By Jeff Beals
National associations are famous for holding big conventions each year. Some conventions are so big they attract tens of thousands of attendees.
As you might imagine, it takes a great deal of work to pull off one of these major events. Programs need to be planned, speakers booked, volunteers recruited, attendees encouraged to attend and logistics squared away.
One of the biggest decisions is where to have the event. When a meeting planner is looking for a venue for a convention or an industry meeting, they consider a number of factors:
- Quality of the meeting facilities
- Nearby attractions
- Proximity of entertainment and restaurants
- Ease of transportation
And then there’s the hotel. Planners prefer a hotel that is either big enough to host the event itself or is right next door to a major convention center. The hotel must be nice-looking, offer a range of amenities and have an adequate number of rooms.
But there is one thing that is an absolute MUST in order for a convention hotel to make the cut: it has to have a large, full-service bar.
Yep, that’s right. A great bar and lounge area in the convention hotel is generally considered a non-negotiable requirement. Why? It’s not because convention attendees want to drink more on the road than they do at home (although they typically do). It’s because of something much more important – an age-old, primitive business practice known as networking.
Isn’t that interesting? Organizations spend large amounts of time and money making everything just right for a convention, yet one of the most important parts of the experience comes when attendees retire to the bar after the last general session and simply network – build ties and bonds with their colleagues from other cities, states or countries.
They share ideas, refer business and counsel one another. Despite the many sophisticated and highly valuable things modern business meetings offer, much of the value that comes from the event occurs in the evening in the crowded hotel lobby bar.
We professionals think we are so sophisticated, yet we’re still hopelessly tied to our ancient social instincts. You know what? That’s okay. People make business interesting. People make business meaningful. People make business worthwhile.
No matter how sophisticated we become, nothing is as effective as in-person learning and one-on-one networking. Those companies and professionals that remember this tend to do better and sell more products and services.
We have access to live webinars, digital recordings, interactive online learning programs. Nevertheless, people still love to experience events in person. They still benefit from taking continuing education courses in a room full of people from a qualified person standing there in the flesh.
Think about it…We have so many ways to deliver our sales messages to clients via mass media, social media and sophisticated email campaigns. Nevertheless, sales practitioners still have to call prospects on the phone one at a time or show up at their offices to make a pitch.
It’s easy to say “no” to an advertisement, a tweet or a mass email. It’s harder to say “no” when someone sits down with you, listens to your needs and wants and personally explains why their product or service will benefit you and your unique situation.
Don’t be misled and lulled to sleep by all the wondrous selling/marketing tools at your disposal. While those technologies certainly help, you still have to reach out and shake hands if you want to make it big.
The next time you go to a convention, test this out. Enjoy the speakers, take notes at the break-out sessions, attend the awards banquet, but at about 9:30 p.m., stroll through the hotel lobby bar. Notice how many people from your convention are there. Join the conversation and build long-term collegial relationships that can enhance your success for years and years to come.
Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”
Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:
“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY
“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil
I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA