How to Make the Most of a Conference or Trade Show

If you are the one manning the booth, you are doing it wrong.

One: Get Your Hands on the Attendee List

The trick to a successful conference or trade show is to get the attendee list as soon as you possibly can. You want to get your hands on that list.

Most of your competitors won’t worry about getting the list. Instead, they’ll wait to see what kind of leads they can drum up by sitting at the booth, lamely attempting to woo passers by with a chance to win an iPad. It’s a crazy strategy to go where your dream clients are going to be and sit at a booth and wait for them to come upon you by chance. Yet, it is what salespeople and sales organizations do.

But your most fierce, aggressive, hunter-type competitors will won’t be anywhere near their booths. They will be engaged in higher-value activities. They’ll take the next couple steps.

Two: Call the List

Don’t email the list. Email is where requests for commitments go to die. Look at your inbox right now. It’s full of all kinds of requests of you, and you are leaving them there because they don’t require you to make a decision about them now.

Pick up the phone and call the attendees that you want to meet. Ask them for commitments to meet with you. You need to connect before the conference if you want their time, and the longer you wait to call, the less likely it is that you make it onto your dream client’s calendar.

Three: Schedule Meaningful Appointments

It’s a conference! People are going to meet for breakfast, for coffee, for lunch, for dinner, and for drinks.

Your dream client contacts are going to the conference to learn and to make new connections that can help them to produce greater business results. They want to get a return on their investment, and you scheduling to meet with them will help to get that return.

Schedule meaningful appointments with your dream clients.

Four: Don’t Schedule Your Dream Client for the Booth

You will meet prospects at your booth. You may win some clients from the booth. But that isn’t the best strategy. Your dream client is likely using your competitor. They don’t always want to be seen sitting at your booth, viewing your demo, or engaging in long conversations about their need. This is why you book private meetings.

If you’ve done this, you know how many prospects will agree to drop by your booth but never seem to make it by the booth. You know why? They were meeting with your competitor that picked up the phone and booked them for lunch.

Five: Book Follow Up Calls and Follow Up

To make the most of your conference, you need to book follow up meetings with everyone you meet with while at the conference. Make sure you get something calendared before you leave your meetings. The nice meetings you had during the conference need to be converted into post-conference sales calls. This is where you will get your company a return on their investment for sending you in the way of new business.

Also make a plan to follow up with everyone you meet during the conference. Don’t forget to follow up, and don’t wait for months to do so.

Work the conference before the conference. Stay out of the booth. Then work the conference after the conference.


How do you ensure you get the most of attending a conference or trade show?

How many appointments should you have booked for the conference?

How do go about booking those appointments in advance?

Is it enough to have your dream client drop by the booth?

What commitments do you need post-conference?

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Filed under: Sales

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