How your business can get the most out of attending events
We’ve all been to them – expos, conferences, networking events and the like. Some have been more lucrative than others, ranging from a handful of leads to having little to no valuable conversation with anybody.
How you behave before, during and after business events is the defining factor of whether or not you can generate any business through them.
We try to attend as many events as possible throughout the year. That doesn’t mean to say we sign up for anything – we make sure that anything we show interest in could facilitate some value. Bear in mind that it’s not always easy to tell.
They can be a fantastic way to display how wonderful your business is, through its most important asset: YOU!
The event run up
In the days, weeks or even months leading up to the event, it’s all about the social.
More often than not, the event will have an official hashtag that they will want you to use, to create a buzz and promote it. This is a great chance to find out who else will be there and initiate some conversations.
Often, there will be a brochure or programme for the event as well, with a list of exhibitors and businesses that will be there. You could always search for the listed companies on social and give them a follow, too.
This is the best way to not only let people know you’re going to be there but that you are friendly and approachable as well. It’s another thing that is essential for event-attending.
Give them a like, a follow and interact with them so they know to look out for you on the day.
If there are any speakers at the event, be sure to interact with them on social, too. The chances are, they will have a larger following than a lot of the people attending.
Don’t forget to make sure your social accounts clearly outline what it is your business does. If you think there’s some work to be done there, our New Year’s resolution blog touched on how you can spring-clean your social accounts.
During the event
It’s still about the social.
Tweet a picture of your stand so that people can find you, or a beautiful selfie with the stage in the background. It doesn’t have to be either of those ideas, but just something that will make clear what you look like and where you might be.
Still interact with other people tweeting or posting about the event. If you have an Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook account, create a story throughout the day. The more active you are, the better.
These are not only great ways to reach more people at the event but also to demonstrate to people who aren’t there that you’re passionate about your industry and growing your business.
Having said that, don’t absorb your face into your mobile phone screen for the entirety of the day. It can be quite easily done. Sacrificing real, valuable interactions with potential collaborators or customers defeats the point of being there.
Speaking to people (in real life) is your priority.
This is something a lot of people forget how to do well at events. It’s so important to get this right.
- Be friendly. That might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many people forget to smile at conferences, networking events and expos. You are a million times more approachable if you actually look and sound like you want to be there, which you should.
- Ask questions. Showing an interest in other people and not just talking about your business is crucial. It’s not all about you. Anyway, they might have skills which could mean you collaborate.
- Don’t be salesy. If the people you talk to have a genuine need for your business and they like you as a person, you’re all set. They’re there to meet people who they like, not to be sold to.
I hope, by this point, you’re still not forgetting to tweet or post your story. If you have the time of course.
Business cards are still huge.
You might be extra fancy and have a tablet linked to a CRM system, automatically importing data from a spreadsheet you’ve got people filling out while simultaneously sending templated follow-up emails.
No idea what I’m talking about? Let’s talk about business cards then.
Keep track of them and which card belongs to who. A little cheat: I often like to make notes on the back of them to remind me, such as “funky tie business coach” for example.
Do not lose them. You’ll need them later.
After the event
It’s STILL about the social.
Let everyone know how fantastic it was to meet them, using the official hashtag of course. Feel free to tag anybody you met, too.
The most important thing after the event is the follow-up.
Hopefully, you met plenty of people who sounded interested in the services or product you have to offer. Further still, you’ve been making notes on their cards so you can remember exactly who was who.
You wouldn’t want to include a funky-tie-related compliment in an email to the wrong person, would you?
In the follow-up emails, keep the friendly tone you had when you met them and try to find out a bit more about how you could help them.
And away you go! Good luck with all your event attending in the future.