Radio Sales Today

RAB Sales Tips

Who doesn't love a conference?

The emails and texts are already flying in from people who want to "chat" next week at the Borrell Conference in Miami. I happen to be one of those people who enjoys the conference experience, meeting new people and learning new things. Some, however, panic at the thought of attending a large gathering. Why? Because they have to talk to "strangers." They might refer to themselves as introverts.

As a speaker, you prepare, you present and you hope that what you share resonates and makes an impact for those attending. After one such session, an attendee came up to me and said, "Great presentation, Schmidt, but I learn more at the bar than I do from any of you speakers." While some might be offended at that statement, based on my research, it made perfect sense. People who discuss what they learned, get more out of it and that usually happens at the networking functions.

In my experience, it's the activity in the halls, coffee shops and restaurants that provides the real value for conference attendees — it's the networking. As the world slowly starts feeling more comfortable in large public gatherings, we thought it might be important to share five networking tips from a recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine. As with most recommendations we make here, it starts with "pre-planning." Don't just show up; make a plan.

Create a specific goal for the number of people you want to meet at the event — Depending on the length of the conference, determine how many people you can realistically spend time with. A jam-packed schedule may look impressive but can be emotionally draining.

Break the ice before you attend — This is the pre-planning. Reach out, introduce and give them your "valid business reason" for wanting to spend time with them. If you wait until the conference, you'll miss most opportunities. Come prepared with three key points to share in the conversations — A great recommendation from the article – at the same time, a word of caution on this one. Networking is NOT about you, it's about the person you're meeting. So, you'll also want to prepare three great QUESTIONS for each engagement. Those questions come from your pre-conference research about the specific people you want to meet.

The person that talks the most loses the deal — The article suggests that 70% of the engagement should be you listening to the other person, not you talking. This is why we recommend well researched questions in advance. You learn more by listening, not by talking. People who have a chance to express themselves freely during a conversation feel good about the conversation. Those who simply hear you talk about you, you, you, will be unimpressed.

Always find your anchor — If you're lucky, you're heading to the convention with a colleague or friend. The article suggests that this is the person you can rely on to help with introductions and conference session recommendations. This is also the person who can help build your confidence and give you the courage you need to talk to random strangers.

Learning new things is exhilarating, and meeting new people can be fun and rewarding from a business standpoint. As with anything in the sales process, it requires preparation and planning to be at your very best.

See you on the road!

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at RAB. You can reach Jeff at or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP-Professional Development, RAB