We are in the midst of event season which means taking advantage of every tool, channel and outlet to connect with your prospects is important. Whether you are sponsoring an event or attending to pitch, these tips will help you get the most out of this opportunity.
In the past couple of months I have attended at least 2 events each week. My aim from these events has been to build my network and learn from inspiring industry leaders. Though I wouldn’t be much of a BDR if I didn't see this as a golden opportunity to get up close to my prospects!
Before I share my tips I just want to thank everyone I have met at these events... some more than once!
Finding out which companies are attending an event is so important. Researching which ones fall in your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) means you can focus your day and plan who you need to speak to. Some events will show a list of companies and contacts attending, sponsoring, exhibiting and speaking on their website. Planning where these contacts will be during the day means you can manage your time and energy - nobody wants to be doing a marathon around Kensington Olympia!
Once you know which companies will be attending and filtered through your ICP, create an event specific SalesNavigator list. This means you will get regular updates on activity in the lead up and during the event - the trick here is to get involved.
For a large event with over 30 exhibitors, I will always aim to book in 5 meetings before I even get there. I use every channel possible to do this! I will email, call, use LinkedIn, send Direct Mail, make use of apps, and meeting booking technology. My top tip here is to make sure every message is relevant to the event and honest with why you want to meet! Don’t sell the solution, sell the meeting.
We work in tech, so use tech! Apps like Brella and Akkroo make it so easy for people to connect. Two days out from an event people start making a lot more noise and try to book in meetings. Make sure you are making use of every app associated with that event to keep up to date on what's happening and where people will be - time and place is everything! LinkedIn has a great scan feature in the search bar. If you have a name like mine “Ben Smith” this can save a lot of time.
Remember the reason people are at events: they are either looking to learn, buy or sell. Selling to someone who has paid to exhibit at an event can be challenging, but if you catch them at the right time then they will more than likely hear you out. Make it obvious that you would like a couple minutes of their time to see if you can help them solve an issue.
Some of the best ideas I have seen at events recently come from companies such as Swit, TripActions, Cognism, SalesConfidence, and Drift. I’ve seen everything from caricatures to headshots to raffles and champagne giveaways!
Make sure your follow up is hyper-personalised! This person has taken time out of their busy day to engage in a conversation with you. Take a couple of minutes to write a note on what you discussed during the conversation and plan what next steps you’ll take post-event.
Be creative in your follow up! I like to send people a gift straight after the event with a handwritten note summarising our conversation. The first seven days after an event are crucial to building that relationship while the event and the conversations they’ve had are fresh in their minds.
Thanks for reading my top tips for booking in more meetings when attending an event! If you see me at any in the future please do come and say hello! I can’t promise that I won't try to sell you something though...