Attending a business related conference can be a great opportunity to meet with valuable decision makers and build long-lasting relationships. However, you can’t just show up and expect to start closing deals. To have success at conferences, you need to be prepared, have a plan of action, and execute accordingly.
Here is a list of the top five tips that has helped grow our network and see an ROI at a recent conference.
1. Come Prepared
Prior to the event, most conferences will provide exhibitors with a list of attendees. This gives you time to do ample research and find out who your best prospects are going to be. With social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, you can learn about the attendees and see if you have any common connections or interests. The next step is to prepare and practice your to make sure it is appealing and attention grabbing. Remember, you only have one chance at a first impression!
2. Stand out from the Crowd
Standing out at a conference is equally as important as preparing for it. You’re not the only exhibitor at the conference. Although you may want to speak with your target prospect for as long as possible, there are hundreds of other companies and sales representatives fighting for their time and attention. Make sure your booth stands out and looks professional so it catches the eye of your target prospect and they feel compelled to stop by. A great way to stand out is to include a unique raffle prize or an interesting asset at your booth. (My trusted trade show consultant Skyline provides amazing options!)
3. Talk to Other Exhibitors
Yes, the purpose of attending a trade show is to market yourself and build relationships with the attendees. However, after attending quite a few conferences, we have found that one of the best tactics for building new relationships and business is by talking with other exhibitors. By speaking with other exhibitors, you may find that they can provide you with a bridge to your target prospect. There is also a possibility that they may be interested in your services. If you help others, they will often be willing to help you as well. Building these types of channel partnerships is key to growing and building your network!
4. Have Fun
You may be at a conference for work but it’s important to enjoy yourself while you’re there. When you have a smile on your face and seem to be having a genuinely good time, people will notice. This makes you seem more approachable and associates a positive feeling with your products and solutions.
You should also enjoy your time during non-conference hours. Many are spread out over a couple of days and are often in nice resorts where the attendees can relax and enjoy their time out of the office. Try to set up a dinner or drinks with your prospects to build relationships. Just don’t be too sales pitchy during non-conference hours — remember, your audience has different motives than you.
The conference is now over, you’ve got some business cards and shook a few hands, but what’s next? It is crucial that you follow up with your top prospects right away. Remember the people you felt the most synergy with and follow up with them by providing useful content and relevant material that you spoke about at the conference. Since meeting you, they’ve met with a lot of other exhibitors and will only remember you if you had a personal connection with them or if you have something useful to provide them with. Take notes while you’re at the conference so you can remember to mention important information or connections that you may have had.
Attending conferences can be intimidating and nerve-wracking. Luckily, Today’s Business provides many different services that can help you during your next conference! Catch up on all of the latest and greatest digital marketing news on the TB Blog!