Attending a conference can help your company gain new clientele. You can attend a conference and that will help you meet similar people with similar interests. You can also have a booth at a conference or speak at a conference. However you find yourself at a conference you want to be sure you stand out amongst the crowd. Use your networking skills to expose yourself and your business to new customers. Here are some ways that you can stand out at the conference.
Speak at the Conference
If you are able to land a speaking gig at a conference you will be exposing yourself and your company to many new potential clients. One way of promoting your company is to speak or make a presentation at conferences. You will be in a room with many people who might not have heard about your company before. If you have a dynamic speech or presentation it could lead to new leads and more income for your company.
- Do not Ask People Directly, Cold – Time Doctor’s Co-founder Liam Martin offers six strategies on obtaining speaking engagements in his video. One of his suggestions is to not ask to speak at a conference without an introduction or without knowing someone from the conference. According to Martin, “One out of 200 applicants may be asked to speak” if they are an unknown quantity. Try to find people who are speaking or have spoken successfully at the conference and ask them to recommend you. Or, if you cannot get a warm introduction Martin suggests you “figure out how to help that particular conference.”
- Unique Perspective – Another tenant that Martin espouses is to “have a unique topic that only you can speak on.” He suggests you offer a unique point of view or quality that will impress the conference manager and help to convince them to put you on the list of speakers. The more unique you are the more likely you will be asked to speak at numerous conferences.
- Practice – Before you attend your conference and present your speech you will want to take time to practice. Read over your speech and try to memorize key points so you do not have to refer to your notes too often. The more you can look at the audience, the more you will keep their attention. Practice in front of a mirror to see how you look, or record yourself on your phone. You can make adjustments to how you present your speech once you have viewed yourself giving the speech. Rely on friends to listen to your presentation and offer constructive criticism. The more you practice the better your speech will be.
- Videos – Make sure you have interesting videos or powerpoints to display while you are giving your speech. You want to keep people interested in what you are saying. Do not talk in a monotone voice. Enunciate and use hand movements to emphasize what you are saying. Make sure the powerpoint and the videos are all related to what you are talking about and are useful. Do not just write your speech on your powerpoint. Be sure to highlight your powerpoint and video with interesting graphics and things that will draw the audience’s attention to your presentation.
- Feedback – After your speech is finished be sure to get feedback from people who attended your presentation. Martin says that people asking for feedback are showing that they are trying to improve their speech. Improving your speech or demonstrating that you want to is a great way to be invited back to speak at a conference in the future.
Have a Booth at the Conference
- Visual Appeal – If you are not speaking at the conference, but you do have a display table you want to make it visually appealing to conference goers. You want your table to stand out in the crowd. Using bright colors and posters will help get people’s attention and draw them in. A banner or a column wrap will also draw their attention. Use eye catching graphics and be sure everyone behind the table looks good. They should be wearing business attire and be well groomed. The people behind the table should be standing, ready to discuss your company with conference attendees. Make sure they smile and shake everyone’s hand so the attendees feel welcome.
- Swag that sticks – Another way to attract people to your booth is to offer free giveaways. People love things that look great and they can immediately use. You could give them free brochures, pens, water bottles, mugs, lip balm, bags, USB chargers, etc. Be sure you have top quality giveaways with your company information stamped on them. One of the best one-size-fits-all ideas is printing vinyl stickers with some creative images and captions. Vinyl stickers are very durable and will look great on your customers’ laptops. You can also give away different things depending on what the customer does. If they just walk by and browse they can get a pen. If they give you their contact information they can get a bag. If they buy your product they can get a better giveaway. This way other people will see them with your swag and ask them how they got it. Unique giveaways are a big conference attraction.
- Raffle – You can raffle off different giveaways on the hour from your booth. This will make your potential clients come back to your booth to see if they have won anything. Prizes can range from gift certificates to a percentage off something you are selling. You can give away tickets to entertainment events, sporting goods, tablets, phones, and more. Make sure your giveaways are relevant to the conference and your company.
