No, that’s not a typo in the headline. If your company is like most, you just held your annual event in August or July.  The memories are still fresh, but won’t be for much longer.  Which means now is the time to actively collect the quotes, impressions and testimonials from your 2011 attendees that will help you sell next year’s event. Here’s how:

ASK– Reach out to attendees via whatever channels you can… email, Facebook, newsletters, conference calls and whatever else will effectively reach those who attended. Tell them the truth—you want to hear, in their own words, what they liked best about this year’s event.

HELP THEM RESPOND—Remind them of key announcements, guest speakers, training topics. Then ask them to write down what they liked and why.  How they’ve put what they learned to use since returning home.  And what kinds of positive results they’ve observed.

GO FOR SPECIFICS— Comments like “Best conference ever!” or “I had fun” are nice… and totally useless promotionally.  Ask for focused comments about specific topics or events.  Examples:

“After seeing Mary Smith train on recruiting, I had got a new attitude.  I also got 2 new recruits in my first month following conference.”

“I made at least 6 new friends at the first evening reception, and learned some great sales tips at the same time. You can’t do that on a webinar!”

“Hearing Leslie Stone’s testimonial moved me to tears.  I was not only moved, I was motivated to action.  I’ll promote out to Leader next month.”

Ask attendees to reply back via email by a specific date within the next couple of weeks. I suggest you also ask responders to include subject lines that will help you organize the responses, such as “2011 Conference Feedback-Training”.

Building attendance at conferences is likely to remain a challenge for many companies in 2012 and beyond.  The most powerful tools you have to accomplish that goal are positive and enthusiastic comments from this year’s attendees.  Get ‘em while they’re hot!

Writer/Events Producer Dick Wilson has been managing budget events, schedules and themes– plus all the other elements of direct sales conventions, for over 20 years. Learn more how Dick can help you at