Great practitioners invest in themselves by attending great conferences like the upcoming Xerocon. There are so many awesome speakers, great presentations and other advisors to network with. It’s like a firehose of opportunity. But sometimes it feels like there’s more on offer than you can take in. Here’s how the great advisors we work with get tactical to make the most of conference season.
Put together a tactical plan to achieve your priorities
The first step in maximizing your return on investment is to review where you want to take your firm in the next year. What are the top three things you want to achieve? Are you looking to find efficiencies? More clients? Grow your team? Develop a new market or a new expertise? These key areas of focus become the keystones of your tactical plan for nailing conference season. For each goal you will list the activities that will help you achieve the target. Here’s three types of activities to consider when looking at each conference's schedule.
Choose 3 sessions that support each priority
All the great accounting conferences have a multitude of sessions that can add value to your firm. In your tactical plan identify which sessions best help you achieve your goals. For each member of your firm attending the conference identify the sessions they will attend. And list the key things you want them to explore or take away from the session.
Identify 3 people you want to meet for each priority
Your cloud-based ecosystem is made up of more than just apps and technology partners. It’s powered by people. Vendors, partners, clients, other advisors. They make the ecosystem thrive. So the savvy conference tactician takes care to pre-plan how they network.
For each priority identify the key people you want to meet. List three people who could help move the needle on each priority. Identify who from your firm will network with which target. Try to plan how best to meet each of your connections. What conference events will you attend? What activities hosted by attendees or exhibitors will you check out?
Turn social connections into growth opportunities
The last planning step is to convert your meetings into growth opportunities. Identify what outcome you want from each meeting. What do you want to learn? What will you ask your connection to do for you? What follow-up calls or meetings are you targeting?
One key to successful networking is to make the meetings all about the other person. You already know what you want to get out of the meeting. But what’s in it for them? Could you provide introductions? Share expertise they might benefit from? Find ways to provide value for them and you’ll build real partnerships.
To maximize your return on the investment of attending a conference, it’s crucial to have a plan. Define your firm’s priorities. Then identify the conference sessions that best support each one. Pre-plan who you want to network with. And spec out how you can turn those meetings into real growth opportunities for your firm. Taking a tactical approach to conference season can help you build your firm of the future.