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To many, spending a few days at a solar show feels like a waste of time. Shouldn’t you be out there  knocking on doors? But if you play your cards right, shows and conferences can yield an impressive  return on investment. The trick: be prepared.

Here are a few simple tips to help you get your money’s worth.

1. Event Selection

Carefully select the events you attend. It’s crucial to choose events that align with your business goals,  target audience, and industry focus. Attending random events that are not relevant to your business  may not yield a significant ROI.

2. Presentation Opportunities

If the event allows for presentations or speaking engagements, consider speaking at the event or  encouraging your team to share their expertise in the solar industry. This can position your business as  an authority and generate interest from a broader audience. Get in touch with event organizers at least  6 months before the event to explore opportunities they may have for speaking or presenting.

3. Have a clear objective

The first step to evaluating the outcome of any critical business decision or expense is to be as precise as  possible in defining how you will measure success. Once you have internally agreed on your strategy and  performance indicators, communicate them as widely and explicitly as possible throughout your team.  Ensuring everyone on the floor clearly understands their role and mission is key to hitting those  numbers.

Here are a few goals you might set for your team at a national conference.

  • Generate 100 new leads
  • Attract 50 people to your talk or workshop
  • Meet ten key partnership or supplier leads
  • Book 10 follow-up appointments for the week after the event

4. Do your homework

If the world belongs to those who rise early, the conference belongs to those who prepare early. If you  arrive on the first day without knowing who is attending, who is presenting, how the space is laid out,  and which workshops are relevant for your team, you are already two steps behind. Often, event  organizers like Intersolar will release a list of attendees and speakers in the weeks before the event, so  there is no excuse for your team to wander or miss important workshops.

Here are some of the things you can prepare ahead of time.

  • A clear schedule to ensure you have someone in each of the relevant talks or workshops • Available/optimal time slots to book meetings with potential partners
  • Nearby spaces or areas to host meetings or informal chats
  • Competitions or awards you want to apply for
  • Key attendees you want to connect with before the conference ends
  • Hashtags or social media groups you can leverage for visibility
  • Competitors you want to scope out on the expo floor

5. Create a seamless lead funnel

We have spoken about the importance of methodically following through on each of your leads, which  rarely holds truer than in a conference setting. If all goes well, you will leave the event with dozens of  new leads, so you need to make sure you have a clear, systematic way of categorizing, tracking, and  contacting them to ensure none of them fall through the cracks.

Here are a few questions you will want to ask yourself before hitting the expo floor.

  • What information do I need from each lead?
  • How will I quickly collect their data? (Hot tip: forms with less than four fields result in higher  conversion!)
  • Will leads get an automated message or email when filling out the form?
  • How will I define and characterize each lead to prioritize them appropriately?
  • How soon after the event will I follow up with those leads?
  • What kind of information or incentive would be most powerful for these specific leads?

6. Offer limited time incentives

One of the best ways to get people to act quickly or to foster loyalty is to create limited-time incentives.  We have previously shown you how to create and apply those incentives within Solargraf easily, so you  are ready to get creative and empower your team with great promotions.

The key here is to offer different incentives for different actions and steps in the lead process. Here are  some ideas for solar incentives that might help you build momentum and urgency around an event:

  • Fill out a lead form for a free solar checklist or guide
  • Sign up for a free consultation today and get $2k credit on your installation
  • Use promo code $OLAR$AVINGS for a free solar monitor

7. Networking is Key

Be sure your team understands the importance of networking with fellow attendees, competitors, and  industry experts. Building relationships can lead to partnerships, collaborations, and valuable insights.  Encourage your team to engage in meaningful conversations and exchange contact information.

8. Elevate Your Booth

If you plan to have an exhibition booth, provide tips on how to make it engaging and attractive. High quality visuals, interactive displays, and engaging activities can draw attendees to your booth, increasing  your chances of meaningful interactions. Allow attendees to engage in a hands-on activity. For example,  when the Solargraf team attends a show, we invite attendees to use our software to create a proposal  to show how quickly and easily it is done.

Make it a habit that the team take pictures or notes about booths or displays they like to inspire future  booths. Your booth should be ever evolving and improving.

9. Capture Data Efficiently

In addition to using lead forms, consider using QR codes or mobile apps to capture attendee information  quickly. This can streamline the data collection process and enhance the attendee experience.

10. Flexibility and Adaptability

Encourage your team to remain flexible and adaptable during the event. Unexpected opportunities or  changes in plans may arise, so being open to adjustments can help you make the most of the  conference.

11. Document Success Stories

Share success stories from previous conferences to inspire your team. These real-life examples can  demonstrate the tangible benefits of attending such events and motivate your team to maximize their  efforts. After this conference wraps up, ask the team to share success stories so you can use them to  inspire before the next event.

11. Post-Event Follow-Up

Having a well-defined plan for reaching out to leads after the conference is essential. Be sure everyone  is using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, like Salesforce or HubSpot, to keep track  of interactions and schedule follow-up calls or emails.

13. Measure and Analyze

Measure and analyze the ROI after the event. Track the leads generated, conversions, and any  partnerships or collaborations that result from the event. Use these insights to refine your strategy for  future conferences.

14. Measure the Cost

Measure the overall cost of attending the event. This should include not just registration fees but also travel, accommodation, and promotional materials. Calculating the total cost will help you determine if the event was truly worthwhile.

Is your team headed to an event soon?

Then, it is the perfect time to consider Solargraf for your business needs. Schedule a Solargraf demo today.