As a featured participant at The 2014 LPL Financial Focus Conference in San Diego next month, we’ve been working with many of our LPL clients on maximizing their attendance at these types of events.
No matter how you look at professional conferences—a necessary obligation, a break from an otherwise stressful work week, an opportunity to meet new people, a place to get free stuff—they usually take up a full day and almost always fall short of your expectations. So how do you avoid this and make what might seem like wasted time, an incredibly productive investment of your time?
Connect with others who are attending: See which networks you have in common with others who are attending and connect with them in that space before the actual event. For example, ClientWise™ LPL financial advisors who are otherwise attending the Focus conference only as colleagues, also now have access to the ClientWise eXchange™. This is an e-learning platform where advisors can connect with one another online and exchange ideas regarding best practices and future goals. Networking in this space beforehand, and then meeting up at the conference as colleagues, expands their breadth of collaboration and provides for a stronger, more fulfilling relationship and conference experience.
Plan ahead: Create a schedule of the booths you want to visit based on the layout of the floor plan, and the speaking and breakout sessions you want to attend based on the scheduled events. People have a habit of casually strolling through conferences rather than being targeted about what they want to see and actively seeking those things out before taking in the rest. Don’t make this mistake and inadvertently miss out on the aspects of the conference that are most important to you.
Know what you want to accomplish: Consider your reasons for attending the conference and rank them in order of importance. Are you attending the conference for networking purposes? If so, figure out who you want to connect with in advance and make that a priority, even reach out to those people in advance to see if they want to attend an event together, or have breakfast or dinner one day. If you are going for educational reasons, pick the top three breakout sessions you plan on attending, then research the speakers and their topics. Prepare questions about the subject matter that relate directly to the improvement of your business. The presenters will likely appreciate you offering your business up as an example, and you’ll receive more personalized advice.
Align your conference objectives with your professional objectives: Review your business plan for the year, side-by-side with the conference schedule. Consider which areas of your business you need to work on according to your goals and current performance, and how those line up with what is being offered at the conference. Are you struggling with bringing on new clients? Are you successfully tracking your opportunity pipeline? A breakout session focused on client acquisition, like “The 6 Step Client Acquisition Process™” that ClientWise™ is running at the LPL Focus conference, might be exactly what you need. It will also connect you with advisors who are working toward similar goals, who could potentially serve as accountability partners for you or your team.
Maximize your opportunity to take advantage of what you need: Conferences aren’t just about “free stuff” but they do allow you the opportunity to take advantage of certain perks. If you are on the lookout for giveaways, find specific promotions that tie into your professional goals for the year. For example, ClientWise™ is reserving four seats in our Profitable Practice Group Coaching™ Program, a program designed to help you optimize growth and maximize revenue, to ultimately create your self-sustaining business. We are offering four ways to enter and win this executive coaching.
Two contestants will be chosen on-site at the conference by either:
- Attending our breakout session, The 6 Step Client Acquisition Process™
- Visiting our booth where you’ll find even more valuable tips and tools to help you in your business.
The final two contestants will be chosen from the web. ClientWise™ is here to challenge your social media participatory culture.
- The first way you can enter to win is by visiting, www.clientwise.com/lplfocus14 and filling out the form in the middle of the page.
- The second way you will qualify to be a contestant is by @mentioning, @ClientWise and @LPL on Twitter. Make sure you #LPLfocus and #LPLfocustips. ClientWise™ wants you to channel your inner Social Media Guru and have fun!
Follow the conference on social media: This is especially true if it’s a conference you’re traveling to. Often the hosts of the conference, and many of its sponsors and attendees, will provide additional on-site benefits to advisors who make the effort to like and follow them online. Everything from increased packages to free hotel stays are common upgrades, so keep an eye out. ClientWise™, for one, is offering LPL Focus attendees a 30-day trial membership to the ClientWise eXchange™, the first ever e-learning and coaching platform built specifically for ambitious financial advisors. Our social media pages also offer more ways to enter our Profitable Practice Group Coaching™ Giveaway.
Like anything else, conferences are only as beneficial as you make them, so do your due diligence and make it worth every penny, and minute of your time. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can really make them work for you. And, if you’re an LPL Advisor attending the 2014 Focus conference, look out for ClientWise™ and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for updates on our giveaways!