The scary tale of the conference notebook graveyard

There is a scary tale passed along within the industry of the conference notebook graveyard … where the best ideas go to (don, don, DAH!) DIE!

Each year, advisors travel hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles, spend time out of the office, sometimes take their staff and even spend their own revenue on attending conferences and meetings within the industry.

At these conferences, advisors take lots of notes. Beautiful, often well-organized, on paper or digitally—pages and pages of golden business ideas and market insight. Gems of information that, if implemented, could help take their practices to another level and be very beneficial for their clients.

Then, upon leaving the (somewhat) insulated walls of the conference venue, clients start calling, staff need answers and the everyday normalcy of business life returns. Advisors head back to their offices, their brilliant ideas fading the further they get away from the conference.

Upon returning to work, those notebooks filled with great ideas get set aside on the corner of the desk, and then eventually moved into a drawer or placed on a shelf, on top of conference notebooks of years past. And the digital notes (if they are lucky) get squirreled away in the “Conference” file folder, where few ever reference back. The conference notebook graveyard, where the best ideas go to die, continues to grow.

If only this wasn’t the case. After all, financial advisors spend a lot of their time every year in conference-related activities that are non-client facing. Think of the tremendous value that could be brought to both clients and the business if these ideas were acted upon.

Here’s the 1,2,3 of keeping those best ideas alive after the conference ends:

  1. Pick ONE idea and share it with someone in your team or office to hold you accountable. It could be a business idea, it could be a vision for a new product—whatever it is, it will die unless you either delegate it or share it so someone else holds you accountable. If you consistently implement one idea, your team and business could grow.
  2. Connect with TWO people as a result of attending the conference. It might be clients, it could be other professionals or maybe even Centers of Influence (COIs). It could just be connecting with two others from the conference on LinkedIn. Every conference creates moments where your mind thinks, I should connect with that person, for whatever reason. Connect with two of those people post-conference.
  3. Select THREE ideas to share with your clients consistently throughout the next quarter during your reviews / client communication. Write them on a sticky note, keep them next to your computer and make sure to address the three things you learned during your conversations. Be sure to reference how you attended the conference, what you learned and how you’re using this newfound knowledge to benefit the client. There are industry conferences we’ve all attended that, just by our being there (instead of the client)—tax law update anyone?—bring value. Use these occasions as a way to remind clients of your professional development dedication and how it benefits them.

The bottom line

Attending conferences takes time, energy and revenue. Your conference notebook graveyard doesn’t need any more residents. Put a process in place to help ensure your business and clients are benefitting from the conferences you’re attending.

These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and are current as of the date at the top of the page. The information, analysis, and opinions expressed herein are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or entity.

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