For many many years I went to conferences for one purpose- To get shit faced while meeting up with friends. I would fly in a couple days before and leave a couple days after.
7 years later , I now have 2 kids, a wife, and a “grown up” company to run.
I am now a lot more strategic about planning out what conferences to attend. I stay as little as needed. I usually arrive the morning the conference starts and leave the last day of the event (or even earlier sometimes).
I am always amazed at how unprepared people are for conferences. They always ask me things like: “Who should they talk to?” “What night events should they attend?”…. When what they really should be saying to me is, “Hey I am trying to do X who should I talk to” and depending on what X is I may or may not be able to help them.
With Leadscon coming up this year I thought I would share what I do.
“What do you need right now?”:
This is crucial. Take a strong look at what your doing and come up with 1 key thing. Do you need to buy more advertising? Are you looking for more affiliates? Are you looking for someone who specializes in data monetization? You are probably asking yourself, “Why just one key thing? I need help with a lot of stuff.” Well skippy trust me as you meet with people your conversations are going to massively digress into other things.
DO NOT be afraid to stop the conversation and say, “Hey that sounds really neat but, I have another meeting in 30 mins and really want to see if you can help me with X.”
The biggest asset at this conference you have is your time… so value it!
To quote the great Al Pachino in Heat – “Dont waste my motherfucking time!”
Write down the names of every company you feel is relevant to that 1 key thing that you need.
Prepare a hit list:
- For companies attending, goto their website and find a contact who can schedule a meeting fo you with the appropriate person. Most companies send a LOT of their staff. If you can’t find an email other than support call the number on their website. If they are difficult to get ahold of odds are you don’t want to be in business with them anyway.
- For exhibitors, try to arrange a meeting ahead of time so you can get past the booth babes/interns manning the booth. Worse case, just let them know what your doing now and you want to talk to someone about what they do. If they seem like dipshits ask to talk to an account manager or higher.
- For speakers, go watch them speak. Sit in the front row. Pay attention when they speak. Take notes. Make eye contact. Laugh at their jokes. When they are finished be the first person to greet them on the way down. Let them know what a great job they did and ask how you can get ahold of them. DO NOT ask them right there your question that you need advice or help with. Since I have spoke at over 50 conferences, I can tell you I am unable to give much value to people in the minute I have to think about what they are doing. Instead, just ask them “what is a good number to reach them at?” (usually they will give you their card) and let them know you will be in touch. Then give them your card. I always lose business cards (I get hundreds at a conference) when they are given to me so that is why it’s important for you get theirs.
Lube the deal:
Once you connect with someone ask them, “what they are doing later?” If you have a later meeting scheduled it will sometimes digress to the bar. Get a few drinks in people and you will be stunned at the amount of information they will disclose to you.
Most of the time they will give you some incredible inside information about other companies doing exactly what you are doing and their secrets.
Last year at Leadscon, I lubed a deal that literally turned into millions of dollars in profit for my company.
If you don’t drink or like to attend night events you are at a massive disadvantage. I have made so many relationships between the hours of 10pm and 2am. There is nothing like the bond formed at a strip club getting wasted until the wee hours of the morning. Many people here know what I am talking about. Especially ones making money with me 😉
Don’t get frustrated when people flake out or if you just can’t connect with them. It happens. People’s cell phones go dead.. People were confused about the time. I have been on both sides of it. This is where your alternate contacts can come into play or you go back to the conference hall to listen to some talks.
You would be surprised sometimes people you missed when going over companies.It could potentially turn out to be something that makes a huge impact in your company.
Don’t leave any “Black Holes” while you are sitting around twiddling your thumbs. Execute!
If you have not yet registered for Leadscon coming up NYC 23 – 25 then jump on it. It’s an excellent event and if you follow my steps above I guarentee you will get 10x ROI on your ticket price.
Speaking of ticket price, Leadscon is offering ShoeMoney Readers almost half off of the regular price – Get the ShoeMoney Reader discount here. .
This discount runs out this Friday, July 6th. So, if you have not registered yet get on it!