Here's my top three things to do:
1. Buy the attendee list and contact the important ones over phone well in advance. Incentive them to come to the booth, even better a 1:1 meeting.
2. Throw a private party: Most important part of a conference! Sponsor a private party.
3. Use a speaking engagement to meet prospects: Nothing builds credibility, sells better at conferences like a team member do a speaking gig.
Throw a private party: Most important part of a conference! Sponsor a private party. Have a theme that relates to your solution; hand deliver the invitation; use personalized videos; use pretty faces to deliver the note; make sure prospects can't say no. A partner last year held their party off the conference on a boat, called in a standup comedian and had a reference customer give a sales talk on their experiences.
Invite the prospects through all possible channels; 1:1 meeting, snail mail, emails and phone call campaigns. When they call back, qualify the prospect. The goal is to filter out the A-list of prospects, ones you'd want to have your CEO, CTO invest time with at the party.
The hook; when show time is ON: You'd have a client's attention only if you solve their immediate needs. Time matters, so stand in strategic places in your booth; from where it's easy to read names on badges. Make sure prospects can easily spot exciting goodies first (raffles, alcohol, food, water, golf balls etc ) so they are drawn in.. As they review your marketing banners, quickly decide if further intervention is warranted. Greet prospects by their name. And if the name rings a bell on the prospect hit list, immediately start the conversation. Hand them the party invite.
Never let a prospect leave without an agreement for the next meeting.. Simple things you should get is their cell number, and a quick connect on LinkedIn via the mobile app. Then do the soft talk.. Get their purpose for attending, what they like this year about conference, relevance to your offering and most important .. something personal.. what about life makes them sizzle.. Notice there's little product talk at this point.. Let's save that for the party session in the evening or next week in their office.
Use a speaking engagement to meet prospects: Nothing builds credibility, sells better at conferences like a team member do a speaking gig. Have a catchy title, send invites to potential prospects to attend session, solicit their feedback, connect with them after the session to plan next steps. Make your prospects feel they matter. It helps build trust. I hardly see reps going around the conference room introducing themselves, getting to know attendees and their interests in attending your session. Give the attendees goodies at the session; it helps ease the process of breaking the ice.