If you’ve decided to attend a cannabis conference, you’ve already taken a significant step toward the continued growth of your business. These conferences are an effective way to develop face-to-face relationships. However, it can also be easy to get lost in the deep sea of vendors, suppliers, retailers, and speakers. By following some simple steps, though, you can maximize your time and leave the conference with an air of accomplishment.
Set Specific Goals
Before looking up flights, checking hotel prices, or even logging online to search for conferences to attend, you should know why you’re going. That is, you need to set specific and appropriate goals. Whether it be completing a certain dollar amount in purchase orders or handing out however many business cards or attending X number of seminars, giving yourself a specific target will force you to think about what’s needed for your company and how to determine whether the trip was a success or not.
Time to Research
Once you know your goals, it’s essential to find the right marijuana business conference to attend. Some will be all-encompassing and provide networking, educational, and job seeking opportunities for processors, producers, retailers, and wholesalers. Others may be focused on only certain segments of the cannabis industry and be almost entirely impenetrable by anyone who operates outside that specific sector.
Check out the conference website for the schedule of events as well as any potential speakers. Scour social media to help match faces to names and start compiling a list of potential vendors and individuals to seek out at the conference. If you can set up a time with them before the event officially begins, you’ll be ahead of the game by the time you arrive.
Choose Seminars Wisely
Whether you’re a conference newbie or a seasoned veteran, it’s easy to feel entrapped by the need to attend every seminar the conference puts on. When you’re feeling this way, though, make sure to stick to your list of goals to pick what speech or workshop is a must-attend. Again, do your research and see if the speakers have any videos online. If they pique your interest and help achieve your goals, make sure to attend. It’s okay to build out a “maybe” list here, too, to be used as a back-up in case initial plans fall through.
Socialize and Schmooze
If you’re attending a conference, it’s ostensibly to make face-to-face connections with others in your industry. So, put in the time to make those introductions and grow those relationships. Attend social events and introduce yourself. Bring a pile of business cards along with a pen. Whenever possible, include a short message on the back of each card you pass out to help memorialize the moment with the card receiver, as well as note your incoming cards to help keep people and businesses straight afterward.
Utilize Social Media
This advice may seem counterintuitive since the point of a cannabis conference is to socialize in person, but referring to and engaging in social media can help you plan your day and track talked-about happenings. Many conferences will have a hashtag for attendees to use when posting photos or reactions to seminars on at least one of LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
Engaging with the hashtag can help promote your business and connect with potential wholesalers, retailers, or VIPs. Spending 10 or 15 minutes online when you’re waiting for a presentation to begin can be an effective use of time that would otherwise be spent just waiting.
Recap Your Day
Spending all day meeting people and attending seminars can wear you down throughout the day, making it difficult to remember specific moments or people days or weeks later. Making it a habit of spending each night processing and debriefing what happened and whom you met will aid in cementing new names and faces in your memory.
If you collected business cards throughout the day and weren’t able to put any notes on them at the time, write down what you can remember now and file the business cards away. If there were productive sales talks or you met someone who could potentially help you with a significant business problem, send them a quick email to thank them for talking and schedule next steps. Finally, before you forget, add any scheduled meetings to your calendar.
Follow Up Quickly
When the conference is over, it becomes necessary to keep the embers of any burgeoning relationship tended to. Follow up with new clients and potential partners by phone or email. Set up in-person meetings to further build durable connections.
Once you have these steps down, it’s time to find the perfect conference for your needs. At Indo Expo, the premier marijuana trade show, we provide a professional platform for all aspects of the cannabis industry to connect and grow.