Communication skills

Turning conference delegates into sales leads

- July 11, 2010 2 MIN READ

You’ve landed a great speaking spot at a national conference. The audience is full of prospects from your target market, and what’s more, they’re all looking up at the podium waiting to hear you speak.

The conference chairperson has just introduced you, and as you look out at the audience, all you can think about is how much money you could make if you could convert some of those conference delegates into paying customers.

So what do you do next to generate sales leads?

Don’t sell

Whatever you do, don’t sell to your audience. It might sound counter-intuitive, but don’t talk about yourself, your business or your products or services at all. (That includes telling them how much money they could save or how much profit they could make if they choose to work with you).

The conference delegates don’t care too much about how many employees you have or when you started your business, and the last thing they want to hear is a sales pitch.

Give something away

If you want to capture their attention, have them lining up to speak with you after your session, and ultimately create the possibility of a business relationship with them, give your audience something useful.

Really, really useful.

Show them how they can increase sales, reduce costs, or streamline processes. Straight away.

Choose something that will help them immediately, without any further assistance from you, as soon as they get back to their offices.

It has to be free. And if you can, make it something big.

Want more articles like this? Check out the  presentation skills section.

Get them to come to you

By not giving a sales pitch, and by giving the conference delegates something they want and can use, you have taken the first steps to establishing your credibility and trustworthiness. Now you’ll want to capitalise on that, but conference organisers rarely give out attendee lists, so you’ll have to get the delegates to come to you.

Two of the most successful ways to do that are to conduct a prize draw encouraging the delegates to put their business cards into a bowl so you can draw out a winner, and offering a white paper, copy of your presentation or something else useful that’s related to your speaking topic. All the delegates have to do is give you their business card at the end of the session and you will follow-up with them.

Provide value for money

Twenty years ago, you might have been excused for blathering on about your company, and what you could do for customers – but not anymore. If the conference delegates wanted a sales pitch, they could have invited you to their offices for free.

The attendees have probably paid very good money to hear you speak, so make it worth their while. Make it your goal for your session alone to be worth the price of the whole conference.

Keep the event organiser happy too

By packing as much useful information into your session as possible and avoiding anything that even remotely resembles a sales pitch, you’ll also keep the event organiser on side. After all, the last thing they want to deal with is a barrage of complaints from irate customers who feel they were sold to and didn’t get their money’s worth.

And if event organisers are happy, they’re more likely to invite you to speak at follow up events.

Have these strategies generated sales leads for you? If you’ve got any extra tips please share them below. For free. Your audience is waiting…

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"