Sales conferences provide a break from the daily grind, whisk you away to an exotic location, meet some new people, hear some speakers and have a lot of fun. How can you make the most of a sales conference? One way is to plan your time, hear the best speakers and attend the most beneficial workshops. Conferences are full of people you need to meet. These are people that can have an effect on your career for years to come.
You can waste valuable conference time by hanging out with co-workers or people you know back in your home town. Conferences are the place to make new connections and build relationships. How can you target those people at the conference? A Forbes article, “5 People you MUST Make Friends With At Conferences,” identifies those people you should seek out at your next conference.
- The Entrepreneur. Seek out entrepreneurs and find out how they got started, built a customer base and became successful. Pick their brains, especially if they're successful. You may learn more than sales techniques. Entrepreneurs with growing businesses need sales people, partners, affiliates and connections, and are always looking for ways to grow the business. Entrepreneurs, like Richard Branson, typically love to share knowledge, so ask them questions.
- The Keynote Speaker. He didn’t get to be the headliner by being second best. Keynote speakers at large national confrences earned the right to be there. They are usually recognized experts in their field and have lots of connections, thriving businesses and lots of success tips to share. Share in their enthusiasm and positive personality. In general, it's a good idea to watch keynote speakers online to get a feel for what type of presentations you like and improve your own speaking skills.
- The Rogue Mid-day Speaker. This man or woman is on the way up, full of energy and ideas on how to get on the fast track. Keynote speakers may be reluctant to share their secrets, but the rogue midday speaker is eager to share. There’s a reason they were able to get a spot on the conference agenda, even though they haven’t written a best seller or made their first $1 million. Grab a drink, settle down and learn from this go-getter.
- The Event Organizer. She knows everyone—the speakers, vendors, caterers. Everyone, really, at least on paper. If she organized this event, she is probably doing more. That means she is looking for keynoters and midday speakers for other conferences. With the advice from the Rogue Midday Speaker you just had lunch with, you may be able to impress the Event Organizer to let you take a spot at the next conference. If not hers, she knows people who may need your talent for their next meeting.
- The Manic Job Seeker. If you meet this person at a conference your first impulse may be to run the other way and avoid him every time you’re in the same room. After a few polite interchanges he goes straight for the job pitch. You know what he's there for, and that trying too hard to get a job at a conference may just backfire. You have to admire his determination. Just paying the conference fee gives him a couple of points. Taking the risk of investment without a guarantee return shows initiative and confidence. Share your successful job search tips. If you help this desperate job seeker, he may become your biggest fan and friend, eager to return the favor.
?Conferences are more than picking up all the free stuff you can and amassing piles of business cards. They are about learning and making connections. These five conference types can help meet the people that matter most to your learning experience and career.
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