How to make your time at a conference worthwhile as a sales rep
Conference season is here, and I'm excited about traveling to different cities and meeting others who are committed, as I am, about succeeding in sales.
As anyone who attends industry conferences on a regular basis knows, they can get expensive — and sometimes the price doesn't feel all that worth it.
But they're a reality of business. No matter the industry, conferences can be a great way to meet prospects.
And if you're attending a conference, you need to step away from your company's booth and have those important one-on-one's.
Based on my own experience attending conferences, here are some ways to make your time at a conference worthwhile as a sales rep.
Reach out to booth visitors and schedule meetings
While prospects visit your booth, offer up the opportunity to meet with them at the conference. This doesn't have to be an elaborate presentation or pitch — you actually want to keep it short and casual.
Offer up the opportunity for a coffee chat, lunch or a quick drink in the hotel lobby. Be sure to clarify that it doesn’t need to be in a board room; it can be a quick chat.
Even if it is short, you want to be able to sell yourself, the company and the product offering to the prospect.
Telling the prospect why you'd like to meet, in an email, will give you a better chance of securing the meeting. And, this will be an important close that comes early, when asking for a meeting.
Given that you've gotten your "foot in the door," they'll be more likely to block out some time in their calendar.
Schedule 1:1s in advance
If you are already booked for an upcoming conference or are confident you'll be attending, pre-schedule your meetings. As a sales representative, this is something you should prioritize.
If you wait until the conference starts, it’s too late. The best conference goers go in and schedule meetings ahead of time.
If you haven't done so, set aside some time to research who will be going to your upcoming conferences. Announce that you're going, via a tweet and post on your LinkedIn. Reach out to your contacts with a personalized message to see if they're going and propose to schedule a time to meet up.
Meet with as many prospects as possible. Don't be that person who goes to a conference for the sake of the conference. Offer to take a prospect out for lunch.
And don't be afraid to skip a presentation to meet with a prospect! Presentations aren't going to land you prospects. 1:1s will.
Follow-up with every prospect you meet
The quickest way to lose a deal after a meeting is not following up.
We all know life and work get in the way, but before you know it, a few days have passed, and you have forgotten to follow up. That’s not a good look, or a great way to treat a prospect.
I have a philosophy in life: I follow-up as many times as needed until I get an answer. I don’t care what the answer is, as long as I receive one. If a prospect says they need time, I make a reminder and follow-up in a couple of weeks. And if a prospect tells me they are not interested, I leave it at that.
Avoid those long formalities in your email. It’s annoying to read through a long email, and good prospects know the go-to meaningless phrases that have been copied/pasted. So, get to the point.
Attending a conference can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you're attending a conference for the first time or if you're trying to meet with as many prospects as you can. But there is a way to feel less overwhelmed and ensure the experience is successful: Go prepared and be smart in your approach.
Use these strategies to take advantage of the opportunities a conference can bring you. And you'll walk away feeling good.
After meeting with your prospects at that next conference, you're going to need a solid follow-up strategy. Download my bullet-proof formula that'll move sales conversations to the finish line faster.