Discover step by step the most important aspects to consider in order to close deals when attending conferences.
By Marcus Castro on June 09, 2022
Pain: attending a conference, especially massive conferences can be overwhelming. That’s why sometimes you end up with your pockets full of business cards or your LinkedIn full of connections thinking you’ve killed it but one month later you realize the pipeline hasn’t changed.
In this article, we’re going to cover step by step the most important aspects to consider in order to close DEALS. From days before the conference to the post-conference follow-up. We will examine three core topics: Preparation, Approach, and Mastering. Let’s dive in!
First things first, let’s prepare for the conference.
If you ask the best salespeople, they spend considerable time preparing for an in-person client meeting. This preparation includes creating personalized pitch decks, rehearsing negotiations, and more. As we look at sales professionals attending a conference, the typical preparation includes raiding the company merchandise closet for cool handouts, grabbing a stack of the most recent company insights, or maybe just grabbing a bag of candy at the last minute to give out. This sounds a bit different than the same approach of a tailored in-person meeting. Why? It can take considerable time to put together a well-thought-out plan, which is why we aim to simplify this approach.
Most, if not all, conferences provide an intensive attendee list, usually consisting of name, company, phone, and email. This list offers insights to incentive additional people to attend. Unfortunately, most conference attendees scan the list, confirm there are quality attendees, and close the list, but not us!
Email existing customers: Highlight all existing customers attending. A short and sweet email, “I hear you will be attending Saastr as well! I can’t wait to see you! Let’s grab a coffee during one of the breaks!”. This is a crucial touch to remind customers you are thinking of them. If you are not making this customer touch, your competition will be!!
Email and call prospects: Whether your team has SDRs or just Account Executives, the team needs to reach out to each prospect on the list. Even better if you can carve out 15 minutes for a coffee or beer! Typically, a quick phone call works best. “Hey, I know you will be at Saastr! How about the first morning we grab a coffee before the first speaker”.
Here’s how we do it at Bloobirds, we can upload the list directly to our software and prospects can be followed up within the platform as our team members do normally:
Maximize every single minute. There are very few opportunities where you have 100+ prospects and clients in the same place. Therefore, a well-tailored process heading into the conference is vital to maximize that small fortune the company spent to send you and the team to attend. So how can you utilize every minute? Let’s take a look!
Calendar: Create a shareable calendar specifically for the 3-4 days at the conference. Provide the link for 30-minute meetings. Before the first day of the meeting, you should have 30+ coffee chats set over the four days. A mentor once told me that the best meetings at a conference are never the pre-set meetings but the side convos happening throughout – that is where the magic happens. A great tool: calendly. Take a look at a specific calendar created for the Saastr conference. Share this link with prospects or clients to pre-set and maximize your time!
Events: A pre-planned event can be a great tool to maximize time. You can have many clients and prospects in a single setting. With budget limitations, even a simple happy hour covering the first round of drinks can go a long way. Or see below on partnering with a “COI.”
Centers of Influence: What we call “COIs.” Think vendors selling to the same customers. For example, if you are a banker, it might be a transaction attorney or accountant. This relationship tends to be synergistic in nature. This is a great touchpoint for that relationship to flourish: suggestions, partnerships on dinner. Ask one of your COIs to invite five clients then you do the same!
The key to mastering the conference takes more time and focus. We take a bit more of a strategic approach.
Panel/Speaking Engagements: While attending, networking, coffee chats, and happy hours are essential, we investigate another critical aspect which is speaking at the conference. Typically, the ability to speak at a conference comes with a hefty sponsorship package, but we look at a little secret – relationships with the event hosts. As most companies target the same conferences year after year, it is vital to building a relationship with the individuals that run the conference. The organizers always have the discretion to add new panelists or speakers. If you plan to attend each year, do this!
Follow-Up: This might be a surprise, but the lack of follow-up with new prospects is usually low. Once the conference ends, a well-tailored email or phone call is crucial. This reach out should not be a week later; it should be the following day.