Going to a solar conference? Here’s how to Network the RIGHT Way.
Whether you operate a residential or commercial solar company (or both), your presence at US solar conferences is key to the growth of your organization. Both presenting and attending offer the potential to network, as well as a myriad of opportunities to learn about new advancements in industry trends and technologies.
How Do You Network at a Solar Conference?
Before you start buying passes to solar conferences across the US, it’s important that you know how to effectively network at one of these industry events. Simply showing up and milling around the grounds isn’t going to do anything to grow your business. A solar conference is a participation sport.
1. Map Out Your Schedule
Most solar conferences have multiple events happening concurrently. If there are seminars on commercial solar sales training, software discussions, and roundtables on the future of solar energy all happening at the same time, choose one that is most conducive to growing your business. Network with the panel and the other attendees and expand your knowledge (and Rolodex ) even further.
2. Have Your “Non-Pitch” Pitch Ready to Go
Even if you’re not “pitching” in a traditional sense, be ready with a succinct introduction that describes who you are, what your company does, and most importantly, your unique selling point.
Not every conversation will lead to a lead or a sale in that moment, but you never know who might introduce you to your next deal.
3. Come Prepared with Business Cards
No, business cards aren’t dead, especially in the solar industry. And, if you attend a solar conference, chances are at least one person is going to ask you for yours. Not having a stack of business cards at the ready diminishes your professional reputation and reduces your chances of making a sale.
4. Update Your LinkedIn
It’s a fact of this industry that people are going to go to your LinkedIn, whether to scope you out as a potential service provider or simply to connect with you and join your network. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is active and up-to-date before you walk through the solar conference doors.
5. Collect Content for Social Media
Social media means one thing: relevance. The content you collect for your social media channels while networking at a solar conference isn’t for the other attendees, it’s for your customers and clients.
Consumers want to work with solar providers who are at the head of the industry. Sharing your experience at a solar conference with your social media followers builds the know, like, and trust factor with your audience and contributes to your industry authority.
6. Seek Out Speaking Opportunities
When networking at a solar conference, don’t just pay attention to the speakers; figure out how you can become one.
One of the best ways to attract the attention of those in your industry is to host a seminar on your solar niche. The more people that you can get in front of, the more people who will approach you afterwards and want to connect.
Here’s What You SHOULDN’T Do When Networking at a Solar Conference
Now you know how to get the most out of your time at a solar conference. But what should you avoid?
Remember: the solar industry is as small as it is large
Don’t Be Afraid to Meet the Competition
Even if your direct competitors are in attendance, introduce yourself. Not only does this give a professional impression, you never know when you might want to collaborate with, who you might merge with, or who you might want to sell your solar company down the line.
Introduce yourself to the competition. Be professional. Be approachable. You won’t regret it.
Networking at Solar Conferences: Is it Worth It?
Both B2B and B2C solar providers benefit from attending a solar conference. Conference attendees can connect with other passionate solar industry professionals, learn more about new happenings in solar, and advance their careers.
Now that you know HOW to effectively network at a solar conference, it’s time to go put it into practice!
Find a solar conference in your area (or in an area you want to serve), and go out there and network your ass off.
Until next time: Go sell somethin’!