Latitude59 was the first Tech conference I ever attended and I had no idea what to expect. I laid out a simple game plan to get as much out of the experience as humanly possible.
Months passed. We were ready to raise our first round of funding for our platform that helps with measuring influencer marketing ROI and working with influencers globally. We successfully raised money from 3 incredible investors who we met at our first tech conference ever.
Here are a few of the most important parts of the plan I laid out that helped me close the deal and can help you in building successful relationships at L59:
The entire premise of having a strategy implies having a goal. What exactly are you trying to accomplish here? These goals shouldn’t be too broad and the more you obsess over this specific one the more successful you will be. This helps me set meetings with the right people to help see real business results.
Finding investors, finding new customers, finding users to give feedback, finding friends, finding speaking opportunities, finding media, all of these are great things to do. But which one will propel your company forward and how can you enact laser focus on that?
Every conference has its own preference for networking app. For Latitude59 it’s Talque. You better show them some love.
You need to use and overuse this app. The key to networking is breaking the ice and pre-planned meetings are an awesome icebreaker. A week out before the conference you should already be on your matchmaking game. Be thorough and friendly in your bio and hit everyone who might be able to help you hit your goal.
For 2 day conferences, we usually aim for each person to book 24 meetings in the app. The most important minutes in those meetings are the first one and the last one. This is where you set your first impression as a friendly, exciting person and end it with actionable next steps.
To really nail these meetings, know exactly how you might be able to provide that person with a valuable collaboration, and preferably know how you’re going to express that beforehand. Sitting down and staring awkwardly at each other is also super fun sometimes, but might not always end in closing the deal.
Now to completely contradict my last point, put down the matchmaking app. Mingle freely and find people shining outside of their phone screens. These people are diamonds in the rough.
Think about it, everyone super active on the matchmaking app is looking for something, that’s a good thing. But it leaves a lot of valuable long term relationships on the table waiting for someone to pick them up. Especially for people who are just there without a goal, but can provide great value.
In the crowds, at the food court and of course at the afterparty. There is an endless sea of amazing people to meet and you’ll enjoy the experience tenfold if you take the time to find them. So go out and smile, crack jokes with strangers, ask if the hot dogs are any good. Go show off your charming self.
Staying loosely in touch and getting caught up regularly is how friendships are built. For that reason, I much prefer Facebook or Linkedin connections to simple email accounts. How often do you scroll through your email contacts just to get reminded of people you might have forgotten? Exactly.
Set a game plan for the first touch point immediately before the meeting ends. Will you have a call next week, check in six months later, have a coffee tomorrow? You need an actionable game plan for staying in touch and if you don’t, you will lose this new found friend, investor, or customer.
That’s that. It’s not rocket science. It turns out that by being prepared, knowing your stuff and being friendly can result in exceptional results for your company. Conferences can be a godsend for early-stage companies and if you get this right, it could be one of your best time investments yet. So start setting meetings and if you see a Modash at L59, ask us for intros!