How to Use Events to Drive New Small Business Client Leads
Many people attend conferences and trade shows to get the latest scoop on what’s happening in their industries. Events like these are also great places to meet top-notch professionals who may be able to assist you in your endeavors. The same holds true for accountants, tax preparers and bookkeepers. Just as you are always on the lookout for the best professionals to support you in your business efforts, other industry professionals are doing the same. Because of this, dabbling in the events space is a great resource to drum up business.
Susan Watkin, a Diamond ProAdvisor® with a thriving practice – Watkin Small Business Services – in Cobourg, Ontario, regularly grows her client base by having a booth at various key events. She recently shared with us some fantastic tips and tricks that newbies can utilize when dipping their toes into the event space. If you’re just getting your feet wet, make sure to take advantage of Intuit’s® Event Starter Kit. Call 855-348-9673 to get more details today.
Honing in on Your Target Audience and Key Events
The first step is to figure out which events you should attend. It’s important to know the types of clients you’re seeking and what software works for them, says Watkin. For example, if you want new clients on QuickBooks® Online (QBO), attend the events of people who are most likely to use the product, she adds. “The first thing that comes into my head for these types of clients are tech startups and entrepreneurs. They’re excited about technology; they want to be online,” she says. “They’re the right crowd and it’s important to be involved in their industry events.”
Before investing in a booth, Watkin suggests first attending the event as a participant to make sure the audience is indeed your target. Setting up as an exhibitor at a trade show is expensive, so it’s important to know if these are the right people to do business with, says Watkin. “Make sure you don’t go empty-handed though, as you never know when a lead-generation opportunity might arise,” she adds. “Arm yourself with marketing collateral to hand out.”
“Get a feel for the event. It might not be the event for you, and it might not be where you want to invest your time. Not every event is right for your product or service; however, if you feel confident that yours is the right product for these people, getting them onboard should be easy.”
The Value of Looking Professional
If the event is the right fit, it’s time to invest in a professional-looking booth. “The best investment we made was creating professional-looking signage,” says Watkin. “When attendees see a nicely done poster or banner, they are drawn to it. A booth puts your company out into the world and your booth’s professionalism shows that you take your business seriously.”
For Watkin, it has been valuable to include logos for the company’s affiliates and partners, such as Intuit, on her signage. “The branded signage from Intuit has helped draw people in because they see the unity between the two brands,” says Watkin. “People respect the fact that brands like Intuit trust us. It helps them know that they can trust us, too.” Co-branded signage and banners are included in the Event Starter Kit.
Besides outfitting the booth, don’t forget to offer enticing swag and promotional material, Watkin adds. Handouts, flyers, fun t-shirts and stickers can make a difference once an attendee heads home and sorts through what they picked up at the event. “Make sure your material and swag are all professionally done and high quality. You only get the chance to make a first impression once; make sure it’s a great one,” says Watkin.
Closing the Deal with Event Follow Up
While showing up is half the battle, the event follow-up is key. Watkin finds that offering the ability to schedule an appointment at the event has proven to be very successful. “At our last event, we literally scheduled appointments on the spot via a tablet. We were able to pair people we met with the right person on my team to talk to by asking some basic questions about what they were looking for,” said Watkin. At her next event, she’s looking to take this a step further by providing potential clients the chance to sign up, right there, with QBO, and then book a follow-up appointment.
Watkin shared the importance of knowing your team and what each person is best at. Put the right people in the booth, while others will handle the follow-up appointments. Even though you might be the business owner, if you aren’t the best at extroverted social skills, let someone else on your team handle that. “Collaborating at events and playing to each person’s strengths is key,” said Watkin. “It takes time to learn what works for you. What works for me may not work for everybody. Getting out there and doing it is the first step.”
Get started on your booth collateral with Intuit’s Event Starter Kit. From a sponsorship allowance to co-branded signage, this kit will give you the boost you need to start generating more leads for your practice at events. Call 855-348-9673 today to talk to our team about how this Kit can take your business to the next level.
Looking for other ways to take your practice to the next level? In addition to the Event Start Kit, we have three other unique offers you might be interested in – our Paperless Productivity Bundle and Mentorship program. Learn more about each of these programs here.