Live events can be a great way to boost your business… if you work them correctly!
I learned this valuable lesson in a mighty way when I attended my first large event in 2006. I was a new business owner and didn’t know what to expect. I was also REALLY intimidated by the price tag… $1,500 for a 3-day online marketing workshop. But I stepped up because I needed to learn the skills that were being taught there and I knew investing in myself was the best investment I could make.
The 3 days I spent in LA and the $1,500 I charged to my credit card completely transformed my business. I raised my prices by 67%, walked away with 2 new clients, and gained a highly sought after skill set that had us double our revenue and cross the six-figure mark in only our 2nd year of operation.
Ever since then, I make it a point to attend 2-3 large events each year and I always, ALWAYS walk away with new clients and a boost in revenue. Want to replicate these results in your business? Here is the formula I follow each and every time.
- Choose your events wisely – You should be looking for a sweet spot of pragmatic training and high quality networking. The training should offer you up to date information and tangible takeaways you can implement immediately. The event should cater to a specific audience of individuals you want to connect with to help you meet your current business goals. (Which means you need to have S.M.A.R.T. goals already well established.) These individuals could be prospective clients or referral partners. They could be industry leaders you want to include in your circle of influence.
- Set an intention for each event – You’ve booked your registration, bought your plane ticket and reserved a hotel room. Now what? Make a decision about what you want to get out of the event. What exactly do you want to learn? Who do you want to meet? What opportunities do you want to walk away with? Set a specific intention and keep meditating on it in the days leading up to the event.
- Prepare well – Carefully review the agenda and decide which sessions you want to attend based on your intention. Find out in advance who’s going to be there. Many event organizers will share this info, perhaps through an attendee app. At the very least, check out the Facebook page or Twitter hashtag for the event and see who’s talking about it. Have a new batch of marketing materials designed or printed that will support the goals you’ve set for the event.
- Use your time wisely – Each day of the event offers opportunities for networking during breakfast, lunch, dinner and breaks. Don’t waste that time checking email! Schedule quick 15-min appointments with people during the event to create a rapport and open the door for a longer conversation. Don’t be shy about approaching speakers and other “leaders” who are there. Always be kind, friendly and gracious, and proactive. These folks are there to network like everyone else.
- Plan in advance to follow-up – This is where most people drop the ball. Don’t be one of them! If you make a great connection with someone and the two of you know you want to continue the conversation post event, save yourself the hassle of a lot of back and forth. Schedule an appointment right there on the spot! Write any emails you commit to and send them the same evening. Write your thank you cards on the plane ride home and mail them as soon as you land. At the very least, pre-schedule some time to follow up the day after you return home before you dive back into your regular routine. Remember, your fortune is in the follow-up!
You can connect with a slew of pre-qualified leads, increase visibility for your business and significantly increase your revenue in just a few days by attending the right events. When done correctly, it’s one of the most effective, lucrative and fun marketing strategies you can implement!
What events are you planning to attend this season to meet prospective clients, connect with referral partners and/or update your skills so you keep making a difference in the lives of your clients? Post a note and let me know!
Randal DeHart, PMP, QPA says
Sage advice. Investing in big ticket events can elevate a person’s thinking pattern and in some cases it can be a real game changer.
Karen Nierlich says
Sydni…excellent idea about attending large events. I usually accept invitations to new social events or business events locally as it helps me make new contacts and prospects. Are you asking people at the event to talk to you for 15 m or are you arranging some of those conversations in advance or both? Also, I’ve heard a lot of cynicism about large tech events or innovators events…as there are so many people there to meet the speakers and so the set up keeps the speakers and attendees apart. I’m guessing you are talking about a different kind of event. Would you give an example?
Sydni Craig-Hart says
Great question Karen. The answer, of course, depends on your market and who you are trying to connect with.
For example, when I was a Virtual Marketing Assistant, I would attend online marketing workshops because I could help the attendees implement the strategies they learned there. Those types of events would be great for a business like yours.
A virtual marketing assistant looking to do business with restaurants would want to attend events hosted by Restaurant Associations.
A graphic designer looking to do business with women owned businesses would attend events like Women 2.0 or BlogHer.
A Wedding Planner would want to attend bridal fairs.
Getting to know the major players and leading organizations in any given demographic or industry will lead you directly to the right events that you should attend to support your goals. 🙂