2 ½ Highlights from the Signal Conference

By:  Jake French

“They say I’m lazy, but it takes all my time.” In a hit song, Joe Walsh described the downward direction my marketing has taken, and I’m worried you might get lured into this seductively easy trap too. Our world only notices what is different, and after attending the Signal Conference put on by the National Speakers Association of Oregon, I will be twice as effective at using communication to advance my message and promote my brand.

One of the notes I wrote to myself during Justin Foster’s keynote titled “Human Bacon” reads exactly like this, “STOP WUSSING OUT by flatly saying I’m a motivational speaker or hiding behind email as an inquiry tool.” I’m a quadriplegic who has to manage my energy down to the degree of it I put into each conversation, but even energy is no excuse for us to give an introduction that sounds like a business card. If we get bored talking about what we do, then why would anyone else become interested?

QUESTION: do you get more excited about reading a product’s manual OR by having an interactive conversation about it?

When we cheat our potential customers by giving a bland explanation of what we do, simply sending a flyer, or passively handing over a business card, then we should also include a pillow for them to fall asleep on! After the Signal Conference I am going to increase the prequalifying time in my sales conversation, instead leveraging energy and passion towards the changes I ignite in people to get others engaged. Don’t be disproportionately energetic for the situation, just honestly have a fun time with the conversation. People will be more intrigued initially by mutual enthusiasm than by your new video or promo information that you send to their crowded inbox later.

One of the most valuable experiences from the conference was a panel that was comprised of “unobtanium” for the average person like me. We got to raise our hands and ask questions to people with the word “Chief” or “Your Majesty” after their name from companies like Nike, Fred Meyer, and Dick Hannah Auto Dealerships. I wanted to know how these professionals, who get hit up by volumes of people offering something just as special as we are, actually prefer to be approached.

Score Points By:

  • Doing your research. Don’t tell IBM all about your art program for students, when they actively support science and math
  • Finding out how you align with THEIR objectives
  • Asking for a 10-minute meeting – but be aware that some people may prefer a virtual meeting

Lose Points By:

  • Barking up the wrong tree
  • Putting the initial contact on the spot to answer yes or no

NSA Oregon provided high value content, multiple learning options, and facilitated many new relationships at their very first conference. Your 2 ½ Action Items are:  1. Use energy and engaging conversation to become memorable.  2. Do your research on how you align with your prospect, not just how wonderful your product is.  ½. If you get a meeting, brainstorm with your contact to create a potential proposal. Don’t put them on the spot to commit because they may not know you well enough, or even be the right person to talk with. The last tip changed how I am approaching the biggest potential partner of my life, and it came well after the event, from a person I talked to at the