I attended my first internet marketing seminar a year ago in San Antonio, TX.
It was marketer Pat O’Bryan’s Unseminar5. It seemed like a good place to start.
I had read Pat’s Your Portable Empire, and had begun following him online through his website and blog. He seemed like a friendly and unassuming sort of guy, and he claimed to have gone from being a broke blues guitar player to financially secure in a very short period of time. Intriguing. Right? I thought so.
As posted in my last blog, I soon discovered I knew nothing about internet marketing, so I listened intently to the speakers, took plenty of notes, and began to get to know people sitting around me.
That’s where the true meaning of the seminar began to emerge for me. . . . with the people I met.
One by one, I met the person to my left, my right, the one behind me, and on and on. Went to lunch, dinner, and so forth with my new aquaintances and began learning about their projects. I started to think I could eventually have a project too and that these folks would be invaluable resources while I was trying to learn it all!
Just call me naive, but if I make the effort to learn your name, have a conversation with you, exchange business cards or e-mail addresses, and possibly put your number in my phone, then we are now FRIENDS!
Now, I don’t mean call-you-on-the-phone, come-on-over-to-dinner type of friend, (although some actually turned into that) but I do mean more than a casual acquaintance. We have established a connection. And, that’s the key to seminars. . . . the connections, the networking!
Here’s a true story from my first seminar: After the close of the first day, I went to dinner with a few of my new-found friends. After dinner, I went to my hotel room and turned on my computer to go over the notes from that day’s information. I had just signed up for a twitter account and was adding names of that day’s speakers to my “following” list. While watching them “talk” to each other on the twitter stream, I was amazed. They were NOT in their hotel rooms. They were on a balcony somewhere, smoking cigars, hanging out and enjoying each other’s company!
OK, so now I knew. The speakers hung out together each night.
My goal: to be in that group the next night!
Why? It’s pretty obvious to me, but if you need it spelled out, here it is: If you want to achieve what someone else has already achieved, go hang out with them. Listen to them. Pay attention. Your goal is what? To become “one of them.” Right? OK, that wasn’t going to happen sitting alone in my hotel room!
This is not a new concept. Think about it. Anything you have learned in life, you had a teacher. The only way you could really, really learn was to be around the teacher. Listening, emulating, BECOMING whatever it was you were trying to be.
No different here.
The next true story: The second night, Pat and Joe Vitale (of The Secret fame) played guitars and harmonicas for us. It was splendid fun! When they finished playing, many of the attendees thanked them and promptly headed out the door. I guess to their comfy hotel rooms.
What did I do? I hung around til instruments had been tucked away and watched to see where they were headed. The seminar speakers, that is. (I had two new BFF’s who thought this wasn’t such a great idea but stuck with me anyway!) Guess what? The seminar speakers and a few (very few) attendees headed out the BACK door of the room and that’s where the party started!
Not a crazy, drunken college-like party but a let’s-sit-down-and-relax-and-talk party! (to be fair, there were a few drinks to be had and more than a couple of cigar smokers in the bunch!)
Is the smoke-filled room a myth? Well, in this case it was a smoke-filled balcony overlooking beautiful San Antonio. I can tell you this, it was the equivalent to the back-of-the-room smoked filled room of a different era because this was where the shakers and movers were. JV partnerships, marketing techniques, product creations were all being discussed. People were getting to KNOW each other on a more intimate level. Business was alive and well.
And I was going to be a part of it!
I can’t end without telling you the absolute most fabulous meeting I had while on that balcony. Dr. Joe Vitale was there and I made my way over to where he was standing. After gently working my way into that circle, I let him know that I had implemented many of his marketing techniques in my real estate business. From there, we continued to have a wonderful conversation that, seriously, could NEVER have taken place had I not seized the opportunity to follow the leaders that night.
Did I become a personal friend of Joe Vitale that summer evening? No. Did I get the opportunity to have one-on-one time with him, learn from the best, and take home incredible tips and insights about marketing? You bet!
What about my new BFFs (stands for best friends forever for you non-texting people) that went out there with me? They are still thanking me today! And also, they have become two of my favorite people that I can readily call on to help me with my projects.
I think you’ll have to agree: It’s all about the networking!
p.s. In the first year, I attended three seminars. I’m heading to www.Unseminar7.com in October. Join me?