As my partner, Steve Wishnow, and I attended the Comfortex BlindCrafter annual meeting in Las Vegas, NV, in June, I was reminded about the power of meetings and the value that leaders find by attending them. Meetings are powerful. The cost to attend can often be recovered in days by ideas you put to work after returning home. Yet, fewer than one out of five industry business owners will attend a major national window coverings event this year. What is it about meetings that leaders find so valuable and others can’t justify?
The excuses for not attending are pretty simple: Time and money.
If you are struggling for survival, if you have customer problems
that won’t wait, it’s easy to justify taking a pass.
But the flip side is, the very fact you are struggling could be
exactly the reason you need to be at the meeting! After all, who
will benefit more, the owner trying to survive or the one at the
peak of success?
I will admit, during my early years, I didn’t appreciate the
value of meetings. I didn’t attend every one. But with experience
and, over time, observing the success of scores of business owners,
I have learned that attending industry events is one of best predictors
of future achievement. If you have been on the fence about the value
of meetings, maybe this article will help you land with both feet
on the right side of your own growth and success. After all, that
is why I write these columns—to encourage your success in
this wonderful window coverings business. If I can tip the balance
for you, then you will tell others and many will benefit.
ATTENDING PAYS OFF
If you are looking for good, tangible reasons why you should invest
$2,000 or so to attend a major meeting, here are five powerful ones
. . . and one proven way to get your money back immediately, then
to profit tangibly for a lifetime:
1. Cleanse the mind—lift yourself to a higher plane. When
you are home, fighting daily problems, rushing to juggle family
and business, you just can’t move your mind to a higher level.
You are the general, the leader for your business. You need to be
on a higher level to get perspective, to sense the big picture,
to grapple with decisions about the right things to do not just
how to do things right.
2. Meet successful business owners. I used to think the main reasons
for meetings were to find new products, listen to expert speakers,
and to learn new colors and fashions. What I have learned is that
meeting other business owners and learning from their experiences
may be the most valuable reason to attend. Why? Because leaders
are at meetings. That’s the place to meet them and learn from
Sure, you may have heard about an idea or read about it, but when
you meet someone who put it to work and prospered, there is no equal
motivator for you to do the same.
3. Inspiration, not perspiration. Thomas Edison said, “Genius
is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Every
successful person knows the wisdom of that comment. Yet, the question
is, where does the one percent inspiration come from?
You already know how to perspire. That doesn’t take genius.
The question is where to get the one percent to inspire you to change?
Meetings are the answer.
4. New products. Yes, you will learn about new products. Suppliers
like to introduce new things at major meetings. Even if you don’t
buy the product, knowing about it early on makes you a leader. Knowledge
gives you confidence. After all, most of your competitors didn’t
attend. Now you have the leadership edge.
5. Benefit your customers. Your customers benefit two ways by your
attendance at meetings. First, you may find a new product that is
right for their needs. But, even if you don’t, you will be
more confident. You will be educated on the latest techniques and
ideas and inspired by the success of others. Customers want to buy
from a confident expert. In fact, your personal confidence may be
the single most important reason that quality customers buy from
DO MEETINGS PAY?
If you aspire to more than mediocrity, if you want to be among the
successful elite who build a fabulous following of customers who
buy from you again and again and tell their friends about you, if
you want the personal satisfaction of knowing you have given your
best to your profession, if you want the income to put your kids
through college and to live the lifestyle you deserve, then you
owe it to yourself to attend at least two major events every year.
For most, the investment will be only two to three percent of revenue
and should be budgeted just like any other expense. If it is a higher
percentage for you, then all the more reason you should attend—you
will learn to increase your sales so that meetings and education
will be a smaller percentage.
MAKE IMMEDIATE RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT
If you really want to make an immediate return on your investment,
I will give you one, totally reliable way to get your money back
quickly: First, calculate the cost of your meeting. Then, figure
the percent of sales to recover your cost within 90 days. Then add
that percentage to the price you charge your customers.
Example: if it costs you $2,000 to attend the meeting and if your
sales are $200,000 a year, or $50,000 a quarter, then the meeting
cost is four percent of your quarterly sales. If you add four percent
to your prices, customers are glad to pay it because they are dealing
with an expert.
Wouldn’t you rather spend $2,080 with a person that is confident
and expert, than $2,000 with someone who doesn’t have your
passion for the business? I predict there is not a customer you
sell to that wouldn’t prefer to have you serve them instead
of a competitor, when the difference is only four percent more.
KEEP THE PROFIT FOR A LIFETIME
Now, take that example a step further. If you recover your cost
in 90 days, there is no need to lower your price afterwards. So
now, you can continue the same pricing and keep the four percent
for yourself . . . for a lifetime!
In one year you earn $6,000 added profit ($8,000 to $2,000 meeting
cost). In three years you earn over $20,000 plus the increased sales
you will achieve by what you learned at the meeting!
Do you have a good story about how a meeting benefited you? Please
send it to me at steveb@ExcitingWindows.com. I would love to hear
it and pass it on for others to benefit.
Yes, meetings pay off—immediately and for a lifetime. The
simple truth: You cannot afford not to go.
This article is based on Steven C. Bursten’s actual experience
with sales and financial information working with hundreds of window
coverings businesses. Whether you are a sole manager who aspires to
higher sales, or you manage 50 window fashion decorators in a multi-million
dollar business, this series will help you manage sales better and
increase your profitability. Bursten is co-founder of Window Coverings
University and Exciting Windows! service. He also is the founder of
Decorating Den Interiors and author of a how-to book on new business
start up, “Bootstrap Entrepreneur.” Questions and comments
are welcome: email@example.com
or call (888) 333-8981.