03 Oct Tips for Military Influencer Conference Newbies
I recently attended the Military Influencer Conference in Orlando, FL. It was my first time going to this event, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Of course, I was incredibly excited to meet my manager in person (and for the first time!), but also nervous to meet some of my clients and other military entrepreneurs who I have only talked with online. Sometimes you wonder if someone will be the same in-person as they are through your laptop screen.
Luckily, networking at MIC was a lot simpler than I expected. It was gratifying to discover that my clients were as excited as I was to finally meet, and it was even better to talk about their business and military life in-person. As an individual that’s fairly new to the military life, I received some much-needed advice from my fellow military spouses. Overall, it was an amazing opportunity to meet like-minded people with a serious drive to accomplish their career goals.
Here are 3 takeaways I gained from attending MIC:
Don’t go into all conferences expecting to conduct business immediately. I realized right off the bat that this wasn’t that type of networking event. Instead I focused on meeting people and talking about the details of their business. Rather than immediately jumping into a sales pitch, I took my time building relationships with others. This was incredibly beneficial not only to my role as a marketing coach, but personally too. I gained a lot of valuable insight from military spouses who have been there/done that with deployments (something I haven’t experienced yet), and a lot of encouragement from small business owners who truly defined the meaning of ‘going the extra mile’.
At one of the events the founder of Sam Adams beer, said “Don’t risk what you have for what you don’t need”. I am so inspired by this advice from Jim Koch. As a military spouse following my Marine through various moves for flight school, it can be tough to keep my resume consistent. I’ve heard many phrases from employers like “Oh wow you have jumped jobs a lot”, when in reality I’m forced to due to my situation. Until I found my position as a marketing coach, this was my reality. But I wouldn’t change a thing leading up to this point in my life, or “risk what I have”. I have gained a wide range of skills, determination and confidence through each job I’ve held. Not only that, but I have a long list of managers and co-workers that I can look back to for advice or letters of reference. I have made it a point to work hard in all my previous positions and leave on good terms whenever we found out we had to PCS.
Taking the time to listen to military spouses and veterans talk about their business helped get me involved in some great conversations. We all know networking can be a little awkward sometimes, and by walking up to someone and just asking what they do and why, I was able to overcome the awkwardness of small talk to get to the good stuff. I found I loved hearing the details of how a business started and the bumps someone had to overcome to succeed. By starting conversations like these, they easily flowed into other conversations such as “How can I help you?” It was a lot more genuine than selling someone my services immediately.
The Military Influencer Conference helped to develop my conversational skills that I will continue to use when I pitch my services to a client. It’s not always easy to jump into a sales conversation, so don’t. Ease into it, start an authentic dialogue about someone’s business and what led them to get where they are at the present. It makes the overall sales process a lot more manageable, and honestly, less salesy.
As always, feel free to drop me a line at Morgan@Germono.com to chat about your experience at the Military Influencer Conference, or just to say ‘hi’. I also offer complimentary 30 minute consultations, where we can both learn more about each other and determine how I can tailor services to your specific business needs.