I enjoyed your recent article on attending conferences on P&I Online. However, I am curious what specific advice or thoughts you might have for a consultant, specifically one that focuses on non-profits.
Tips for consultants attending conferences
I sincerely believe that consultants can and should participate in conferences for many of the same reasons I mentioned last week.
Specifically, you should:
- obtain the list of speakers and attendees in advance to see if any of your clients or prospects will be participating, and
- determine if there is a panel discussing an investment topic for which your firm is known to be an expert and which you are specifically qualified to address.
Many conference organizers encourage consultants to speak because of their important role as the intermediary between the asset owner and asset manager. Furthermore, consultants offer a broad knowledge based on the nature of their overall consulting practice. A speaking role also will provide an opportunity for you to distinguish yourself and position your consulting firm in front of an audience that will certainly include some prospects and most likely a client or two.
But also as I said last week, if you attend a conference you really need to “work it.” Make it your goal to meet at least five new prospects that you can follow up with over the next two to three weeks. Be aware, however, no one likes to go to a conference and be aggressively sold to, so just ask a lot of questions during the breaks and the scheduled events and collect as much intelligence about the pension fund or endowment as possible.
In any normal interchange between professionals in the investment management industry, the person to whom you are speaking will ask questions about your consulting firm, which will give you the opportunity to educate them about your firm, the team and the types of clients you have and the services you offer. Of course if you have clients also in attendance this will give you an opportunity to reinforce the relationship and to determine if there are any issues your client has that your firm hasn't adequately addressed.
In short, conferences will provide you an excellent opportunity to meet some interesting prospects and see some of your existing clients.