You’re at a seminar. Great information is being offered. Information that will help you succeed. Your mind is open.
You’re taking notes. Recording what is being said. Even taking snapshots of slides. You take in the talk and get your own ideas.
Great ideas that you know you can use and you know will benefit you and others – ideas you can turn into money. You are pumped!
You make a mental commitment the moment you write each note: “change cold calls to referrals” – “be more creative and daring when leaving a voicemail” – “sell value, not price” – “get more video testimonials.” But then you don’t fulfill them when you get home. Why?
They seemed like great ideas at the time. You had “ahas!” and epiphanies at the event. And you wrote notes that were golden.
But something happened between the seminar room and your first moments back at work. ANSWER: You dropped the ball. The mental ball. The focus ball. The commitment-to-yourself ball. And maybe even the success ball.
Whether you were at a trade show, an annual meeting, an association meeting or a business event, what you decided to do IMMEDIATELY AFTER the event determined your fate.
If you chose wine, beer, liquor, socialization, partying, TV or some other form of time-wasting (self-destructive) activity, you lost the opportunity to formalize your information, expand your thoughts and cement your self-commitment.
POINT OF UNDERSTANDING: At any information event, you cannot take notes fast enough to capture all the pertinent information. You write as fast as you can, but still (without recording) miss some thoughts about ideas and things that were important to you at that moment.
FIRST ANSWER: The minute the seminar is over, find a quiet space for 15-30 minutes. Open your laptop and take out your notes. (Maybe next time you’ll take notes on your laptop.)
Look at every note you took, and spend a moment with each one to expand the thought. How will you apply that thought to your sales, your business and your life? In other words, take the note and make it yours. Then determine when the action will be implemented.
(NOTE TO MEETING PLANNERS: Meeting planners try to cram session after session into a two- or three-day meeting without providing a chance for attendees to catch their breath, let alone have think time. Big mistake. Every traditional meeting and breakout should have a “quiet” session afterward. Refer to them as “think and apply” sessions. Even if they’re just for 20 minutes.)
SECOND ANSWER: Expand your thoughts while they’re fresh in your mind. Do it again in your hotel room and on the airplane going home. Think (don’t drink). Take your notes further, expand your thoughts. Think more about the application of each idea and how you intend to put it into action.
THIRD ANSWER: The minute you get home, record your notes. When you are recording, even more ideas and applications will surface. Burn them onto a CD and import them into your iPod or MP3 player. Record your notes and ideas so you can listen to them until they become dedicated tasks.
FOURTH ANSWER: Listening to your recording once a day, you will begin to commit to them, and take achievement actions. Put at least one new thing into your work or your life every day.*
*If you have been in sales for less than three years, this process will reinforce your belief system, and inspire you to greater achievement (the very thing you were hoping for when you entered the seminar room). And if you’re a seasoned salesperson, this is a huge opportunity to reinvigorate your desire to achieve at a higher level, and re-dedicate yourself to personal excellence. It’s your re-commitment to your own success.
REALITY: Corporations and associations spend hundreds of thousands (even millions) to impart new and important information, and yet when the participants get home, very little changes.
REASON: Participants are not allotted the time necessary to transfer the notes, thoughts and ideas into personal actions that they are committed to take.
FIFTH ANSWER: Allocate time. During (and after) the meeting, let each participant make his or her own personal plan of action. This will ensure a full return on your time investment, their time investment, your dollar investment and your human capital investment.
I have one more idea, but no more space. Go to www.gitomer.com and enter the words AFTER THE MEETING in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.