Blog Post

Getting Your Employer to Pay for the PASS Summit


It’s just over 30 days to the 2020 PASS Summit and that is plenty of time to get the boss to say yes, but you have to ask! I point that out because a lot of people don’t ask and if you don’t ask, it’s the rare manager who is going to remember (or care) to ask if you want to go.

Asking is, of course, a bit scary. Maybe they said no last year (and the year before too), maybe the business is struggling, maybe…whatever. If you ask, they might say no, that’s true. But if you ask professionally, make your case, and they say no, you haven’t spent any karma, and in fact it might make it easier to ask again next year. If you don’t ask, what are your chances of attending?

How and when you ask matters. To decide on those you have to think how your boss thinks/works. Maybe it’s a email with the details and a note that you’d like to discuss at your upcoming one on one meeting. Maybe it’s catching them when they seem to have a few minutes of free time. There is nothing evil about setting yourself up for success.

Be super clear about your ask. You need one good paragraph that tells them the story and leaves room for you to add some details and passion when you discuss in person. Write the paragraph (and expect to spend 30 minutes doing it) even if you want to ask directly instead of via email – you’ll have your pitch framed better.

Things to include:

  • What you want to do, the dates and a link to the event
  • The cost (include the image below and circle the one you want to do)
  • Mention “no travel”
  • Mention that you’ll be on-call and available for key meeting as needed
  • Mention “this is important to me” (see the next paragraph)

The biggest tip I can offer you is to not make it about the money. Money is hard, it’s always easier for them to say no than to have to turn around and ask their boss. Instead, make it about you. This is important to me is a magic phrase. That’s the signal to them that this is about retention, happiness, stress, not about the money. There are plenty of reasons why it might be important to you, especially this year, but I’d suggest leaving those for the in-person conversation.

If they offer something, take it, even if not all you wanted. If they say no, take that gracefully and right then set the stage by saying something like “I understand it’s not possible this year, could we talk about making it happen next year? There’s often a big discount for early registrations.” Saying no is hard, saying no twice is even harder!

While it’s tempting to think of all of this as a negotiation, in most cases it’s not. It’s more like an elevator pitch. You get one shot at it, so make the most of it.

I hope you give it a try (and let me know how it works out).

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