If you are reading this, you are either a shy/introvert kind of a person or you are a leader of your company who wants to set a budget for conferences for the upcoming year/s. Because if you are an extrovert or a person full of extra ordinary energy, you never had difficulties getting ROI from any conference that you attended. Even if you didn't get the ROI instantly, your charm created leads that replied to the first follow up email that you sent.
Conferences are not rocket science. It's an event where professionals from various backgrounds and companies gather so as to train, learn, network and generate business. It's like a crash course of learning subjects that truly matter in one's professional life and it's like networking in 5th gear as it would have taken atleast a year to connect to let's say 200 people via various online and offline methods.
Here's how you can make the most out of conferences:
Shine like the moon, don't twinkle like the stars: Don't be shy. Go ahead and meet the person you want even if he/she is surrounded by other attendees. I read this post somewhere where the 2 founders of a company from India attended a book launch event where Chetan Bhagat (A renowned writer from India) was present. They were shy but somehow managed to go to him and ask if they can have his book in their book store. Chetan asked them "Which book store is it?". They answered "Flipkart". FYI, Flipkart is the biggest Ecommerce company of India at this moment ahead of even Amazon. Now Chetan keeps his books exclusively on Flipkart.
Dress to impress: The way you dress at the event makes a deeper impact at conferences than your sales pitch. Follow the dress code of the event and wear a dress that compliments your aura. The dress is your Resume for the day of the event. It better be impressive.
Ask intriguing questions: At the end of most of the panel discussions or presentations at conferences, there is the time for Q&A. Raise your hand. Ask intriguing questions related to the topic, of course. Ask questions that everyone in the room remembers you. Don't forget to give your one line introduction before asking the question. That's your moment, make the most out of it. Make sure you ask a question in every session you sit. No conference organizer will stop you. But don't be obnoxious. Don't ask long questions that actually sound like an answer or a statement. Be short and simple.
Have an unending supply of Business Cards: Nothing is more embarrassing than the moment when a person/potential lead asks for your business card and you say I don't have it. You then take out a piece of paper and scribble your email and phone number on it and that too in a handwriting that even the doctors/chemists won't understand. Comm'on, go ahead and ask the organizer about how many people are expected and add 50 more cards to it. If you think your pockets will look funny, carry a small bag and put them there. You are there to network. Network like a pro.
Meet anyone and everyone: Every person you meet at the event may not be your potential customer but the people he/she knows might be your target audience. During the conversation learn about them and tell them about your company services and when you are about to close the conversation, tell them to pass the word around. Go back to office and follow up with them and ask if they can connect you to someone they believe is the right person for you.
Meet Exhibitors/Sponsors: Technology is changing so rapidly that it might have changed while you are reading this article. Don't believe me? Have you heard of Android Marshmallow? Well if you had then you might also know that Android N is in the making and will be released shortly. The point is, there is some really innovative technology/service out there that you are completely oblivious about. Sponsors/Exhibitors at various events bring some amazing, high quality and affordable stuff to showcase and you should make a point to visit as many exhibitors and meet as many sponsors as you can. Who knows, if you see value in their product/service, they might equip you with technology that saves you thousands of dollars and generates some unimaginable profits.
Follow up till you drop or he/she drops: Majority of cases get converted after the 8th follow up. Need I say more? Go back to office, put information from the business cards you collected into the CRM and start following up till the time the potential client either agrees to business with you or just says No. You can't leave in between.
So, that's it. Best of luck for your next event. Go generate some business and don't commit the mistake of being shy at a place where being shy is not an option.
Dhiraj Dev Phukan is the CEO of Salesgasm, a company that specializes in organizing world class sales and marketing events across the globe and online. To know more about Salesgasm, please visit www.salesgasm.com