Does your business attend Conferences and Events? How do you capture every drop of value from attending conferences and events, so that you grow your sales and your business? Even if you are happy with the results so far, are you getting the maximum ROI from your initial outlay?
How Conferences and Events benefit your business
First let’s ask the question – Why do businesses book a stand or attend conferences or events? The answer is very simple – people buy from people. Many of your ideal clients will attend at least one major conference/event this year, with a key focus on gathering knowledge, networking and growing their business.
With all the digital marketing in the world, we’re still wired to connect with other people, and still wired to make buying choices to work with people that we like. Businesses who book stands at conferences and events want the opportunity to make that personal connection with their ideal clients. Depending on what you’re selling, your business may only need a handful of new clients to justify making attendance at conferences and events an essential part of your sales and marketing strategy.
Costs to attend Conferences and Events
If you’d like to be there to meet your ideal clients at conferences and events, doing your stand the right way can easily run into several thousand dollars.
To evaluate your ROI, these are some of the initial outlay costs (and additional resulting costs) to factor in:
- Reserving your stand or booth
- Exhibition graphics
- Printed collateral
- Salary/wages for staff running your stand
- Salary/wages for staff setting up and packing away your stand
- Lost revenue for the non-chargeable time
- Other miscellaneous costs
In addition, you probably need a couple of your team running the stand, and ideally another 2 or 3 team members networking with conference attendees.
Add up all these costs, and it’s understandable why many small businesses simply don’t consider attending these events.
You’ve booked a stand – Now the real work begins!
Once you choose to book your stand at a conference or event, the true work has only just begun. You need to work out how you’re going to connect with your ideal clients, how you’ll follow up with them and how you’ll increase your sales as a result of booking your stand.
Use social selling to maximise your ROI
Many business owners and their sales staff simply don’t know the best way to gain maximum benefit from attending conferences and events.
Using sales and social selling knowledge can make a huge difference to your ROI from attending conferences and events. The great news is that social selling and digital marketing tools are readily available to all businesses – both large and small – to deliver abnormally good sales results and ROI.
Most salespeople who attend conferences and events are still using old ways of selling. That is, they are relying on serendipity – accidentally bumping into the exact person they want to speak to, at a moment when that person is interested in talking, and then miraculously creating sales out of this opportunity.
Traditional sales methods still work – because people still buy from people. However, combining traditional sales methods (standing in line, chatting, handing out business cards when the opportunity arose) with social selling and digital marketing will turbo-charge your sales results from attending conferences and events.
In one Magnify client situation, this combination of sales methods resulted in a 400% increase in meetings with potential customers who matched our client’s ideal client profile. This was all achieved by using free tools that are readily available to everyone. We’re still counting as the results continue to climb with targeted follow up.
We also got our customer on to page one of the google search results relating to the event. This is no accident. These methods were tested out at another conference earlier in the year, in a completely different industry. While no-one can guarantee placement on page one of any google search, social selling and digital marketing resulted in placement on page one of the google search results relating to that event.
Capture every drop of potential value from Conferences and Events
Over the last few months, we’ve worked on a methodology to help businesses capture every drop of potential ROI from attending conferences and events. In addition, we’ve spoken to a digital marketing agency who deliver targeted Facebook advertising, specifically to help their clients reach conferences and event attendees. Such use of artificial intelligence is astounding! Amazingly, it’s much cheaper than many business owners realise to get your brand in front of your ideal clients without relying on ‘accidentally bumping into them’.
Resourcing options for Conferences and Events
There are now so many options for businesses who want to market and sell to attendees at conferences and events.
- Have a stand run by yourself at your chosen conference/event
- Arrange extra staff at your chosen conference/event – some for your stand, and for general networking (as your budget permits)
- Ongoing follow-up via email to those conference/event attendees who gave you their business card (via the collection box at your stand)
- Create a solid foundation for sales growth using social selling and digital marketing methods
- Ongoing, targeted advertising to reach everyone within the event walls who has Facebook
YES – All budgets can sell at Conferences and Events
The great thing about options 4 and 5 is that business owners on a more modest sales and marketing budget can use these two methods to grow sales from conferences and events – without the cost of a stand, and potentially without even attending the event itself!
So, if there is a conference or event that your ideal clients will be attending, there are now multiple ways to reach them. The increased range of options from social selling and digital marketing can be mind-boggling, and too much for many business owners to have the time to consider.
Four key steps to Sales Success at Conferences and Events
If you’re in that space where you want to grow sales to conference and event attendees but feel a little overwhelmed at the range of options – there are a few simple things you can do.
- Design a plan for what your business will need to do before, during and after the conference or event. Include budgets and costs for each of the steps in your plan. See the resourcing options outlined above.
- Delegate or get help for any steps that you are too busy to do yourself, or for areas where you lack knowledge to gain the best results.
- Consider which parts of the process you can automate and/or prepare in advance – and set this up pre-conference.
- Get a CRM if you haven’t already got one. You’ll need a CRM to keep in touch with of all those great people you meet, in person and digitally.
There are excellent benefits to your business from interacting with your ideal clients at an event they have chosen to attend. With your sales and marketing planned and prepared, you’re all set to enjoy conferences and events this year!