7 Things to Do NOW to Prep for #IFA2018

International Franchise Association 

Who else loves the week before the big annual conference in your industry? It’s the time to connect with old friends, reach out to new ones, and plan on meeting potential business partners. For me, this week is all about preparing for The International Franchise Association’s Annual Convention. Here are a few tips to have a great show!

 

1. Reach out NOW. The networking before the show can be as fun and productive as the networking at the show. Pick up the phone or send message today and get on someone’s radar before you both arrive.

 

2. Pack your business cards. Far too often I hear people at conferences say, “Oh, I forgot cards.” Sure, everyone can connect via email, text, Facebook, or LinkedIn after they converse. But be memorable in the moment and hand the person with whom you’re networking a physical card.

 

3. Listen to this week’s Social Geek Radio. Shameless plug #1: on this week’s show, my colleague Liane Caruso from Qiigo and I will deal out our top picks of events at IFA2018.

 

4. Plan your sessions and roundtables. There are so many speakers and panels that you want to hear that you should plan ahead to optimize your time. Shameless plug #2: please join me at the Roundtables that I have the privilege to facilitate:

  • Sunday in the Marketing Summit, we’ll be talking about Franchise Development and Social Media.
  • Tuesday morning in the Business Solutions area, we’ll be talking about Best Practices for Facebook Ads with my co-facilitator Matt Kurwoski, COO of Soccer Shots.

 

5. Download the App. A good way to keep track of your schedule, track the exhibitors you need to see, and synch your calendar is by using the official IFA Events app.

 

6. Check out Deb Evans’ videos. Deb has spent the last few weeks interviewing IFA members to find out what their plans for the convention are and what they’re most excited about doing there.

 

7. Pack comfortable shoes. I had the pleasure of visiting the Phoenix convention center and the surrounding hotels in November. Be ready to walk, and perhaps walk many blocks depending on which of the official conference hotels you booked!

 

 

5 Tips for Networking After a Conference

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We’ve read many articles and posts with tips on maximizing our networking at or before an industry conference. But what do you do after a conference to follow-up with the people you just met?

Most people have two go-to moves: send an email or invite them to connect on LinkedIn. Here are five ideas that expand on those two moves that might make networking with you more appealing:

 

1. Connect on LinkedIn with a personalized note.
The personalized notes you add to LinkedIn invitations now look like LinkedIn Messages when received. Until recently, these notes were not as easily noticed. When users made the exodus to the LinkedIn mobile app, they didn’t see the notes at all. But now your recipient will receive an alert that he or she has a message making the customized notes are even more important.

 

2. Change the timing of your email
Everyone sends a follow-up email the Monday after a conference. Why not connect the same day? Show the person you met that they are still top of mind later in the day or evening. If you can’t send a note while at the show, how about waiting one week? If there’s a real connection there, it’s worth waiting.

Either way, avoid getting lost in all the Monday morning emails and fires.

 

3. Hand-written note
My new “old” favorite. Emails, texts, and LI messages are quick and easy. For the most important new connections, take the time to write a note by hand and mail it. Your new contact will love receiving real mail.

 

4. Phone call
Pick up the phone when possible! But, when they don’t answer, don’t leave a voicemail. This is when you should send the email. No one wants to wade through their voicemail to hear your message. No one.

 

5. Share on Social
Share your pics from the event, the organizers’ links to handouts, or other sharable content immediately after the show. Use the conference’s hashtag so more people find the posts. Other attendees will find this helpful!

Last week on Social Geek Radio, Deb Evans and I discussed this topic in connection with some recent franchise conferences we attended. Please listen here or download on iTunes!

 

Franchise Conference Calendar

Tis the season for conferences in the franchise space! Here are some excellent opportunities in the coming months for CEOs, marketing & sales executives, and others to learn about innovations and network with peers:

  

Springboard
FisherZucker / Fishman PR / Entrepreneur
Philadelphia
September 25-27

 

Franchise Leadership and Development Conference
Franchise Update Media
Atlanta
October 11-13

 

Franchise Innovation Conference (aka FranTech)
International Franchise Association
San Diego
October 18-20

 

Franchise Expo West
MFV Expositions
Los Angeles
November 2-4

 

Emerging Franchisor Conference
International Franchise Association
Phoenix
November 6-8

 

Please let me know if you’ll be at any of these great conferences.

I would love to connect!

Jack@Qiigo.com