The YGS Group

Conference Networking: More Than Just a Pretty Booth

Conference Networking: More Than Just a Pretty Booth

Last week, we gave you the top tips for preparing for the conference, but now you’ve arrived at the venue. What next? Our team of booth organizers and hosts at AM&P and ASAE conferences this year have the advice to make sure you leave conference-goers with a positive impression of your company and you leave with a pocket full of leads!

Use pre-conference marketing to tell a story, and make sure your presence reflects that. When you’re developing the email or direct mail blasts to let potential leads know you’ll be at the conference, it can’t just be about you, says Corporate Sales Executive and conference booth host Kristy Freeman. “Position your message so it applies to the recipient. Don’t just go on and on about what your company does. Make sure you’re letting them know how THEY could benefit from a partnership.” Have your conference handouts reflect the same ideas so attendees can connect the dots. Corporate Sales Executive Kristi Forster says offering food, games, or branded items are a great way to bring people in and allow opportunities to start a conversation.

Put your phone away. Understandably, booth hosts are very busy people and have colleagues back at the office or clients with burning questions upping their unread message counts. But conferences are a chance to connect with people who don’t know what you have to offer, and your branded booth or games can’t do all the talking. “With so much competition for the attention of the attendees, having a welcoming and engaging booth is critical. This not only includes the aesthetics of the booth, but the attitude and approachability of the booth staff,” says Freeman. Forster says standing instead of sitting, making eye contact, and saying hello with a smile can be the difference between a passer-by and a sale.

Make friends, not just sales. Sales is about more than just dollars, and keeping clients coming back for more means creating relationships. You’d never make a friend on the street by walking up and asking for money, so developing leads has to start in a similar way. Have a vested interest in your visitors’ needs and discuss practical solutions. Forster takes time to attend sessions presented by her clients or prospects so she can be prepared in her conversations. Valuing the content a client or prospect is offering attendees makes for “great talking points when trying to reach a prospect,” she says.

Be timely with your follow-ups. Freeman recommends not waiting longer than five business days to contact your lead, or you risk their forgetting your encounter. “Not to mention,” she says, “they’ve already received follow-ups from the 20 other vendors they talked to.” Be sure to mention the quality conversation or the topic of their presentation, and be genuine about the possible solutions you can develop for their immediate needs.

YGS kicks off AM&P’s Annual Meeting today through Wednesday (June 15–17) at booth 203 so be sure to stop by! We’re also looking forward to the ASAE Annual Meeting August 8–11 at booth 238.