In the age of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and e-mail, we are all constantly connected. So why do we still travel halfway across the country or the world to meet people? It’s because the personal connection is still so much more powerful than a text message or even a voice on a webinar. We need to see, hear, touch (and even smell) the people we do business with. It’s a little like animals, who sniff each other out when they meet to see if they can trust each other.
Conferences are an ideal way to meet new potential clients and suppliers, but with a tight timeframe, and an overwhelming number of booths, visitors, events and workshops, it’s easy to lose sight of what you are really there for.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts for successful meeting and greeting at conferences:
1. Don’t start selling immediately. At many trade shows I’ve attended, the majority of people at booths start pitching their products the moment a prospect approaches them. Many people at networking events also start selling the moment they are introduced.
When you meet someone new, ask a few questions to find out what they are interested in. No one likes a canned speech, or being “pitched” to. Asking questions lets you find out if your products even match their interests. If they do, you’ll be giving information they are looking for, and you can start the beginning of a relationship.
2. Don’t hand out your brochures or marketing materials randomly. Most people hate to lug around materials, and will toss it if it doesn’t interest them. Instead, find out what they are looking for, and ask if they’d like a copy of your information now or prefer to have it sent by email after the conference. You’ll save money and help the environment.
3. Don’t forget to follow up. The number one reason most people don’t get the most out of a conference is that they don’t have a follow up plan. Whether you plan to send thank you cards, an email newsletter, or some other form of communication, be ready to reconnect right after the conference – before people forgot that they met you. Deliver what you promised, and you’ll have the edge over people who fail to follow up.
4. Do help other people connect. By connecting people who can help each other, you become a valuable business asset. You may not get anything from it right away, but sooner or later someone will help you. It’s the way of the universe – what goes around comes around, although often in a different form.
Follow these simple do’s and don’ts to make your next conference a greater success. If you’re attending Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, please come to my presentation if you can, on Wednesday, Sept 21 at 3:45 pm, level 300, room 319. Or let me know if you are available to meet.
Contact me at: (514) 336-4339; Lynda@Lyndagoldmancopywriting.com