5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Conference Connections
The truth still holds: meetings mean business. Participants attend conferences to learn, meet new people, sell and buy. Why then is it so hard to make the most of the connections made?
At Eventinterface we talk to many planners using our software to manage their conferences and trade events. We’ve taken lots of these experiences and extricated these top 5 tips on how attendees can make the most of the connections made at your event.
TIP 1: WHO DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH?
Once back home, separate collected business cards or scanned contacts in two piles. The first pile is the contacts you want to establish a long-term relationship with, and you are willing to make an effort to build that relationship, aka the business cards you really wanted.
The second pile is the random contacts. You may not want to make an effort on these connections. You collected their business card because it was the polite thing to do. Don’t throw them away; you’ll add them later to your CRM. You never know when you may need a certain vendor or consultant.
TIP 2: MEMORIZE
Write down anything you can remember of the contacts you want to create a long-term relationship with. Do this at the conference or soon after returning home. What are their likes and dislikes? Do they have a family? Is there anything new about their company or product? Are they engaged on any boards, with nonprofit organization, politically? You get the idea. If you use a CRM platform, then this may be the place to collect this info.
STEP 3: REACH OUT
Within a week, write a personal note or email to each of the contacts you want to build a relationship with. This is not the place to sell; this is a note of appreciation for meeting at the conference. And yes, indirectly you are selling yourself.
Tell them it was a pleasure meeting them at the conference; reiterate something you learned in the conversation. Perhaps this provides an opportunity to send a link to an article or resource. Make the communication personal and valuable to the person you want to build a relationship with. It doesn’t hurt to send a note to the conference organizers either.
TIP 4: FOLLOW AND ENGAGE
Start following the social media and blogs of the people you want to build relationships with.
If the conference organizers use a tool or app to continue the engagement, such as Eventinterface, then actively participate in the community. Instigate discussions and answer questions posted by other attendees. Make yourself a resource.
TIP 5: SIX MONTH CHECKUP
Put a reminder on your to do list for 6 months past the conference to write a personal follow-up note. If you haven’t connected since, reach out and remind them how you met. Ask about their interest, latest news and let them know that you are a continued resource to them. Repeat this at least once a year after this.