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Effective Sales Techniques for Industry Conferences

RepVue Team
RepVue TeamMar 20, 2024

Industry conferences can provide a great way to sell your products or services to a targeted audience. But it’s important to have effective sales techniques in place to make the most of your conference experience. 

Here, we’ll cover some effective sales techniques to consider using while selling at industry conferences.

Product Demonstrations and Presentations

Industry conferences offer a great opportunity for product demonstrations and presentations. Attendees of industry conferences can be more open to seeing your product in action than normal and learn more about its features and benefits. 

If you plan to demo your product at the show, there are several key things to consider:

  • Will your product demo well in a chaotic environment, where you may only have brief periods of attention? Think of a conference environment as a place where you have 15 seconds to get someone’s attention — and then maybe 2 minutes to keep it if you’re lucky. Most people will only want to get a surface-level idea of what you do, and will follow up later if they’re interested.
  • If a full-demo isn’t really feasible, can you create a demo video that shows some highlights? Another advantage of a video is that it doesn’t require a person to manually run it. This way you can talk with someone while the video demo is running, or even pull some people in who may have walked by otherwise.
  • If it’s a software product, make sure that you have a demo environment set up that will protect any confidential information. Live demos are always risky! Are you confident that your product is stable and won’t display any bugs or glitches? Be sure to thoroughly test it in advance. It can be tempting to use a conference to debut the newest thing. Just be careful that you don’t try to show something off before it’s been fully tested.

Attendee Engagement

Another key consideration is attendee engagement. The more personalized, the better. 

Take the time to get to know the attendees and their needs. Ask questions and listen to their concerns. This will help you tailor your pitch to their specific needs and increase the chances of making a sale. Use personalized follow-up emails to keep the conversation going after the conference. 

If you have access to an attendee list, try to engage with attendees before-hand and give them a reason to want to meet with you.

Attracting Prospects to Your Booth

Think ahead about how to encourage attendees to stop by. 

Many booths will offer giveaway items, commonly referred to as “swag.” These are usually inexpensive items like pens, notebooks, or stress balls. Some booths will use food to draw people in. (The smell of freshly baked cookies or free coffee can be quite a draw!) 

Another common approach is to do a drawing or giveaway which attendees can enter by stopping by your booth.

Collecting Prospect Information

Be sure that you know how you will capture the contact info of people who are interested. 

In the old days, you’d collect business cards. But now many conferences require that attendees wear badges or lanyards with their name and company/organization/institution on it. Oftentimes these badges have a QR code or RFID chip that can be scanned, which allows you to capture that person’s contact info and record the fact that they stopped by your booth. There will be a cost to getting the scanner for this purpose. 

If you don’t want to pay this cost, you can always just capture a photo of the badge of attendees who come by the booth, and then use a service like ZoomInfo or to get their contact info. This can save you some money if you already have access to those databases, but if you’re already investing in a presence at the conference it’s usually worth it to get the scanner as well.

Follow-Up and Relationship Building

Following up with attendees after the conference is crucial to building relationships and closing sales. Send personalized follow-up emails to attendees who showed interest in your product or service. Include a call to action and offer to set up a post-show meeting or demo. Keep the conversation going and continue to build the relationship until a sale is made.

It’s critical to consider your timing with the follow-up. Ideally you can schedule your next interaction while you’re meeting with the prospect at the conference. But if not, think carefully about how and when you follow up. 

Usually when conference attendees return to their normal routine, they are swamped and have to catch up on what they missed while they were out. So sometimes the first day back isn’t ideal. But if you wait too long, the memory of what was discussed will quickly fade, and any progress that you made at the conference can be lost. 

Don’t let your leads go stale!

Measuring Conference Sales Success

If you’re planning to sell your products or services at a conference, measuring the success of your sales is crucial. Here are some key metrics to consider when evaluating your sales performance at a conference.

Lead Generation Metrics

One of the most important metrics to track at a conference is the number of leads generated. You can measure this by counting the number of business cards collected or badges scanned, the number of people who signed up for your email list, or the number of inquiries received during the conference. 

ROI Calculation

Depending on your sales cycle length, you may not know if a conference is a good investment for many months or even longer. But by tracking the source of your leads you can get a good sense of which events are worth the investment — and which you can pass on next time. To calculate ROI, you need to compare the revenue generated from sales at the conference to the cost of attending the conference, including booth rental, travel expenses, and other costs. 

If your revenue is higher than your expenses, then your ROI is positive and the conference was probably a good investment. However, if your expenses outweigh your revenue, then you may need to reconsider your sales strategy or choose a different conference to attend. 

There may be other factors to consider as well. What was the opportunity cost for the time that you put into preparing for the event, attending, and following up? If you hadn’t attended the conference, what would you have done instead?

Post-Conference Analysis

After the conference is over, it’s important to conduct a post-conference analysis to evaluate your sales performance and identify areas for improvement. This can include analyzing your lead generation metrics, calculating your ROI, and soliciting feedback from attendees. 

You should also look back 12–18 months after the show to determine whether customers who you met at the show renewed for additional terms. If they didn’t, then they might not be your ideal customer profile (ICP). Use this information to adjust your sales strategy for future conferences and improve your overall sales performance. 

By tracking these key metrics, you can measure the success of your sales efforts at a conference and make data-driven decisions to improve your performance in the future.

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