Understand your clients better
Business conferences outside your field give you the unique opportunity to listen to your potential clients. They can offer valuable insights into their actual needs, ambitions, and problems you may not have realised they are coping with. This puts you abreast of your competitors, allowing to build your presence in completely new markets before they do.
When you attend them, some of the sessions may provide a lot of new information relevant to your business. Also, these speakers may answer questions that you’ve been pondering on, but haven’t really gotten answers to. You’ll also gain a better understanding of the industry of your client by learning important facts and developments, helping you to create roadmaps for businesses like yours.
Other than that, attending conferences outside your field of work can simply offer a fresh angle. It is also a welcome change from another conference in your own industry, with people blowing their own horns (but getting no new business).
Work your pitch
Writing business blog posts, emailing and LinkedIn networking from the privacy of your office may be much easier and cheaper, but it is nowhere as effective as engaging your clients in real life.
Attending a conference and talking to potential clients in person can help to hone your pitch. It can give you an instant picture of how effective your business communication is, and how other people perceive your services. Can you grab their attention? What impresses them? What are their most frequent concerns? It’s all easier to measure during talks with 300 participants than by 300 calls or emails. And cheaper to implement.
The formula is simple: pitch, improve, and repeat. On a big scale.
Your potential clients are there
When considering participation in a conference, do some research first. Follow the conference’s social media channels and the website to keep track of who is going to be there. There is a possibility that your potential clients are going too.
Do some planning. If you know the attendees, short-list relevant companies (or people) and think of possible things you can do for them. But don’t take them by surprise. If there’s someone you would like to touch base with at the conference, email them first and schedule a meeting. They’re just people — if they do not reply for the first time, email them again.
You can, for example, send them a series of regular emails before the event including helpful tips and ideas about how their industry is related to your business. Don’t be too salesy, remember that the primary goal is to be helpful and informative.
Your appearance at the conference presents you as active in your industry, a go-to company for their future IT needs. It also helps you to establish a reputation as an expert. And this is not a secret that people like to work with industry experts.
Meetings do not always have to end with a sale but allow you (and your client) to put a face to a name. Remember to also send a follow-up email after the conference to make sure your name sticks in the heads of the people you met.
Your competition hasn’t done it yet
History teaches us that thinking outside the box is often rewarded. Although attending conferences outside of your field may sound a bit counter-intuitive business-wise, it may actually be the secret weapon your company has always needed and, more importantly, your competition may not have thought about.
Why not give it a try and meet your potential clients at a conference for their area of business before they even think of attending a conference in your field?
Unofficial context is good for the business
There is a rule of thumb which says that people like doing business with people they like. And there is no better place than a conference to create unofficial situations and provoke better and more sincere conversations. Once you get in touch with people in real life (or even drink a glass of wine with them), you are less likely to be ignored the next time you email them.
Benefits of attending a conference for the industry of your client are plenty. Implementing the points above can not only bring business opportunities but also help you understand the people you are selling to, along with their problems and needs.