How to Get the Most Out of Summit 2022

Soak up the smarts from seminars … and fellow members

By Rich Lindblom, YSN

Since joining BrandSource some 17 years ago, first as a member and now as an AVB employee, I have been to over 20 Conventions and Summits.

When I first joined, I only attended the Fall Convention in Las Vegas because I had heard early on that it was the larger and more important of the two … and because I love Vegas. Eventually I started going to both shows, as I found each to be worthwhile.

But over the past few years, the opportunities for improving yourself and your company have just kept getting better and better. Whether it’s product trainings, HR advice, store improvements or self-improvement, there are a wide variety of seminars for you to attend.

Let’s talk first about product training. At every show the manufacturers spend a lot of time, effort and resources to bring you product training.  I know plenty of dealers who just blow that off (especially in Las Vegas) because they think it is boring or because they believe they already know it all.  But that wasn’t me; I always tried to attend the training sessions if I could, and without fail I always walked away from those sessions knowing things I didn’t know before I walked in the door. Sometimes it was special product features and other times it was just knowing how the product actually works.  But no matter what product the training was on, I always went back to my store more knowledgeable than when I left.

The second and possibly more important improvement opportunity at the shows is the educational sessions that AVB brings to you. I loved the sessions and always tried to take in as many as my schedule would allow.  In fact, I would review the entire agenda the week before and create a full schedule so I could catch every session of interest. 

These sessions are hosted by professionals who have been hand-picked by BrandSource to share their expertise with the members.  Sure, sometimes there was a dud in mix, but if I attended five or six seminars, you could bet that by the time I was through with the last one, plenty of new ideas were swimming around in my brain.  Sometimes it would be a small thing that needed to be thought through a little deeper, and other times it was something that I couldn’t wait to implement as soon as I got back to my store.

As you can tell, I steadfastly believe that the educational aspect of the Summit is very important. But even more important than that in my opinion is networking. With so many members at each show, there are countless success stories waiting to be shared.  No two members do things exactly alike, which means there are an endless number of ways to be successful in your business. 

Just remember, no one is going to walk up to you and begin offering advice. You need to ask for it.  It’s not enough to just hang around smiling at other members; you need to talk to them as well. And I have never met a BrandSource member who wasn’t willing to help another member if asked

As you can probably tell from my YSN articles, I find great pleasure in trying to help other members and I know that I am not alone in that sentiment.  I implore you too get out there and press the flesh, identify people that you know are successful and introduce yourself. Hang around with them and chat.  You’d be amazed at how much you can learn just by asking questions and listening to the answers.

And for those of you who haven’t been to a Summit in a while, believe me when I tell you it’s not the show of the past.  So, if you feel like you didn’t learn anything ten years ago and never returned, I urge you to try it again.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the changes that have taken place in the recent past. 

Keep in mind, taking in all that Summit has to offer is nice, but it doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t follow through.  My personal goal for every single show is to walk away with at least one meaningful idea that I can implement at my store right now to make it more efficient or more profitable or maybe just a better place to work. 

I look forward to seeing you all there.

P.S. If you haven’t done so already, it’s still not too late to register at AVBevents.com/summit.

It’s always gratifying when someone reaches out to me after reading one of my articles because it struck a particular chord with them. So, if you have a question or comment (good or bad) about something I wrote about, please contact me at egvrich@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.