How to find business opportunities at association events

As uncertainty around the economy continues to grow, it’s important to take a look at your business vulnerabilities and try to figure out ways to mitigate them.

Just recently rounds of layoffs have hit the high-tech industry hard. And if that’s the canary in this particular coalmine then multiple industries will soon follow.

If your consulting and training business primarily services the for-profit sector of the economy things could dry up very quickly.

After all when it comes to cutting costs, contractors, trainers and events are usually the easiest branches on the tree to trim.

So how do you safegaurd your business and keep your prospect funnel full during turbulent times?

The obvious answer is to get in front of more prospects who can hire your business. But how do you do that when everyone is cutting back?

Even in the toughest economy Associations continue to hold events. And those events need speakers – both paid and free.

Speaking to associations can be a valuable tool for growing your speaking of consulting business – even when the economy is tight.

Here are some ways that speaking to associations – even when you aren’t getting paid to speak – can help grow your business and find you more paying clients:

  1. Showcase to hundreds of prospects at once: When you speak to an association you are essentially showcasing your genius to hundreds of prospects at once. Remember – even when the economy isn’t great, some businesses continue to do well. And this is a way to make sure you are visble to them.
  2. Establish yourself as an expert: By speaking to associations, you have the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with a captive audience. This can help establish you as a thought leader in your field, which can lead to more business and higher fees.
  3. Networking: Associations often bring together professionals from a variety of industries. This can provide a great opportunity to network and make new connections that can lead to future business.
  4. Lead generation: Speaking to associations can also help generate leads for your consulting or speaking business. Attendees may be interested in your services and want to learn more – especially after a breakout. You can collect their contact information and follow up with them after the event to build on the relationship and present your pitch.
  5. Brand recognition: Speaking to associations can help increase brand recognition and awareness for your consulting business. This can help you stand out from competitors and attract new clients.
  6. Keep up with industry trends: By speaking to associations, you can stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and developments. This knowledge can help you better serve your clients and stay ahead of the competition.

Years ago I was talking to a very senior speaker at the National Speakers Association’s annual  Influence conference and she told me that it’s better to be a big fish in a very small pond. 

If you take that advice and dig deep into a specific association niche, through engagements at the local, state and national events you can quickly establish yourself as the go-to-expert in that industry.