If you do your research you can discover who to look out for whilst you’re there. Take a look on the event’s website and social channels, see who’s following them and who’s posting about the event. You’ll find a few promising people to look into further and with a little bit of online stalking to find their interests, connections you can also discover their potential to help you. All are key to sparking a great connection when you finally meet them at the event.
As part of your pre-event research, search for your potential investors on Twitter. For now, steer clear of LinkedIn as that will be the connector post event, and Facebook which is usually used for more personal connections.
Twitter is far more casual, it will allow you to inconspicuously discover what your potential investor is passionate about. You could also "favourite" and "retweet" that person by doing so, you will start to make an appearance in that person’s life which will aid in provoking a feeling of familiarity on meeting in person at the event. If you’re confident enough, engage with them on Twitter by commenting on one of their posts or asking them a question, just remember to keep an eye out for their response and make sure you select a topic you know well.
Some events host a forum on their website, so ideally you should introduce yourself on this too. Basically, just do everything you can to subtly catch the eye of potential investors – it’s all about playing the professional dating game, a little bit of warming up before going in for the kill... ;)
Just like dating, you need to build a balanced relationship so make sure that it’s not all about you, you, you! Ask them questions, listen and respond thoughtfully, this will help to develop a solid relationship built on mutual respect and common interests. Of course, don’t forget why you’re there, just pitch subtly in conversation at the event to gain their interest, exchange contact details and if possible, book in a date for a one-to-one meeting to discuss your proposal further.
You will want to sow as many seeds as you can, so once a conversation has come to a close go out and seek another potential investor. It will be hard work on the day but totally worth it once you have established connections and gathered the personal contact details of experts and influencers who have the knowledge and money to help your business grow.
Follow up after the event is essential, the first port of call is to add them on LinkedIn as soon as you get home to keep you fresh in their minds and to show your enthusiasm. Just make sure you’re LinkedIn is up-to-date and looking professional.
Maximise the full potential of your new list of contacts by sending them regular business updates, write to them individually – of course you can use the same base template but add personal details for each, whether that’s an anecdote related to something you spoke about at the event or just a personal note. They’ll appreciate the time you’ve taken to write to them personally about your business – if they don’t appreciate it they’re not right for your business or not ready to invest but good to have as a contact nonetheless.