I can’t wait, TRAFFIC is next week and my meeting schedule is filling up, the buzz has begun! When I first started going to conferences I didn’t have any general plan or goals, I just went to the conference to meet people and share ideas. As my business grew and as I started doing more deals with other investors I also started to structure my time at conferences a lot more.
This brings me back to Junior High, I can still remember the day planner I got in 7th grade, it had a quote written on the back of it that has stuck with me:
“If I plan to learn I must learn to plan”
While this may seem simple, it’s actually hard to do in practice, especially at a conference where there are 8 million different ways you could be spending your time. The first thing I start with is an overall goal, what is the single most important thing I can accomplish at a conference. Start with this and work backwards as if you have already achieve your goal, what is the most optimized way to achieve it. Here’s a example. Suppose you have some domains that are getting good offers but are yet to hit a price you think is reasonable. Then you may want to setup a meeting with a broker or two, get their opinions, and see if they might have a potential buyer or if they can help you negotiate with one that you currently have.
If your goal is to develop one of your domains find people and companies that specialize in development and make sure to have a one-on-one meeting with them. Be organized, have a plan, and show the people you are meeting with that you have come prepared. I can’t tell you the number of conferences I’ve been to where someone pulls me aside and says, “I have all these domains and I really need to start making money with them, where should I start?” I’m a nice guy and I always help out but at the same time I recognize that I could give them a lot better advice if they had a specific name in mind, a goal they want to reach, and some initial ideas they’ve already come up with.
Network, network, network. Yes there are great talks at conferences but there are also great conversations to be had and networking is a critical element to any conference. Once again, this all comes down to being prepared. It can be easy as Domainers to be all over the place. If you get five minutes with someone you really look up to in the space telling them that you are buying, selling, developing, and ten other things you are doing probably won’t maximize your time or theirs. Be focused and learn as much as you can from all of the other incredible people at the show.
This leads me to the last and probably most critical piece of advice I have for maximizing your time, ask questions. When you’re grabbing a beer with someone don’t just spend the whole time talking about yourself, ask questions about the other person, learn more about their business, be a sponge and learn from absolutely everyone you can. One of the things I’ve always really appreciated about Domaining is the transparency that many Domainers provide. Do you own a geo portfolio and want to know how to increase your sales? Find someone at the conference who has done this successfully, pull them aside for a minute or schedule a meeting in advance and learn from them. Don’t spend twenty minutes telling them how you’ve built up your portfolio and reviewing every problem you’ve had selling them. Take a step back and just listen.
I can’t wait for next week, Daina and I will be getting in on Thursday and staying until the following Wednesday. Less than one week and we’ll be hanging-out poolside talking domains, hope to see you there!