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How to Close $80,000 in Deals at your Next Meeting

How to Close $80,000 in Deals at your Next Meeting

August 05, 2008

Some people just don't get it.

I know you'll understand what I'm talking about - and I know you never do this (wink, wink) - so I can talk openly with you about what's been bothering me lately.

First, let me the set the stage.

Let's say a fine business owner - we'll call Stan - is getting set to go to a conference. He's been debating for weeks whether to attend. He tells himself: "I need to attend this event to network, try to meet some partners to do business with and find out what other people are doing that's working."

But, Stan also mumbles to himself, "Is it really worth spending $2,000 in airfare, a hotel room and conference registration and spending 3 days out of the office?" Finally, Stan decides to shell out the bucks to attend. Once he's at the conference all those plans of trying to find partners for joint ventures NEVER come about because he's spending more time on his Blackberry responding to emails and voicemails than he is networking!

And when he does finally do some networking, Stan fumbles for the right words to say. By the time he gets back to the office, he has a few more business cards (some of which he can't even remember the conversation in which he received the card) and a few ideas for partnerships but nothing is a done deal.

Sound familiar?

Don't be a Stan! In fact, what if I were to tell you that I just came back from a conference where people are nailing down $30,000, $80,000 and as much as $300,000 in deals with other attendees! Isn't that why we go to conferences? To network? And forge new business opportunities?

Feed your hungry fish!

Of course! The main reason we go to conferences is to improve our business, but most people I see at conferences just sit there waiting to be fed - with information - and with the chicken special at lunch.

If you're going to a conference where your prospects will be, host a reception the night before the conference starts. I did this last week and it was fantastic. I invited all the attendees to a room where I served appetizers and made a brief presentation. (Of course, check with the conference organizers before you do this so you don't conflict with an event they already have planned. Most are glad to work with you to create another benefit for their attendees and may even help you promote it and reserve a room.)

It was a great opportunity for me to get to know many of the people before the conference even started and it served as a golden networking opportunity for those in attendance. It beats sitting in a restaurant or at the bar by yourself!

4 tips to make tens of thousands of dollars at your next conference meeting

Here are more tips to help you get the most out of the networking opportunities at your next conference. Ask yourself the following questions before you arrive at the conference:

1. "What curiosity can I build?" When you're talking to other people at the conference, you want to stand out in their mind so they're interested in learning more about you and your product. You want them to say, "That's interesting. Tell me more." For example, "Our widget is the only one of its kind to receive a 5-star rating, which is the best you can get, 4 straight years and we sold out on QVC in just 27 minutes."

2. "What's my POOBA?" Long-time readers will recognize this term as the Promise Of an Overt Benefit Always. In other words, what's your big, bold benefit that you can talk about in terms of your product? How are your customers' lives made easier or better because of your product? For example, at the Center for Unstucking one of our promises is that clients will make so much more money as a result of our coaching that we guarantee a 10:1 return on their investment. If they don't get a 10:1 ROI, the client pays nothing and we'll reimburse them for their travel expenses. Now that's a POOBA!

3. What's your Big Zig? Most businesses zag their way through the market, so you want to stand out from the competition with a zig. It's that one thing that separates you from the rest. And the bigger the zig, the better. For instance, while other CEOs in the airline industry are worrying about rising fuel prices and just keeping their planes in the air, Virgin Atlantic's CEO Richard Branson is working on a deal to create Virgin Galactic and be the first to offer space travel for civilian passengers. Although your Big Zig may be more down to earth (pardon the pun), my point is that it should be dramatically different from your competitors.

4. Why should someone believe you? You have to give people a reason to trust you so your pitch doesn't come across as just a bunch of hype. Example: "We have a 98.6% customer satisfaction rating in which our customers have told us that they would recommend us to a friend as rated by an independent, third-party rating service."

While talking with the person, ask yourself, "Who am I talking to? Is the person I'm talking with a known expert in the industry? A follower? A decision-maker? Then, take the time to understand the person's needs to see how your product can help him or her.

Finally, don't walk away from the conversation without determining the next step. Figure out right then and there what you will do next with that person. I use a 4-point coding system in which I can indicate on the person's business card my next step. The coding looks like this:

1 = Yes, I will do a joint venture with this person.
2 = Yes, I will have a follow up meeting.
3 = Yes, I will send the person more information and follow-up afterwards.
4 = Not applicable at this time.

So when I get back to the office, I know the next steps I'll take with every person I talked with at the conference.

This is the same approach I suggested attendees use last week at the Super JV Summit that was hosted by Business GPS Gold Member Roger Salam of The Winners Circle, Inc. One attendee after another walked out of there with deals they closed worth tens of thousands of dollars!

Try those tips at your next conference and let me know how it goes. It won't make the chicken special taste any better, but I guarantee you'll get more business out of your next conference than you ever did before.

Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon