Here are some tips for maximizing your next conference or show:
1. Get your hands on the attendee list. The trick to a successful conference or trade show is to get the attendee list as soon as possible. Most of your competitors won’t worry about getting the list but will wait to see what kind of leads they can drum up by sitting at their booths, lamely attempting to woo passers-by with a chance to win an iPad or some other goodie.
It’s a crazy strategy to go where your dream clients are and sit at a booth and wait for them to come upon you by chance. Yet, this is what salespeople and sales organizations do. But your most fierce, aggressive, hunter-type competitors won’t be anywhere near their booths. They will be engaged in higher-value activities. They’ll take the next couple of steps.
2. Call the list. Call, don’t email the list. Email is where requests for commitments go to die. Look at your inbox right now. It’s full of all kinds of requests that have been made of you, and you are leaving them there because they don’t require you to make a decision about them right now.
Pick up the phone and call the attendees you want to meet. Ask them to make a commitment to meet with you. You need to connect before the conference if you want their time, and the longer you wait to call, the less likely it is that you will make it onto your dream client’s calendar.
3. Schedule meaningful appointments. It’s a conference! People are going to meet for breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner and drinks. Your dream client contacts are going to the conference to learn and to make new connections that can help them to produce greater business results. They want to get a return on their investment, and you want to schedule a meeting to help them get that return.