It’s that time of year again when the air turns cool and thoughts turn to evening revelry, costumes, and child-like joy … Vegas baby! Vegas! But before we fall too in love with the lights, “games of chance,” and shows, it is best to keep in mind the sage advice given to Clark Griswold by his Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation, “It's people like you who come here and blow the family nest egg that built this town.” And before we all go out to blow our family nest eggs, we have to first remember why it is that we in the workers’ compensation industry flock to Vegas each November like the Sparrows to Capistrano --to attend the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo.
It is a great annual Conference with session-after-session of valuable material, opportunities to see old friends and meet new friends, and opportunities to meet with and learn about hundreds of comp and disability specific vendors. The Convention Hall will again this year be filled to capacity with vendors and promises of paradise. And if you are not careful and do not ask all the right questions you may leave the Convention Hall feeling like you just visited the Vegas of Old that was based on slight-of-hand and showmanship. So how do you survive the “show?”
- All that Glitters is not Gold. A LOT of time, effort, and money goes into each vendor’s booth but just because the vendor has a big flashy booth does not mean that the end-product will be the same. Don’t let the rah-rah trump real results.
- Focus on Your Top Three Pain Points. What are your organization’s top three pain points or future hurdles? If you don’t know them ask around before you leave for Vegas and then focus on the vendors that address these needs. You don’t have any points or future hurdles? Really? The very best organizations are always looking at or for these issue areas to make themselves better, stronger, and more efficient. So, what are yours?
- Set A Game Plan - Without a game plan before entering the Convention Hall you can be quickly taken down an unplanned path as you begin collecting all the tchotchkes. The tchotchkes are great but greater are the potential solutions to your pain points and future hurdles.
- Keep An Open Mind. Someone you spoke to a few years ago or a newcomer you have never seen may in fact be the one to have the scratch for your itch. As long as you know what you must solve the solution may just be sitting in a place you were never thinking.
- Demand Proof the Solution Really Works & Exactly Where & With Whom It Has Worked. I have been on all sides of the buying and selling game and know just how incredible and convincing it can all look in a scripted presentation. Unfortunately, and it pains me to say such, I have been burned by the bling when the product retailing and reality did not match. Ask for the names of at least 3-5 similar organizations to yours where the solution has actually been successfully implemented and then go directly to those customers for unbiased feedback and “working proof.”
- Smile & Remember You're on Candid Camera (especially at karaoke time). This is not really a Convention Hall Survival Tip but rather a reminder that with the advent of the smartphone with a HD camera & video recorder we are always on stage and what happens in Vegas can no longer be counted on to stay in Vegas...
Safe travels to you and happy hunting in Vegas for whatever the quarry may be!!!