If you’re going to attend a small business conference you should get your money’s worth from the event. The best way get the most from the conference is to follow up with the contacts you met there, develop new relationships and cultivate opportunities. Here is how you do it.
Bring back useful information
Bring back contact information for potential business down the road. If you missed any of the speeches or sessions that you wanted to attend, see if you are able to get recordings or video links.
Put together a plan
Leveraging a business conference needs a solid plan for everything you need to follow up on. Include in this plan, your goals, if your goals include securing more distribution channels then follow up with distributors that you have met. Having a plan will allow you to maximize potential business opportunities, build relationships and take advantage of what you learned at the conference. Review the plan and make sure you have included every contact and how you’d like to reach out to them.
Go over the business cards you collected and if you made notes on the back add all of this to your plan. Review the notes you took during the workshop or conferences, note which items will need follow up. Now you have a list of tasks that you can prioritize and take some action on. If you attended small business conferences regularly, create a template for yourself to streamline this whole process.
Send thank-you notes
It’s an old school method that still works and it’s a great way to reinforce relationships. Thanks the people you met at the conference for sharing their thoughts and for taking the opportunity to introduce themselves and their companies. If you were fortunate enough to meet panelists, presenters or speakers thank them for taking the time to share their insights. Sending a thank you note will set you apart from the rest of the attendees who were there and you can make some great high profile contacts.
Get on the phone
Thank you notes are great and it’s flattering to receive them, nothing beats a phone call. You have the opportunity to revisit discussions you had at the conference and capitalize on potential opportunities. Despite the advances in technology a telephone is still your best tool for finding new business.
Send out materials
If you had promised to send anybody promotional materials or price quotes then send them out as soon as possible. This should be done in the week immediately following the conference.
Share the spoils
After returning from a conference it’s time to sit down with colleagues and staff and convey everything that you learned. Highlight the important speeches and workshops, go over any new developments and opportunities. Discuss the things that will require follow up or any other action. Go over your plan and coordinate with those that can help you implement it.
You now have a method to get the most value from your small business conferences, a few strategies and the conference can become a great tool for generating more leads and ultimately more clients.