Why You Should Go to SQLRally (and How to Ask for the Bucks)

Looking for high-quality, affordable SQL Server training that will have immediate payback in terms of practical solutions and expert contacts? Join us at PASS SQLRally Dallas. We’re planning a great event, and we want to help you get there.

Here’s what you’ll get at SQLRally Dallas, May 10-11, 2012, in Dallas, TX: 

  • 60 real-world technical sessions by some of the industry’s most respected experts
  • Answers to your most pressing SQL Server and BI questions
  • Nonstop networking with industry experts, Microsoft employees, and peers who are as passionate about SQL Server as you are… and may be only a local call away

As a special bonus, SQLRally Dallas will also feature 7 intensive, full-day pre-conference seminars May 8-9 – at just $219 each, the only question is which two to attend.

How to Get Approval and Funding

So now we get to the big question: How do you convince your boss that you need to go and that he/she needs to pay for it? Here's a list of common objections that we’ve encountered and some responses that will hopefully help you win your case.

Objection 1: We don’t have the budget.
If there aren’t designated funds for professional development right now, how about funding for support, consultants, or contractors? The training I’ll gain will decrease any spending we might have to do in those areas. We may still have to access those resources, but I will be in a better position to deal with them more knowledgably and quickly.

Objection 2: The company can’t pay for you to go away for half-week party.
 I know that some conferences are just an excuse for a paid holiday, but that is absolutely not the case with PASS SQLRally. This is one of the best TRAINING grounds for SQL Server, anywhere. It’s run by the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS), a not-for-profit organization that’s focused on SQL Server education. The sessions drill specifically into areas that I need to learn more about, and they will return the investment many times over by reducing future support calls to Microsoft, consultant time, problems, and downtime. SQLRally has sessions in <insert the relevant sessions here> that will directly increase my skills and ultimately benefit the department and the company.

Objection 3: It’s too expensive.
 For the discount rate of only $349 for the main program (available through March 14, 2012) and $219 for each pre-con, I’ll get at a bare minimum 24 solid hours of intensive training in exactly the areas I need - and an opportunity to ask for free advice from the speakers. Some of the speakers are consultants who would cost us that much just for an hour or two of attention. I’ll be coming back with knowledge I can put to use at work right away. Plus I can coach the other members of our team in what I learned to further extend the training. Even with travel expenses factored in, the value of the learning really does exceed the cost.

Objection 4: It’s still too expensive.
 If there’s no way the company can cover the full 4 days, then how about just the 2-day main program? If I register by March 14, I can get the $349 discount rate for 12 hours of targeted sessions that will directly improve my day-to-day work. <Pick some sessions from the agenda to support your case.>

Or the one-day pre-conference workshops are only $219 for a deep-dive into <pick the most appropriate pre-con(s) from the agenda to support your case>.

Objection 5: What about travel costs?
 Dallas is one of the most affordable travel hubs in the US. It’s not high season, and there are always deals on flights and a huge selection of hotel deals.

Objection 6: Can’t you get this training for free on the Internet?
 There are lots of free webcasts online, and some of them are very good. But they can’t replace the learning I’ll get from being surrounded by 500 other professionals who do what I do as well as the first-hand access to the experts who will be onsite. With webcasts, I can’t ask those specific questions that we need answered, and it can take hours of searching online for the right answers. Plus, the people I'll meet in person will be the people that I can easily contact afterward if I run into any issues and need advice.

Objection 7: What if something breaks while you’re away?
 There couldn’t be a better time for something to break. I’m only an email/text/phone call away, and I’ll be surrounded by hundreds of SQL Server experts. If I can’t solve the problem, I can get (free) help and answers from people who can.

The Official Ask: A Draft Email to Get You Started

In addition to the ammunition above, we’ve written a draft email that you can send to your manager to start the conversation. Be sure to personalize it to make your best case and point out the specific sessions that will provide your company with the most return.

Do you have other objections you're struggling to overcome? If so, please let us know, and we'll try to help with a response. Have other strategies that have worked for you in the past? Please share them with us!

Good luck, and we look forward to seeing you at PASS SQLRally Dallas!