Today I want to finish this series with some thoughts for maximizing your results through follow-up after you get home from the conference.
1. Always implement at least ONE idea you learned at the conference.
I usually learn much more at a conference than I can possibly implement right away. However, I make it a point to implement one idea right away. It may come from one of the seminars or presentations. It may also come from one of the meetings you set up earlier. Either way, that one idea usually makes the whole trip worthwhile. And I still have the rest of those ideas I can work on later.
2. Follow Up With Thank You Cards & Phone Calls
Emails are cheap. They don't take much effort. Accordingly, they don't produce the best results. Follow up with a thank you card if someone did something nice for you. Make thank you phone calls to the others.
Ask them to join your network on LinkedIn. Arrange to meet at a different conference you will both be attending. Ask questions about how they are implementing what they learned at the conference. Pick up where you left off.
After this, emails will be fine for staying in touch to maintain the relationship.
3. Offer Something of Value
Invite them to visit your office or take them out to lunch when they are in town. Offer to send them a form you created from an idea you discussed at the Conference.
You don't measure the ROI on attending a conference based on the number of business cards you collected or the information you learned. Ultimately, it is about relationships. How many did you make, and how long will they last. You may not meet the referral source of your dreams at the conference.
But I am confident about this: You will meet more people at your next conference than you did at the last one. You will be more productive, and you will have more fun.