I have conference fever! If you’re also going to a conference soon to build your business, then go ahead and read on. If you’re only there to learn, you can probably skip this one. Here’s how to waste that conference you’re going to:
Go to a Conference Only To Learn
Personally, I only ever go to a business conference with the objective of getting new clients because my prospects are the same as I am-small businesses. Sure, the learning is there but that’s gravy. But if you own a business, then you’d better not be going to conferences where you can JUST learn. You’d better be spending some serious time at industry conferences with your target industry.
Don’t Reach Out to Your Prospect Before the Conference
If you want to waste that conference, just show up and hope to connect at the conference in the haze of learning, networking and buying. Instead, one thing I and my clients do before conferences is to find a list of past attendees. Alternately we look for and find members to the organization who’s holding the conference through their social media groups. Once we research who could be a good prospect for us, we then either email through LinkedIn or call to ask ‘are you coming too, would you like to connect there?’. Remember, the excitement before a conference is the prime time to connect rather than right after the conference where catch-up and fatigue form barriers to new relationships.
Don’t Have A Way To Position Yourself As An Expert During the Conference
Planning to just stroll your merry way along the halls with thousands of others who are hustling to the next breakout? Make yourself stand out to your prospects during the conference, even if you’re not keynoting or have a booth. Here are some ways we do that with clients: hold an Executive Roundtable about a painful and costly topic the day before Registration. Have an informal gathering to invite prospects to at the restaurant bar the night before the conference opens, leave a contextual (to what problem you solve) gift in the rooms of the prospects checking in. These are all ideas on how to differentiate and position yourself as an expert in your niche for the conference attendees. Don’t forget to be specific on who you’re reaching out to (can’t do it for everyone who’s attending!) and be sure to give them an experience of you in person.
Follow Up As Soon As You Get Back
Yup, been there and done that and even though the biggest issue is that most people DON’T follow up, it has the same result as when you follow up too soon after the conference. I’ve lived it and am here to tell you that unless you wait a few weeks or EVEN months to call your new best friends, your chances of reaching your prospects are going to be sadly dwindled versus if you catch them when they’re playing catch-up right after the conference haze.
Conferences can be amazing prospecting opportunities but only if you don’t waste them. So go out there, have fun and make some sales.