’s award winners include:

Top 10 Agent – Unit: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices All American Homes, Danny Davis Jr.

Top 10 Agent – GCI: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, David Offer

Top 10 Team – Units & GCI: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®, Mike McCann “The Real Estate Man” & The McCann Team

Top 10 Office – Units & GCI: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate, Vince Leisey

Berkshire Elite Circle (Top 50 Companies): Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®, Larry Flick IV, Gerry Griesser, Joan Docktor and Larry Flick V

Ten-K Club (Top Companies with over 10,000 CRU): Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®, Larry Flick IV, Gerry Griesser, Joan Docktor and Larry Flick V

Top Five Commercial Companies: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, Mary Lee Blaylock

Sunshine Kids Top Contributor: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate, raising $342,000

25-Year Legend: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties; Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Realty, The Reece Team, Chin MacQuoid Fleming Harris, Kim Senecal

Capping off the two-day event, Sales Convention 2017 closed out with a bang with a Sunshine Kids Benefit featuring Grammy Award-winning group Train. Since 1981, the network has raised $28.4 million ($2.14 million in 2016) for The Sunshine Kids, an organization that provides trips and group activities—as well as emotional support—for kids with cancer. Proceeds from this year’s benefit totaled $40,000, with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate, led by President Vince Leisey, claiming the top fundraising spot, raising $342,000 to benefit the organization.

“Convention is fun and informative,” adds Gellens. “In Phoenix, I heard Johnny Bench (former professional baseball catcher) and other great speakers and received first-hand all the great things coming from our network. The event is a great way to take a break, and all of us in the business need a break from time to time.”

Not willing to rest on their laurels, the team is already hard at work preparing for the 2018 Sales Convention.

“I look forward to Sales Convention every year, and we’re already working on next year’s event in San Antonio,” says Blefari. “It’s going to be a terrific production.”

Pushing boundaries is the name of the game when it comes to raising the bar year in and year out. “For an event to go from ordinary to extraordinary, you have to keep pushing the boundaries of what people expect and what you think you’re capable of,” concludes Doyle. “We continue to be successful because we have a clear vision for the event, and everything we do in the planning, strategizing and execution phases of Sales Convention keeps that vision in mind. When our Sales Convention attendees are having a good time, we know it’s a job well done.”

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