I’m on my way home from a very successful RIMS. If I’m remembering correctly, this year was my 14th RIMS show. They haven’t all been good – the one in Honolulu was a lot of fun, but not worth it because of the low attendance. What good is a networking conference if no one is there?
This year, at least for me, will be remembered as one of the best. As I review the last few days, and why they were so good, here’s what I’ve concluded:
First, I prepared better for this RIMS than I’ve ever done in the past. Actually, my decision to attend RIMS was made in just the past few weeks. I wasn’t sure I could justify the cost, having just started ClaimCompass less than a year ago. I’m self-funding my business, so every dollar counts. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that I couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet with so many people in such a compact amount of time. The ROI for me was well worth it.
I spent a lot of time sending emails and making phone calls to people I know, and people I knew I wanted to meet. I went through the list of vendors, and selected about a dozen companies I wanted to meet. I set a goal to have 8 scheduled meetings, so I was pretty happy about things when I ended up with 12.
For me, preparation was a huge factor in the success of RIMS.
A Good Network
Another factor, and nearly equal in importance, is the network I have in the industry. I’m by no means the most-connected guy in the industry, but I’ve been around long enough to know a lot of people. Through my contacts at Riskonnect, for example, I now have a new, very promising prospect.
No matter what business we’re in, building strong, lasting relationships is critical. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people, and through them, to grow my network even further. RIMS is one of those irreplaceable opportunities to extend that network, and therefore, my business.
I don’t know what the final numbers were this year, but to me it seemed better than average. I heard reports everywhere from 5,000 to 12,000. I have no idea what the real numbers were, but they were pretty good, and I suspect they were on the higher side of those estimates.
The attendance, I’m sure, was better than average this year partly because of the location. I live in the west, so for me, locations like San Diego or Phoenix or Seattle work great – at least for travel and convenience. But I realize the eastern locations draw bigger numbers. I would happily travel to the east every year for that reason alone.
Next year’s show is in L.A. Not a bad choice for a western location, so I’m hopeful it will be as good as this year. Also, L.A. is my original home, so I always enjoy going back to SoCal.
RIMS is one of the must-do things for me. We live in such a small world these days, with all the amazing forms of communication, but nothing will ever replace face-to-face meetings, a good handshake, and sitting down with an old friend over a Diet Coke.
I’m going home today with several excellent prospects, a half dozen scheduled follow-up appointments, and about ten new contacts I never would have had.
For those of you who didn’t attend this year, make a point now to make it next year. In fact, let’s set an appointment now! No sense in putting off our preparation until the last minute!
See you in L.A.
About the writer Steve Schmutz and Claim Compass