Making the time and financial investment into attending affiliate conferences can be significant for any affiliate business. If you want to boost your return on this kind of investment then you have to come prepared. Here are our top tips for maximising the networking that these events can present.
Define your goals and objectives
Before you even get to the venue, you should have clear on the goals and objectives you need to achieve. Do you want to speak to a specific set of people or do you want to shout about your brand to the masses whilst you are there. Research the delegate lists and reach out ahead of the event to secure meetings in advance. Remember everyone is going to be trying to maximise their time so diaries do book out fast. This will help you to be on your A game at all times, with your goals in mind you’ll be more likely to achieve them. When you consider what you want to get out of these meetings, you can more adequately prepare for them. Preparation is key as your time will be short to make an impact.
Prepare conversation starters
Never underestimate the value of having a few conversation starters in mind. These can help you break the ice and make a better first impression, relax a tense commercial discussion and you never know who you might meet in the lift! Don’t just talk about traffic, ask others which sessions they’re looking for or which they enjoyed, find commonalities with your counterparts and most importantly – LISTEN to see where opportunities can arise. This also makes you more approachable, which in turn might lead to further connections with people or companies that can really help you to grow your current business.
Engage on social media
Using the conference hashtags and getting involved in the event on social media will get you noticed before the event. Being a part of the online community can easily lead to real world connections, without a lot of additional effort. People gravitate towards those that are proactive, so put yourself out there host intelligent discussions and be personable, give , give, give – before you ask. Having a positive and helpful attitude will go a long way to make good connections in this business.
Always be prepared
These conferences also serve as a time in which to meet with affiliate managers and renegotiate your commercial terms, in which case you have to be prepared. Book your time with them first and foremost, as you don’t want to be attempting to catch them between meetings or at the end of the day when socialising has begun. You’ll want to ensure that you have a set time to speak to them, in which you’re ready to present the facts that will support your case. The easiest commercial negotiation is the one that has a spreadsheet prepared to back them up at point of discussion. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for new affiliate deals that you can leverage your own position with an existing manager.
Use your time wisely
While you might want to chat with everyone at a conference, you will have to prioritise the people that will bring in business for your brand. Don’t hover around people that aren’t ready to talk with you, just make the most of the people that are. When you can squeeze in additional meetings, you should! This will give you a higher return on your time. Check out people’s nametags where possible to figure out who is who.