Strategies for a Winning Proposal to Attend HTF®

During these tough economic times, companies with a solid grasp of technology trends will have the ability to change to meet their challenges and gain a competitive advantage. HTF is the only place where you can make new contacts within the hardlines industry who can help you find ways to economize without sacrificing quality. It is an opportunity to learn about how to get the most out of the systems and tools that you currently have in place, without incurring new costs to increase efficiency and productivity. Make education and networking the highest priority so that when the economy improves you and your company are ready. You don't have to outspend your competitors when you can outsmart them!

You know this is your opportunity to gain training and education that will benefit you and your company, allowing you to achieve new levels of success. But how do you go about communicating this in a way that your superiors realize it too?

Step 1: Prepare Your Lists - Review the conference schedule to identify and list specific sessions that explore ideas important to your company or that provide strategies to increase your productivity and your company's competitiveness. Also review the list of past conference attendees to identify existing and potential trading partners that your company needs to have contact with. Don't forget to look for your competitors or other attendees that may share similar issues that your own company is facing and technology providers that offer solutions that your company needs to address.

Step 2: Strategy to Overcome Objections - These are tough economic times and companies are cutting back. Many budgets are shrinking, but now is not the time to cut education budgets. It is a known fact that training and education stimulate creativity, innovation and efficiency. These are key elements for developing and sustaining your company's competitive advantage. HTF is the only place where the industry gets together to educate themselves on technology trends that will affect the hardlines industry, understand trading partner plans, and connect with people who can help you solve business problems.

Some additional tips to consider include:

  • Bring back and share what you learned by downloading the presentations and sharing the handouts and other learnings with others in your organization.
  • Elaborate on the benefits you expect to receive from the sessions you plan on attending.
  • Create a coverage schedule showing how your daily tasks and activities will be covered in your absence. Identify an escalation procedure in case of emergency.

Step 3: Calculate Costs - List all of your expected costs, including the conference registration fee, air fare, hotel, taxi/shuttle and food expenses (most meals are included in the conference fee). Register and book early to take advantage of the lowest conference fees and air fares available. There is an expense and benefit calculation worksheet available on-line to help you identify all the costs and benefits. When calculating your ROI, consider these points.

  • 14 Educational Sessions (840 minutes) -- a $2,800 value
  • 2 lunches -- a $30 value
  • 3 breakfasts -- a $30 value
  • 5 snack breaks -- a $45 value
  • 2 evening receptions with heavy hors d'oeuvres -- a $100 value

The measurable value of HTF: $3005

The cost of attending HTF (including hotel): $1495 (a $1510 savings!)

And the networking opportunities with peers and trading partners -- IMMEASURABLE

Step 4: Put it in Writing - Develop a written proposal that includes the information gathered in steps 1, 2 and 3. A sample letter for you to use as a starting point and customize is on-line here. Explain where you will apply the strategies you learn to improve your performance and your company's performance. Include the number of days you will be out of the office and include a plan of how your responsibilities will be covered in your absence. Again, don't forget to include the reasons why education is so important. Include the total cost in your proposal and if possible, also include an estimate of the financial return that can be reasonably expected from this experience.

Step 5: Follow-up - Schedule a meeting with your superiors to discuss the proposal and answer any questions they may have about how you chose the sessions to attend or how you calculated the costs and benefits of attending.


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