I have to admit I was less enchanted with the NYXPO the second day and felt that one day probably was enough to get what I needed. I certainly would have planned that one day differently if I knew I wasn’t coming back the next for additional seminars.
But then, there always is an energy loss, I find, the last day of a large-scale event where lots of strangers and acquaintances gather together to network and share ideas—whether it be a conference, expo or fair. Even if, like here, the event is only two days long. The thing is I find you can use that lagging energy to engage in much realer conversations with fellow attendees about what they got out of the experience as well as with exhibitors about their products and services as there is less competition for their attention. So, it pays to scope out the vendors you are truly interested in early on, listen to their pitch and review their materials, then question the rep in a conversational manner toward the end of the event you’re attending, when they’re tired of pitching and more interested in engaging with you. They may also be more inclined to cut you a break on pricing so they don’t have to ship home the products they brought with them to sell if it’s something like books or software.
So, on to my first seminar of the day—Power Networking in a Social Media World given by Rod Colon, who is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer & master networker. I was not familiar with Rod before taking his seminar session and did find myself liking him pretty much from the get go. I actually think it would be hard not to like him. He’s got a good motivational style and he certainly made some good points about how to leverage and expand your existing network.
But, I found a lot of what Rod covered very basic Networking 101 kind of stuff. I mean if you don’t already know that networking is all about reciprocity—helping others so that when you need help they’ll be there for you—then you a) haven’t read anybody’s book, blog, article, etc. about networking in your entire life, and b) you’ve been doing it wrong all this time.
I also found that for an audience of small business owners mostly in their 40′s, 50′s and 60′s Rod’s presentation included a lot of focus on students, which is an area of focus for him as a motivational speaker and coach for many colleges and high schools, but seemed highly out of context and inappropriate for an audience whose school days were very much a distant memory.
On the flip side of my Rod Colon experience was Dave Lewinsky who led a session entitled 5 Things Every Business Owner Can do Right Now to Double Your Profits. What business owner wouldn’t be intrigued by that come-on? Dave is President and Co-Founder of a company called Growthink—a very successful business planning company. What was interesting is that we’d never have known that if someone in the audience hadn’t ask what his company did during the Q&A at the end of the session.
In any case, Dave’s session did seem tilted toward product producers more so than service providers, but several of his points had merit regardless of the type of business. I especially liked his tips for improving conversion rates by providing money back guarantees. He noted that 99% of people ask for refunds within the first 14 days, so increasing a 30-day money back guarantee to a one-year guarantee involves very little risk for business owners, but significant reward in terms of conversion rates in his experience.
Another point that Dave made, and I always stress to my clients, is what he called the “Break the Camels Back” secret to crushing the competition: referrals. To me, there’s no better salesperson for your business than a satisfied customer. Dave’s point was that your business would grow exponentially if each of your customers refers at least one customer.
So, that’s it. All in all, between the two days the NYXPO was a worthwhile investment of time and certainly a bargain investment as I was able to get in for free each day. If you attended the NYXPO, I’d be interested to hear your experience.