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August 31st, 2007, 10:18 AM #1How To Get The Most Out Of Conferences
What suggestions would you make to merchants / affiliate managers, so that they can get the most out of the various conferences that they attend? What should they do in advance to prepare? How can they stand out at the conferences? How can they attract the right affiliates? What networking is most effective? What followup will produce the best results?
Some of this has been discussed before (and I linked to a few threads), but I think it's worth pulling it all together and discussing it again.
August 31st, 2007, 11:47 AM #2Originally Posted by MichaelColey
As far as attracting affiliates and networking, nothing takes the place of meeting people personally, one on one. It not only helps you (the merchant) but it also helps the affiliate to gain a factual understanding of who you are, what kind of person(s) you are etc. An eye to eye visit and unforced geuine conversation goes a long way toward establishing a clear understanding of what you do, what (if anything) separates you and / or your business practices from others in your niche, exposes potential affiliates to interaction with the merchant or AM, and begins to lay a foundation for a possible business relationship.
That you may "attend" a conference/summit/gathering etc is not an automatic ticket to networking. I see plenty of people at conferences who get nothing out of it because they do not extend the effort to reach out and introduce themselves, or to get to know affiliates through a handshake and verbal exchange (and vice versa).
I have many other thoughts on this, but I'm interested in hearing what others have to say, so I'll leave it at this for now and have a seat.
August 31st, 2007, 01:41 PM #3
I think its important for merchants/affiliate managers to get outside their comfort zones for these conferences. The goal is not to spend as much time as possible with the coworkers that came along with you. The goal should be for all of you to split your time when possible and meet as many new people as possible. Don't be afraid to sit down with people you don't know during the meals and breaks (these are some of the best time to make connections), even if they're with their "posse" of conference people. Introduce yourself and what you do, and be a good listener. Find out what they do, what their business needs are, and if you can match up business needs, great! If not, still great, because those people are now part of a growing number of friendly faces and friends that you make at these shows. Don't be afraid to make your own plans for the social gatherings at night. If there's more than one party or get together at night, split up with your team, and make sure you are well represented at these parties. Some of the best networking gets done when people let their hair down and have a good time after 8pm :-)
Most importantly, make yourself available and approachable. As an affiliate manager, there are sometimes more of you than there are of the affiliates you go to the conferences for, and this can be intimidating. The more personable you are, and the more you are genuinely interested in getting to know affiliates, the more success you'll have in making the real sincere connections. If you're not naturally good at meeting new people, put your game face on, and get out there! It's really important for business.
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August 31st, 2007, 01:46 PM #4
A possible related thread might be:
What's the best way for an affiliate to make the most of his/her initial affiliate meeting[s]/conference[s]?
Some of these events can be overwhelming for affiliates.~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
August 31st, 2007, 02:04 PM #5
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1) Do your homework. Identify who you want to meet, have historical results ready and help them plan.
You definately want to meet your biggest affiliate.
2) If you have new projects, give them the insight or bring them into your private program. Make them feel special.
3) Offer them a gift or something to let them remember you by. If you can afford it.
4) Buy them a drink or dinner.
5) Build a relationship, don't just pitch a sale. Treat affiliates with respect.
I have gotten to know many great people at summits/conferences...
August 31st, 2007, 02:08 PM #6Originally Posted by Stephanie Harris
Good point & observation, Stephanie.
Geno Prussakov AM Navigator LLC Twitter.com/ePrussakov We Manage: These affiliate programs My Services: Affiliate program management, audit, consulting, speaking
August 31st, 2007, 02:56 PM #7Originally Posted by Rhia7
Some things I would recommend for merchants:
Try to meet as many affiliates as possible. You should have several goals here:
1) Get to know your current affiliates better, to see what you can be doing to help them produce more.
2) Collect as many business cards as possible, so that you can follow up with people. Jot down notes on the cards, so that you can follow up more effectively.
3) Give them something to help them remember you and your program. Affiliates meet a ton of merchants.
4) Seek constructive criticism of your program, so you can improve it. Try to learn what direction affiliates are going in and what sort of things can make it even easier for them to work with you.
5) If you have a booth or table, or can get some space from someone who does, do a giveaway (and restrict it just to affiliates). That's an easy way to get a ton of business cards.
6) Let your top affiliates know that you'll be there and offer to set up time with them, buy them a drink, buy them dinner, or take them out somewhere that they would enjoy.
After you get back, followup is critical. Give them a few days to get settled in, then send them a special offer. At the very least, a little bump in commissions. Perhaps a gift or samples of your products. Or a signup bonus if they'll get active and/or hit certain sales targets.
If you promised them some sort of tool, get that built for them as quickly as possible.
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