By: Annette Ortega
The United Servicers Association (USA) premier event, ASTI (Annual Service Training Institute), is right around the corner. The 2018 convention is being hosted in St. Pete Beach, Florida, at the Trade Winds Grand Island Resort from January 22nd to January 25th, (pre-event training is on the 21st). This venue is amazing, and who doesn’t want to have some fun in sunny Florida to warm up spirits during the long winter?
The ASTI is a great place to come together with peers, providers, and manufacturers to learn the latest and greatest business techniques, experience new service and product offerings, and receive the most up-to-date training available directly from the source. It’s also the perfect environment to build your professional relationships. We’re always excited to see people from around the country breathe new life into their companies when they take ideas they discovered home with them.
Since there’s so much valuable information to absorb during the ASTI for both new attendees and convention veterans, here are five pointers to help you get the most out of your time there:
First, know what you want to do. Check the event agenda and find the two or three most important things you want to accomplish. Write a list of questions you want to ask of others in the industry, and if possible to whom you want to pose those questions. Make sure you don’t overbook yourself by trying to attend seminars with timing conflicts.
Second, come ready to learn. Open minds are the most receptive to potentially problem-solving ideas. Be prepared to take notes in the classes you’ve traveled so far to be a part of. Keep the first few pages of your notebook open to add action items for later as well as recording the topics that deserve your attention and follow-up. The knowledge you obtain will likely strengthen your self-confidence, spark ideas on how to improve your operations, and give you the motivation to make things happen!
Third, take the opportunity to build your networks. This is more than just handing out your business card to anyone who’ll take it (but definitely take plenty of business cards to hand out). You never know who’ll be at the ASTI, and most are friendly people willing to share stories and expertise. Everywhere you turn there’s knowledge to be found. Sitting with new people in class, during meals, or while attending events can quickly turn into learning experiences. By discussing similar triumphs and challenges, you can create lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.
Fourth, visit the vendor booths. The companies represented there are often good contacts. They’re knowledgeable folks who can demonstrate a product you’ve wanted to see in person or have a solution for a specific problem. Compare products from several booths and evaluate how each can best help you achieve the efficiencies and bottom line results you’re looking for. Seize the opportunity to learn about the next generation of appliances you’ll be tasked with servicing. Also, there are always plenty of special giveaways and drawings for outrageous prizes – but you can only win if you enter!
Fifth, set aside time to review, digest, and brainstorm the information absorbed during the convention. While many attendees leave the convention super motivated and ready to make important changes, sometimes they don’t have a clear understanding of what it takes to actually implement what they’ve learned. Be sure to think about how to make the best use of the information and keep it in front of you after you leave; that way you’ll be able to apply those key improvements to your business moving forward. Prioritizing your ideas and setting up action plans complete with timelines are so important to getting the most out of your newly found inspiration.
By knowing your objectives for attending the ASTI and planning to put them to work for you, you’ll set yourself up for real success and enhance your ASTI experience. After all, our reasons for attending is to create strategies for running a more efficient and profitable business!
Annette GS Ortega
Owner, Ortega’s Appliance Service