What to do before, during, and after an industry conference or tradeshow to maximize ROI and increase sales opportunities.
How do you optimize your presence at a large industry conference?
Chances are, if you are attending a conference, you or your company have spent significant money to be there. Tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars can be spent on booths, presentations, transportation, staffing, etc.
The money has been spent. Now, how do you maximize the return on investment and increase the chances of new sales?
If you don’t adequately prepare before the show, engage in meaningful interactions while you are there, and follow-up with new and old contacts afterwards, you are missing qualified sales opportunities.
Follow these three steps to increase your success with potential clients and prospects:
1. Preparation Before the Event
Make phone calls before the event and schedule meetings with decision makers. Many of these events have tens of thousands of people in attendance. If you don’t set up a time, you will miss each other.
Set up 15-30 minute meetings at the booth, and follow up with calendar invitations confirming those meetings.
This is a prime opportunity that is already qualified, so don’t miss it.
If you or a client is having a dinner or other event away from the booth, or if you have a top speaker at the event, these are also ideal times to schedule a meet up.
Pre-event calling reveals another opportunity as well. In the event that your prospects have full calendars and can’t schedule a meeting but they do have a need for your business product, service, or solution, they will most likely agree to talk at another time.
2. Maximize Your Networking At the Event
If you’ve done the preparation before the event, then your time there should be busy with meetings and interactions.
In addition to your prospects, make sure you are aware of current clients that are in attendance and be sure to schedule face time with them.
Phone calls and emails are essential in keeping communication lines open and ensuring client success. However, when you have the opportunity to meet in person, use it. Much can be done in person that can’t be accomplished over the phone or through email.
3. After the Event Follow-Up
Once the event is over it is easy to consider the work done, but it is not. Now is the time to follow-up and to do it relatively quickly.
In my personal experience in the Complex B2B Sales industry I can tell you that this step is the one that most often gets dropped. That means a lot of missed opportunities.
Let’s say 500 people stop by your booth and get their ID scanned into your system. Now you have the names and contact information of 500 people who bothered to stop by your booth.
Out of those 500 you and your team may consider 20 to be good leads and they will be targeted for a follow-up call.
In the remaining 480 there are some really good leads. After all, these were people who came to your booth to learn more about your business.
There is intent by the exhibitors to follow up with those remaining 480 people, but they never do.
By not following up, you are leaving the opportunity at the table. Calling the people who came to you will result in a great return on investment.
You can start with an email. Generally even the best of emails get a 2% response rate. But even at 2% you could gain another ten qualified leads.
Don’t throw away the remaining 470 people by not calling them. After the event, pick up the phone and call them and you will uncover more qualified leads. Do this in a timely manner. One to three weeks post event is the best time frame.
Maximize Your Investment
Industry events are good for business. They offer the opportunity to make personal connections and create meaningful interactions, something we strongly believe is essential to sales success.
Follow these steps to make the most of your investment in any event. The extra effort it takes to prepare, engage, and follow-up is well worth your time.
Do you attend many industry events or shows? Share with us how you make the most of your time there by leaving us a note in the comments.