While I’d like to consider myself a grizzled vet when it comes to conferences, the International Franchise Association Conference I just attended in San Antonio, TX was unlike any I’d been to. The first thing that struck me was the scale of the event: There were over 700 exhibitors (with a tremendously wide range of offerings); all kinds of raffles seemingly picking winners every 20 minutes; and a beyond-sufficient number of bars serving some top-shelf libations. If I had walked out after gathering my first impression, I probably would’ve left thinking, “this is more of a party than anything.” I would¬†have been wrong.

As a representative of an innovative technology company, it’s easy¬†for me to get fired up talking to prospects about what we do. What surprised me was the fact that everyone seemed to exude that energy, whether they were talking about selling books, small business loans, telephone systems or the new cowboy hat they just bought. Everyone was there for several reasons, but the one that seemed to flow through everyone I encountered was that they were there to learn something new. When any conference has that type of underlying pulse, it becomes easier to approach new people—there was a real Texas vibe!

Although it was a great, new experience, it was still a conference: trading business cards, sharpening pitches, trying to remember names. I think the one thing that will stick with me the most is the passion and dedication required to be successful in the Franchise space.

Anthony Pastore is a Sr. Enterprise Account Executive for Connectivity