Insurance conventions are a fantastic way to learn more about your trade and meet people in the insurance industry. Insurance conventions are also enjoyable, and for a hardworking insurance professional, conventions offer a chance to loosen up and have some fun.
If you've never been to an insurance convention before, this is the perfect time to start. Conferences are costly, so it's best to make the most of your time when you go. By meeting with panelists, networking with other attendees, and by attending panels on unfamiliar topics, you can turn your conference visit into a valuable, worthwhile experience. Preparing for this experience can help.
Expand Your Horizons
You'll be given the chance to sign up for panels in advance of the conference. Each panel will have an assigned speaker and a topic with a summary provided on the agenda. It's tempting to sign up for the panels on known or familiar topics, but you'll learn more by attending panels on unfamiliar topics.
Go out on a limb and sign up for some panels that seem unrelated to your day-to-day work. Combine this with panels that are clearly of interest to you or that are relevant to your business. Doing this can maximize what you learn during each talk and helps ensure that when you leave the convention, you'll have a lot of valuable and interesting information to take back with you.
Meet and interact with the speakers whenever possible. You may see the speakers in line at meals or attending other events. Write down notes from each talk you attend. These notes will jog your memory and help you converse with speakers, so take your notes with you to each talk at the conference.
Prepare to Network
The opportunity to network is one of the reasons to attend insurance conventions. For some people, networking happens naturally, while for others, it takes effort and strategy. The following strategies can help you make the most of your time at the conference.
Go Alone or Spend Time Away from Travel Partners
If you bring someone with you to the conference, you'll spend most of your time with your travel partner and may find it difficult to branch out and meet new people. Plan to go by yourself, or if you do bring someone with you, plan to eat at least one meal per day apart from one another. Avoid the temptation to match up your schedules: go to talks on your own whenever sensible.
Come With Questions
Write down at least one or two industry-related questions you can ask attendees as conversation starters. Maybe you'll ask them about something you find challenging or ask about an area of business that you're planning to learn more about. This is your opportunity to get feedback from many industry professionals, so use it.
Don't Forget the Business Cards
You'll want business cards, so don't forget them at home when you're leaving for the conference. In fact, this would be a good time to re-evaluate the text on your business cards and amend them accordingly if any of the information has changed. Get this done on time to bring your new business cards with you.
Make a Goal for Each Meal
For each meal, have a goal. The goal might be something simple, like having a conversation with a stranger, or it might be more complicated, like talking to someone about a specific topic. Making a goal for each meal gives you something to do, reduces the chance that you'll spend the time eating by yourself, and helps you take advantage of these opportunities to network.
Prepare an Elevator Speech
If you're doing a good job of networking with people, you'll spend a lot of time telling people who you are, where you’re from, and what you do. Practice this introduction before going to the conference so you can introduce yourself as succinctly as possible. This is also a good time to say something meaningful about yourself.
How long have you been in the insurance industry? What's your favorite part about being an insurance agent? What challenges do you face every day? Give some information that can prompt conversation with interested parties.
Be Nice to Everyone
You never know who you're going to meet at these conferences! Be nice to everyone you encounter because anyone could become a long-standing contact.
Expand Your Horizons and Network With Voldico
Join an insurance cluster that offers an opportunity to expand your product offerings and networking opportunities. Voldico can help you grow your business. Contact us today to make an appointment.