Here are our top five tips for what to do before, during and after attending a conference.
CONFERENCE NETWORKING TIPS
Are you attending any industry events or conferences during the year? Taking the time to travel to and attend local, regional and national conferences is a great way to network with your peers and make powerful connections with other behavioral health care professionals in the addiction treatment field.
TOP 3 REASONS TO ATTEND INDUSTRY EVENTS
Are you setting up a booth, sitting in on a panel discussion, moderating a Q/A session, or co-chairing a workshop? No matter what your focus, there are many opportunities to make new business connections while attending conferences.
- B2C – build new relationships and find new clients
- B2B – develop new business partnerships
- Invaluable – learn the latest industry news and developments
5 THINGS TO PREPARE BEFORE A CONFERENCE
- Reach out to conference speakers via social media – Meetup, Eventbrite, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Research the keynote speakers topics to use as a conversation starter when you meet them at the event.
- Reach out to the conference organizer to get a copy of the attendee email list. Send out an email about a week before the event to schedule appointments to meet with people during the event. Send them a reminder email a few days before the conference.
- Research the conference agenda on the website and choose which workshops and panel sessions you plan on attending during the conference
- Search for mentions of the conference on social media, and join in on the conversation. The recent Innovations in Recovery used the hashtag #IIR2016 on Twitter and Facebook.
- Make sure you have enough business cards to hand out at the conference. Order more if you need to.
5 THINGS TO DO DURING THE CONFERENCE
- Hand out your business card and collect cards from people and businesses you’re interested in working with. Write notes on the back of each card to help you remember who they are after you get back home.
- Meet with people during the conference that you set appointments with pre-conference.
- Attend the sessions and workshops that you added to your schedule pre-conference. Or agree to be a speaker, panelist or workshop presenter. You can introduce yourself and your company at the beginning of the panel session and use real life examples of how your business solved common problems related to the discussion topic
- If you’re a vendor enlist the help of co-workers so there is plenty of help to man your booth during conference hours. Make a sincere effort to greet each person stopping by.
- Network before and after hours – look for informal meet and greet opportunities such as speed networking and other social opportunities.
5 THINGS TO FOLLOW UP WITH AFTER THE CONFERENCE
Did you know that 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up and 80% of sales require five follow-ups before a sale is made? This just shows you how important it is to follow-up with all the new contacts you made during the conference. Try to connect with them within a day or two, three at the most, after you get back home.
- Send an email to people who attended the conference but you didn’t get the chance to meet with individually. Write a brief message summarizing your company’s services with a CTA to a landing page with a special offer (e-book, infographic, etc) related to the conference topic.
- Send a handwritten note to anyone you met with during your scheduled appointments.
- Send follow-up materials to people you connected with who asked for more information during the conference.
- Reach out to the new contacts you made via social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.
- Write a report of the event to share on your blog and social media sites. This is a great way to reach out to people who weren’t at the conference and mention the next event you’ll be attending.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CONFERENCE NETWORKING
- With so many events to choose from, you must do your due diligence to find the best ones to attend to stay within your limited budget and limited time.
- Try to meet with speakers before their presentation. They are often too busy afterwards – avoid long waiting lines using this approach.
- Ask each person you meet, how can I help you? Don’t just try to sell them on your company and services, show them how you could be a valuable addition to their marketing efforts.