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Advisors, Private Equity

Why Deal Professionals Should Attend Industry-Specific Conferences

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Attending conferences certainly is not a new concept for investors or intermediaries. Events have been, and continue to be, one of the trusted methods of deal sourcing and business development for deal professionals.

However, while investors and intermediaries spend much of their time on the road attending finance-specific events, many are passing by a potentially valuable market: industry conferences.

Benefits of attending an industry-specific conference range from making valuable networking connections, to education, to staying up to date on trends and regulatory issues. And, as specialization becomes more and more important in today’s market, in-person industry events will allow you to hone in on that specialization and learn things that are not attainable through research and reading.

No matter what your goal is for a conference, you can be sure that you’ll find something interesting at an industry-specific event.

Networking

Every deal professional knows that conferences are all about networking, and, furthermore, finding businesses that can translate into a deal.

Industry conferences will provide a wealth of private companies to explore. However, don’t expect to find transaction-ready business owners or CEOs around every corner. Oftentimes, it is department heads that attend conferences on behalf of their company, and in the case of exhibitors, it will oftentimes be a sales team.

In an ideal situation, you will be able to connect with someone from the management team, or, at the very least, an employee who will be able to make the connection for you. But, even if you’re not able to link up with a decision maker, don’t view this as a failure; this time can be used to absorb insight and learn about the company at hand.

(Remember: If you do find an interesting company and need to find the relevant contact to connect with, don’t forget to check and see if they’re on Axial!)

The other thing to consider as you’re meeting new contacts at an industry event, is that this is a prime forum to source industry experts and potential operating partners. Senior- or executive-level professionals at these events likely have a lot of industry expertise, and these may be people that you can potentially tap in the future when you need a CEO or an advisor for a specific project.

Education & Staying Up to Date

For industries that have regulations that are always changing — think energy and health care — industry conferences are a great place to hear from the horse’s mouth what regulatory changes or updates are most concerning for businesses.

Industry trends are another area to explore while you’re surrounded by experts. While most investors and intermediaries have a fairly good idea of what’s going on in their areas of specialization, it can never hurt to dive in a little deeper.

By talking to the attendees at these conferences, you will be exposed to thoughts and ideas that you may have never come across otherwise. You’ll see some of the new players in the market, see what the older players are up to, and what kind of innovations are occurring. Whether you’re a new analyst or a veteran of the market, it never hurts to immerse yourself into an environment that is full of knowledge and experts.

Breaking into New Industries

It may not be run of the mill for investors and advisors to break into completely new markets, but it certainly does happen. In the case that you are planning on bringing a new industry specialization into your firm, industry-specific conferences can be a great place to get your bearings.

In the past, investors have been surprised at how much know-how they were able to pick up at industry-specific events. Attendees at the event may not be used to seeing deal professionals, but that could work in your favor and encourage attendees to open up about their experiences. This is a great chance to ask these companies about their stories, their business models, and maybe you can even learn about some of their financials.

However, keep in mind that you don’t want to appear as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. These events should not be a deal sourcing solution, and you do not want that to appear to be your motive. This is really a time for curiosity and long-term relationship building, not short-term deal flow.

By immersing yourself into one industry for a day — or more — you will really be expediting the learning process.

Don’t know where to get started? Below are a few upcoming industry-specific conferences: 

 

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