We see it every year at the Marketo Summit—wide-eyed attendees wholly unprepared to make the most of this amazing networking and learning opportunity. They often leave with heads full but little accomplished.
Well, we’re Marketo Summit veterans. We’ve been around the block. And we know how to successfully navigate the event and make the most of the opportunities it offers.
If you’re planning to attend this year, here are some things you shouldn’t do…
DON’T act like a used car salesman. How many used car salespeople have you met and thought, “Well, this is a person I enjoy talking to and want to do business with!” Nope, me either. So why would you want to adopt this approach at a huge event?
DON’T be passive. Saying things like “If you know of anybody looking for…” is a passive way of trying to drum up business. Don’t be timid. This is your big chance to make new connections.
DON’T be pushy or too promotional. Listen to other people and don’t try to turn every conversation around to your offerings. After all, this is a good place to learn about other services that can benefit you, in addition to the other way around.
DON’T take a vague approach to appointments. Vague plans never hold up—the excitement and pace of the event overrides those generic “Let’s get together sometime” plans. Put it on the calendar and make it happen.
DON’T ignore existing connections for new ones. The Summit is a great time to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a while and solidify those relationships. Make time to catch up (and keep the above “Don’t” in mind).
DON’T wait for new contacts and connections to make the first move. Timely, personalized event follow-up is crucial for solidifying new relationships and keeping conversations moving forward.
…And here are things you definitely should make sure to do:
DO come with a purpose. This is not a look-and-see kind of event. Make a list of your goals and needs in advance so you know what you want to accomplish.
DO research who else is attending. Spend time figuring out who you want to connect with. Are there influencers you want to notice you? Successful entrepreneurs whose brains you’d like to pick? Talent you’d like to recruit?
DO come prepared. We’re always amazed by how many people don’t make the simplest preparations before the event. Make sure you have enough business cards to hand out. Practice your elevator pitch. These things matter.
DO brush up your networking skills. Networking doesn’t come naturally to all of us. Be a valuable person to chat with. Answer questions, provide solutions and just be helpful.
DO jot down notes on the back of business cards as you exchange them. This is a great networking trick. You’re going to meet a lot of people, and you don’t want to wind up with a ton of cards and no idea of which card connected to which person and conversation.
DO attend the parties and other conference events. Visiting booths during the conference is great, but these social events are where you really get a chance to build relationships and learn about who people are and what their company philosophy is. Be professional and don’t take too much advantage of the open bar!
DO follow up with the people you met. Whether it’s a new lead or a new friend, thank them for their time and make the appropriate suggestion for next steps.
Now that you know what to do and what not to do, we look forward to seeing you there!