Why do you attend ARM industry conferences? To learn new techniques, view technology, discover new vendor solutions, visit with clients and others in the same situation as you, and maybe, just to see the beach, casino or other landmarks. Conference organizers entice attendees by highlighting famous people as speakers, offering continuing education credits and networking opportunities. The question becomes how effective can you be in two days if all these things are on your “Must Do” list?
Most people I speak with try to meet these obligations by creating a structured schedule. You will hear someone say “I have twenty or thirty meeting set up” or they are rushing from one meeting to get to the next one. My question is just how well prepared were they for that meeting? Every meeting is an opportunity and should be treated as one of the most important parts of your research and marketing objectives.
I have meetings with many potential clients or partners that are very non-productive and a few that are very productive because both parties are well researched. So let me outline a few KPI’s of a great conference.
- Be prepared for each meeting: When I can get a potential consulting client to perform my online assessment prior to the meeting and to spend a few minutes on the phone prior to the meeting it helps to prepare both parties. By identifying opportunities for improvement, as well as a high level view of the business, provides me the background needed to make recommendations. If you research a new vendor and take the time to call some references prior to meeting them at their booth you will be more prepared to take action.
- Meet with the right people: By doing your research you can make sure you are talking to the right person. Whether it’s a letter vendor, asset location vendor, client representative or another conference attendee take the time to make sure it’s the right person.
- Listen: You can’t learn if you are doing all the talking. Take the time to let the meeting progress, Listen intently and then ask questions designed to uncover issues that didn’t get addressed. At a conference, you schedule will be packed and unscheduled meetings will surely occur, but if you have done all of your homework, your meetings will be more efficient, and you will learn more, and you will have more time to get to know the other party and build a relationship. Remember, it’s the right person and the right vendor, client or attendee that creates a successful working relationship.
Over the years, Lighthouse Consulting has been closely monitoring the industry and evaluating dozens of service providers to help our clients make the most informed choices when choosing the best vendor, process or solution for their business. Add one more appointment to your schedule at the next industry conference and spend a few minutes with our CEO Phillip W. Duff to ensure you get the most out of your vendor evaluation process.