6 MIN READ
For those of you who attended our Fifth Annual National Conference, #XYPNLIVE, in St. Louis, MO., you know how incredible the event was. It was packed to the rim with infectious energy, jazzed business owners, and a whole lot of passion. The opportunities to network were endless, and the thought of getting back into the grind probably weighed heavily for some of you. What you do at the conference is important, but not as important as what you do afterwards. Maximizing your conference ROI takes tenacity. Thankfully, you’re a business owner - so you likely have that!
Tapping Into Content Post-Conference:
When you’re at #XYPNLIVE, you can’t attend simultaneous sessions. With so many great sessions to choose from, it may have come down to a coin toss at times. Rest assured, XYPN offers a Virtual Pass as part of the ticket, so you have the opportunity to review every session after the conference ends.
I highly recommend that you treat these Virtual Pass sessions with as much attention as you did when you were in person, dedicating time to reviewing them, taking notes, and writing down questions. Many of our speakers are members, and I urge you to tag them in the Member Forums with your questions. The other speakers are often willing to field questions, and would enjoy hearing from you after the event.
Fight Off Isolation All Year Long
Frankly, being a firm owner can be isolating—whether you’re a solopreneur or the head of a large firm. Not only is it lonely on an island, it’s also lonely at the top. #XYPNLIVE is vital to get you out of that isolation and into a thriving community. With a little effort, you can benefit from connections made at #XYPNLIVE all year long.
How do you keep the connections growing? I recommend organizing your contacts into four groups.
- Advisors who are building practices similar to yours (similar fee structure, age, niche, size, etc.)
- Advisors who are building the firm you want to run one day
- COIs (referral sources, experts, attorneys, tax experts, etc.)
- Friends (expect overlap, duh!)
For the advisors on List #1 who are building practices that are similar to yours, your next step may be a brainstorming rumble, lunch, or a collaborative project, for starters. If these advisors are working with similar niches to you, consider sharing work you’ve done for clients in the niche. You may want to share a process you know the advisor was lacking, or a resource you found particularly valuable. Always remember to be helpful where you can, share what you know can help others, and be willing to be authentically interested in seeing them succeed.
For the advisors on List #2, start reviewing websites & ADVs. See how they describe their fee structure or service offering. It’s always a good idea to sign up for newsletters & blogs, and to follow these folks on social media. Keeping a pulse on some of your idols will motivate you to continue your journey and keep you apprised of any cool services or benefits they are offering their clients that you may want to add. You’ll enjoy seeing what they produce for their prospects and where they focus their marketing.
If you have general questions that may benefit others, post it in the XYPN Member Forums and tag the member so your post is delivered to their inbox. Giving others a shout out in the forums helps grow the brainstrust of the XYPN community, like so:
“I met @X Member at #XYPNLIVE and I must say, she has a killer service offering. I’ve considered offering something similar, and I’m wondering if there was a specific reason you chose to implement it the way you did, or if you have any specific tips on implementing the model?”
Next, your COI list (List #3) should quickly be added to your CRM with notes about their expertise. Go ahead and send a follow-up email letting them know you appreciate meeting them and you look forward to staying in touch and leveraging the relationship. With this group (and everyone, really), always try to be valuable to others; don’t just take.
Remember that all contacts can become referral sources for you in the future. Even an advisor with the same niche may hit a client max, price themselves out of working with some clients, or have a conflict of interest with a particular client. Don’t be shy in your follow-up emails to include a summary of your ideal client. Identify the chasm between you and them, and how a mutually beneficial relationship is possible through referrals.
Connect with those on List #4 via social media or over email and keep the friendship growing. Sharing your vulnerability about the process of starting and running a firm is something others are craving, and can quickly deepen a friendship. Keeping your new friends dialed into the things you’re working on will give you a good base to build on until the next conference.
- Accountability Groups:
If you’re not currently meeting with an accountability group, or if you have an interest in starting another group, now is your time to ask whether any of these contacts are also interested in participating in a group together. #XYPNLIVE is notorious for bringing new groups together, in addition to being a great opportunity for established accountability groups to get face to face.
