A week ago the American Association for Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) had their annual Leadership Summit in Chicago. I’ve been to the last 4 and wanted to share some thoughts about what you missed if you were not able to go. Also if you did go, there were a lot of things happening so everyone there probably had a little different perspective. Here are some of my thoughts:
There is No Substitute for Meeting in Person – Yes, it IS an association for inside sales professionals – those who do remote, professional selling so you’d think we could all meet virtually and be happy. It doesn’t work that way though. Yes, we can work remotely MOST of the time, but getting together annually for a big industry-wide International event is a MUST DO.
It is important to look someone in the eye and thank them for something they did for you in the last few months, or see someone you’ve not seen for a long time and re-connect as referral partners or other strategic relationship.
A firm handshake or a business hug go a long way toward building trust. I just can do that on my tablet or phone.
Make New Friends but Keep the Old – There are amazing people out in the big world of business that you don’t know yet. It’s good to meet a few of these people every now and then to expand your world, your viewpoint, and your business. As the Co-President of the Boston Chapter of AA-ISP, I met some fantastic chapter Presidents from around the world who I had not known before. Many of us are sharing ideas and finding ways to support each other for mutual benefit.
It goes without saying that seeing old friends is of great value as well. Catching up on an interest you read someone has on their Facebook page or LinkedIn update or Tweet – when done in person – is fun and important. It takes time to build trust – and a number of interactions. By taking the time and making the effort to know something about people you run into annually can make a relationship much more important for both parties.
Your Industry is Changing – Grow and Learn
No matter WHAT industry you are in there are changes happening every week. Don’t stick your head in the sand. Instead educate yourself so that you are current and relevant. The professional sales industry is greatly changing. I would not be surprised to see a big drop in outside sales positions and continued growth in inside positions. On the main stage of this conference were ideas that are new and innovative – will they work? Only time will tell.
If you don’t stay on top of changes in your niche and industry it could kill your business. Remember Kodak? How about Blockbuster?
BONUS: Don’t Forget the Follow Up
Now I’m getting 50 hand written cards done and sent before to many more days go by. My note cards have just a few words –
“WAS GREAT TO SEE YOU! – LET’S SET A TIME TO TALK BEFORE THE MONTH IS OVER”
I don’t write in all caps but wanted to stress the message. Keep it short! A note card stands out SO much more than follow up emails.
Make sure another year doesn’t go by before you speak with strategic people who can refer you many opportunities – and vice versa – simply because you forgot to.
Take advantage of the time and money invested in the event you just attended. If you missed it, scour Twitter for takeaways using the event’s Twitter hashtag.
Now you have something to talk about with others in your industry – whether they attended that industry event or not – you can share ideas from it and make connections for them.
• What will you do post-event?
• If you missed, will you attend next year?
• How can you put into place all you learned?
Need some help?
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide and is a Top 25 Innovative Sales Blogger. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog for sales strategies, tactics, and tips.
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