- Promotion – You should promote your booth on social media. You can say exactly where you are on the conference floor which will help people find your booth. People will be more willing to visit your booth if they know where it is. You can send a photo of your booth to your customers and let them know when and where the conference is. This will also help promote the conference. This will also help increase sales and traffic at your booth. You can highlight your giveaways, show a clip from the conference, and tell people what they are missing by not stopping by.
- Greeters – You should designate certain people to be greeters at your booth. Their job will be to greet people as they walk by the booth and introduce them to the sales people behind the booth. Greeters can also walk the conference floor with some small giveaways and direct people toward your booth. Greeters should have a fantastic attitude and smile in order to draw more customers in.
- Phone Charging – You can offer a free phone charging booth at your station. While the conference attendee is waiting for their phone to be charged you can be pitching them your latest offers. People are always looking for places to charge their phone. They will not leave their phone with you while they wander around the conference, so you should take advantage of the time you have with them. This is a great way to increase traffic to your booth.
- Food – People will be hungry while they are wandering around the conference floor. Providing food will attract more people to your booth. The food does not have to be fancy. It can be cookies, brownies, or chips. You can be as creative as you want with the food and drinks. Hire a barista to mix some drinks for your guests. Send someone out with free samples for the conference attendees. While they are eating you can be pitching your company to them. The more people you attract with food and drinks, the more potential clients you will be adding to your company.
Whether you are a speaker at a conference, displaying a booth, or are just a general attendee you want to brush up on your networking skills in order to promote your company and make new connections.
- Stay at the Conference Hotel – If you have a chance to stay where the conference is being held your opportunities for networking will increase. You will be able to hang out with people until later in the evening and make early breakfast meetings. Staying at a different hotel will put you out of the main loop of the conference and away from everything that is happening. You will be better able to make it in time to hear a keynote speaker and you are more likely to run into them in line for coffee if you are staying at the same place.
- Be Approachable – If you spend your time on your phone or tablet outside of the meetings and speakers at a conference you will less likely be approached by anyone. Put your phone and tablet away. Grab a drink and walk around. This will make you more approachable and will give you the opportunity to meet new people. You will also be able to engage with people more when you are offline.
- Schedule your Day – Take time to make a schedule before the conference starts. Get to the conference early to register and to get a list of keynote speakers. There is a high chance you will not be able to attend all of the keynote speakers’ addresses so you want to pick and choose when and where you will be at any given time during the day. Also, if you meet someone interesting you can compare schedules and meet up at a different speaker’s presentation.
- Business Cards – Be sure to stock up on your business cards before going to a conference. You want to make sure you have your contact information to hand out to potential clients. Consider making a unique card for the conference so that it will stand out later on when people are reviewing who they talked to. You want people to remember you. A unique business card is one way to make sure you are remembered.
- Connect Outside – A great way to meet people who are attending the same conference is to go to the gym, pool, or coffee shop inside the hotel. You have a good chance of running into people who are also attending the conference. Take this time to network and build your business and social contacts.
- Meet-Ups – See if the conference has an app. You can use this app to find out about any meetups or after parties that are related to the conference. You can also check out the hashtag related to the conference to keep up to date on what is happening outside of the conference. If you are able to, try and get an invitation to these events. This is a great time to network with like minded people. Most of the time the atmosphere is more relaxed and people are more willing to wind down and talk to you. Do not push business too much but be sure to have some business cards to hand out to people.
- Online – Once the conference is over be sure to stay in touch with people online. Send them a LinkedIn request or contact them on Twitter or Facebook. Keeping in touch after the conference is a great way to hold onto the contacts and customers you have made.
Conferences are a great way to meet new people and build up your business. Try and land a speaking gig at a conference or have a booth set up to show off your company. Meeting new customers is easier at conferences where everyone has similar interests. Make sure you have your networking skills ready and your business cards at hand. Put yourself out there and network to gain potential clients and build your business. Conferences are great places to show off your company and tell people why they should be interested in you.
This is a guest post by stickermule.