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Our Must Read Tips to Make the Most of Xerocon 2017
Posted on 10th August 2017 in Advisory
Written by Amy Harris
For us, this next month or so is like the run up to Christmas. Across the globe, both FUTRLI teams (UK and AU) are gearing up for one of the biggest events of the year: Xerocon. Our Aussie team are up first, attending the Melbourne event on 13th – 14th September, and they can’t wait to sport their FUTRLI t-shirts and meet all their fellow exhibitors. In the UK, we’ll be rushing up to London’s ExCel Centre from the 4th – 5th October, and we can’t wait. So instead of writing Christmas lists, here’s the accounting equivalent: our top tips to make the most out of Xerocon.
Firms looking to grow should find communities and ecosystems which they can integrate with. Joining a successful network gives you the chance of increased income, and great feedback and advice, which could be really beneficial in the future. That’s why events like Xerocon exist – to bring people together to form strong and mutually valuable connections. To help streamline your day, have a read at our top tips to make sure you see a return in your investment.
Keep an eye out for Team FUTRLI at Xerocon Melbourne from 13th – 14th September at the MCEC, and Xerocon London from 4th – 5th October at the ExCel
Arrive fully charged
You’re probably going to be pretty excited the night before Xerocon, but you must get some proper rest. You’ll be up early, and might need to travel, and will be on your feet for the majority of the day. You want to be fresh faced to meet your industry peers, so don’t stay up too late!
If you’ve been to an exhibition like Xerocon you’ll remember the frustration of your phone losing power. Bring a spare charger, especially if you’re using your device to make notes, photos and videos. Writing notes is going to help you remember the event and any key people you meet, and keeping track of who you’ve spoken to will allow you to follow up with them after the event.
If you’re so inclined, post on your firm’s social media while you’re at the event to show your followers you’re attending. This will spark conversations, and you could meet up with industry leaders who might give you a retweet or share. This will raise your online profile, show you know where the right place to be seen is, and allow you to connect with the people who will make a difference to your firm. Don’t forget the hashtag #xerocon – it’s search for social, so it will help you find like-minded people to make connections with.
Plan, plan, plan!
Looking through the exhibitors’ list will give you a great indication of who you should beeline. Download the Xerocon app during the conference for information on the schedule, speakers, exhibitors and more. You can even collect keynote slides and documentation on exhibitors.
The best add on software providers will be displaying their platforms, and their stands will get busy soon after the doors open. If you plan out your day so you catch the relevant talks and speeches, you can make an effective plan to visit each stand you’d like to speak with. Arriving as the doors open will allow you to grab a few precious minutes with those exhibitors, in a quieter setting.
Enjoy the freebies!
The Xerocon organisers always have a lovely surprise up their sleeves for attendees – usually in the form of free coffee from their local customers! Take advantage of this, as it’ll help you keep your focus. There will be plenty to keep you hydrated, saving you time to hunt down the right people to help your firm push forwards.
Embrace the partner economy
Pounce on Xero’s Account Managers, who will be easy to spot throughout the event. They know exactly who is who, and which firms would benefit one another. Strike up a conversation – they’re a friendly bunch – and see if they have any priceless advice you could use. Perhaps one company would be a better fit for your needs, so go and say hello and request a product demo.
Xerocon may well be the best place to see software demos, as you’re in person, so it makes it easier to have a play with the kit and ask questions. Because you’ve spoken to them directly, you can gauge what kind of company they are – a friendly phone manner is one thing, but seeing their impassioned faces while demoing is quite another.
Pinpoint your targets
It’s a good plan to sit down with your partners, or even your team, and see who they think would be worth you talking to at the event. Jotting down a short list of companies to talk to, and doing so in succession is the nearest you’ll come to a full comparison. If you do get sold on a piece of tech, ask their reps what other add ons work well with theirs. For example, we know many of the firms we work with combine Xero, FUTRLI and Receipt Bank. See what works best for your practice, and take advantage of any trials or special deals made specifically for Xerocon.
Learn and up-skill
This is your chance to learn from the very best in cloud accounting, so grab it with both hands! Using your (fully charged!) device, make notes of what tips and advice you hear during the day. When you break for lunch, or are on your way home, review these points and see which are the most exciting and easily actionable. If you can implement new procedures which will help your firm grow from the off, you’re likely to have an edge on the other attendees, some of whom might well be your most direct competition!
Learn the Xero ecosystem. Even if some companies don’t seem like they’d be a great fit for you, be friendly and say hello – even swap business cards or connect on LinkedIn. You never know when they might have something great lined up, or vice versa. You needn’t worry about becoming a software expert, but having your finger on the pulse of the industry will position you as someone in the know, and on top of your game. It’s like joining a community – connecting with the right people you’ll be alerted to news, developments, releases, special offers and more.
Offering your expertise to exhibitors or attendees, even in passing will attract even the busiest CEO’s attention. Everyone values help and advice, so to position yourself as the expert, approach people. You may find your contact details are jotted down, but fear not, as your phone will likely ring just after the event.
Divide and conquer
Take your team along with you, so they can see for themselves what all the fuss is about. Bringing your staff ups your numbers, so make the most of having them there and get them in your firm’s branding to raise your profile. Allowing them to pair up and explore means you’ll cover much more ground, and meet far more people. This will be a great learning curve for your junior accountants too, so get them out there.
Team FUTRLI enjoying the fun at Xerocon London 2016
While this may not be advisable for the first night, make sure you do attend the after event gatherings. The Xerocon gala dinner, and following party, has been the place to be and this year Melbourne is putting on a Block Party! You’ll be surrounded by the most influential people in the industry, so there will be plenty of people to talk to, and loads to talk about too. Besides, you’ll be gorging on good food and great wine, so what could be better?
Meeting a load of new industry contacts is pointless if you don’t follow up with them. You’ll be long forgotten, as everyone is coming across hordes of attendees. After you and your team have returned to the office, divide up the contacts you’ve made and send out follow up emails, or simply give them a call. This is a really effective way to establish relationships with the contacts you’ve made.
You’re attending Xerocon for a return on investment, so make sure you and your team are focused on your goals. It’s a fun event, with plenty to do and see, but making sure you have your eye on the prize will put you and your firm in the best position to grow.
Attending Xerocon Melbourne 2017 can earn you credit for up to 10 CPD hours, and an additional 5 CPD hours are available if you attend Xero Uni Day, which is the day before, on 12th September. Can’t wait to see some friendly faces!