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Fairs and Events

How to maximise your buying events and training days

Buying events can be overwhelming, with delegates doing their best to get the most value out of the day. DAVID BROWN shares some tactics to ensure you don’t walk away with information overload.

Our access to learn new concepts and become exposed to better business opportunities is one area that has undergone significant progress over the last few decades in business.

The increasing affordability of transport, along with the internet, has helped put knowledge and expertise at our fingertips faster and easier than ever before; be it buying groups or training webinars, there is a feast of opportunities to learn for every store owner – but just turning up is only the start. How you process the information and then use it is the difference between success and just another good idea that never gets implemented.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of each day you attend:

Have an objective

Whether it’s a buying trip or seminar, it’s important that you don’t approach it in a passive fashion. Instead, set some objectives and outcomes you can expect.

  • What is the primary objective you intend to get out of it?

  • What pressing issues do you most need solved at the moment?

  • What is your biggest barrier to success at present and how will attending the event help you to overcome it?

  • Who is attending that you can meet or learn from?

  • What’s one idea you can share with others?

  • Will there be networking opportunities? If so, what type of business owner are you hoping to meet?

The powers of suggestion can be pretty strong. It’s amazing how often you set these objectives in place and find that opportunity leads you in the right direction. I know a friend several years ago who, while attending a conference, wanted to meet someone who could distribute a product in a highly specialised niche.

Despite the odds being against finding someone in that area, they found a distributor on the first morning of the event and their business relationship continued over a number of years.

Keep good notes
"There are more than enough opportunities to get the information you need to grow your business. What you do with that information is what matters the most."

This may seem simple, but it often surprises me how many people are passive listeners when it comes to receiving training but then struggle to recall the details later. I have a good friend who has faithfully taken notes from every webinar and seminar they have ever attended over the last 10 years.

The details are kept in a hardcover journal, numbered and replaced with the next book in the sequence. He then attaches tabs to each book with a brief note as to what they contain. He also keeps a calendar of the dates he attended the events.

He is now up to his 35th book and can look up and cross-reference any information he needs to recall in a matter of minutes. He uses this information regularly and attributes it as a key factor in his business success.

Use good tools

For those of you who prefer a more modern approach to retaining information, technology can be your friend. A recent tool I was told about is Scanner Pro, which allows you to take photos of PowerPoint slides, screens or stock items and then crop the surrounding area to leave just the key information.

Other useful tools like Notability can allow you to then upload the image you’ve taken and make notes on the image for your own reference. There are hundreds of other online tools that can enhance your experience, including recording devices that allow you to take audio from the information you are learning.

It’s always important to get permission when accessing other people’s material in this way but many will be happy to allow it, depending on the circumstances.

Follow up vital

Learning is great, and taking good notes will be a valuable reference point, but what happens afterwards? Every buying trip or seminar attended should have some time allocated afterwards for implementation.

This is when you go through your notes and determine what you will action and by when. It’s important that this follow up planning is done sooner rather than later while the information and impetus is still fresh.

There are more than enough opportunities to get the information you need to grow your business. What you do with that information is what matters the most. A plan that involves setting objectives, gathering information in a logical sequence and planning how to use that information is critical to your future success.

Before committing to a buying day or training seminar, promise to follow these rules and you’ll gain more than you ever would have expected.

David Brown

Contributor • Retail Edge Consultants

David Brown is co-founder and business mentor with Retail Edge Consultants. Learn more:

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