Accountability groups are one of the most productive ways to keep up your momentum moving forward after #XYPNLIVE. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, the idea behind an accountability group, or what many call a “mastermind group”, is to work together to set and achieve goals with the help of group accountability. Upwards of 40% of XYPN members are participating in a study group of some sort, and mastermind groups have consistently been cited as a top member benefit. XYPN supports accountability groups by providing guidance on structure and by providing a virtual room to meet in.
Remember, when building an accountability group, working with folks similarly situated is your best bet. Folks who are working on similar niches often enjoy being in an accountability group with each other, regardless of their business phase. That’s because most meetings are spent creating deliverables and processes and answering tough questions that benefit the whole group.
- Local Meet-Ups:
Not everyone can attend #XYPNLIVE, and none of us can have it last all year. That’s why XYPN has invested heavily into our local meet-up program. We have lots of events happening around the country this month, with more to come. Meet-ups are intended to introduce you to your local peers, tap into the potential of others, and work through common issues. Our friends in Washington find their meet-ups to be the perfect place to discuss their regulatory challenges. Boston members enjoyed hanging out with XYPN’s Marketing Coach, Carolyn Dalle-Mole. Michigan members meet regularly and focus each meeting on a specific topic, while members in Fort Collins, CO rotate hosts. The opportunities are endless.
- XYPN BUILD:
Meet-ups allow you to continue to grow your network and community, but XYPN’s BUILD program is designed to keep you educated. We’re bringing folks together quarterly in different regions to deep dive into specific topics such as sales, marketing, business operations and planning, with the help of our expert coaches.
After the conference, spend some time deciding what you want to implement, whether it be new processes, new fee structures, new services, new tech, etc. I know you have a WHOLE lot of ideas after #XYPNLIVE—don’t let your initiative fizzle out. Data dump all of your ideas into a GoogleDoc and begin prioritizing them. Group them together. Assign estimated implementation time to each of them. Identify stakeholders who may need to be consulted, and then begin laying out your 30-, 60-, 90-day goals. What will you have done in the next thirty days? Remember, you don’t need to complete things entirely within this time period, but you can reach milestones.
Staying in touch with Exhibitors:
XYPN prides itself in packing the Exhibit Hall with relevant exhibitors. Some members use Exhibit Hall Day as an opportunity to sniff out the new players in the space, while others love catching up with their favorite vendor teams.
However you chose to approach Exhibit Hall Day, you’re likely sitting with a mental list of the tech you want to try and the vendors you want to learn more about. Best recommendation is data dump that as fast as you can. Make two lists:
- Vendors you want to explore for implementation in the next 3 months
- Vendors you want to keep a pulse on
We hope you find some exhibitors whose product you can’t live without. But before you find yourself signed up for a dozen new providers and no time to learn about them (let alone implement them!) begin to prioritize which vendors would make the most sense for you where you are RIGHT NOW. There’s no reason to try to implement a tech that you’ll use when you have 50 clients if you only have a few. Be specific about the needs you have, the pain points you’re experiencing, and be clear about how much time you have to implement new aspects to your firm as you sort your lists.
Be sure to do your homework. Next step would be to go into the XYPN Member Forums and ask what others think about the vendor and how they use the service in their practice. Do they love it? Do they have an impressive support team? Limitations? Once you have a list of vendors you want to adopt in the next 3 months, have at it.
Finally, on behalf of the entire XYPN team, I ask for your feedback and ideas to improve the conference each year. All conference participants receive feedback surveys via email following the conference. Your input is invaluable as we work to raise the bar each year.
Each and every submission is reviewed by the team members who plan everything #XYPNLIVE, from the location to the logistics, content to amenities. What did you love? What would make you love it more? Good, bad, or ugly, we want to hear your thoughts because, well, we want to see you in Denver in 2020!
About the Author
Maddy Roche is the Director of Member Services at XYPN, and has been making moves and getting sh!t done since she joined the team in May of 2014 when the Network was made up of our first 30 founding members. Since then, Maddy has worked with and welcomed each of the Network’s members, and helps all of them take advantage of XYPN membership. Maddy is responsible for member benefits and services, including management of vendor partnerships and member rollouts and initiatives. She manages the XYPN Member Experience Program.