The MBA Annual is again upon us as we know, many different entities that span the entire mortgage supply chain attend this particular show. There will be plenty of opportunities to network, forge new business relationships, connect with partners and clients, and market your products and services, among other objectives.

Whether you have been attending the MBA Annual for years or it is one of your first shows, there is a lot that you can take advantage of to maximize your time and money invested.

Many organizations have recently scaled back from participating in the mortgage trade show circuit in order to conserve sales and marketing expenses, but the Mortgage Bankers Association's annual convention is one event that can yield a very good return and positive results — if done right.

Mortgage professionals need to get enough business done to justify a trip to the MBA Annual.

One shouldn't just show up without a plan of action and stroll the show for a few days.

And let's face it, this year the conference is in Las Vegas, a rather distracting city to say the least.

It doesn't matter if you are exhibiting, have a meeting suite or are just attending, a solid plan of action and well-planned schedule is needed to make it worthwhile.

Some of the below tips may seem obvious, but they are good reminders nonetheless:

  • Map out what you want to achieve before visiting the show.
  • Pre-show, at-the-show and post-show sales and marketing efforts are key.
  • Develop a solid schedule and make sure your appointments remember to meet you. Get their cell phone numbers.
  • Be mindful of time. Many people are only there for a couple of days.
  • There will be lots of mixers and networking events held in large hotels. If attending with cohorts, make sure that you coordinate schedules and are all in sync. It's very easy to get separated in Las Vegas.
  • At the end of the day, the key to any successful trade show is planning, planning, planning.

All too often, people forget why they are at a trade show. Las Vegas is sensory overload and offers numerous activities to engage in outside of the show.
A television commercial promoting Las Vegas that is bold enough to conclude with the saying, "What happens here, stays here."

That's not the creed to follow at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual in Sin City.

You're traveling to conduct business. Don't get distracted.

Enjoy a "dash" of Vegas, but don't lose sight of your business objectives.

To partake in the many entertainment options while you are in Las Vegas, bungee jump 850 feet from the city's tallest building (Stratosphere), gamble a bit, enjoy fine dining, etc.

It's easy to overindulge in Vegas, so be sure to schedule in some rejuvenating "sleep time."

This show only comes once a year.

Kevin Spacey is speaking at the show on Monday morning, and he's sure to be entertaining.

If you party too hard on Sunday night, you may miss him, but more importantly your entire purpose at the MBA Annual.

Lastly, if you visit the exhibit floor, stop by and say hello to us at booth No. 546.

Jody Collup is vice president of marketing at Global DMS.