OREANDA-NEWS. October 04, 2016. Am I looking forward to attending Dreamforce this year? Yes, but not for the reasons you might think.

I'm done with the crowds and the incessant pitching on the tradeshow floor. I'm done with pesky sales reps at the Expo pressuring me to let them scan my badge. Not happening! I don't want a barrage of cold emails from reps following up to thank me for attending Dreamforce and visiting their booths (even if I never actually visited their booths).

But I cant wait for the chance to network with clients and prospects, make new connections, and learn from top sales leaders.

Dreamforce is a fantastic sales event, but having a good experience depends on the effort you put in. Heres how to get the most out of the event:

1. Listen and learn. Main stage sessions are streamed, so even if you can't attend certain presentations in person, you can still get all the information. Learning is exciting and transformative. Thats one of the key reasons Ive attended Dreamforce for the past three yearsthe first year as a guest blogger for Salesforce and then as a speaker in 2014 and 2015.

2. Network like you need it. Like at any conference, real business is conducted "in the hallway." Its up to you to connect with clients and prospects, and meet new people. Many sales pros make plans to meet up with clients and prospects outside of the event. Some dont even attend the event, but accelerate their sales process by using Dreamforce as a reason to meet prospects coming in from out of towneven from out of the country.

3. Train your tradeshow team. Working a tradeshow is hard. I've done it. But reps need training on how to engage people and have conversations. That means losing the "corporate speak" when I ask about their companies. I watch them winding up to pitch me the same pitch they've already delivered to the hundreds of people who stopped by before me. How about asking a question about my business? Or perhaps a provoking question about trends I'm seeing or challenges I'm facing. Tradeshows shouldn't be contests to see who can scan the most badges, nor should those contactsmost of whom probably just stopped by for swagbe considered sales leads. Top sellers know how to have conversations and qualify real sales prospects.

My favorite thing about Dreamforce is the chance to get out of my office and learn from other sales thought leaders. I've found its one of the best ways to spark my creativity. Ideas seem to pop into my head when I'm connecting with so many smart, talented sales professionals. Of course, great ideas dont really come out of nowhere. Theyre always percolating somewhere in our brains, but sometimes we need to break out of our routines in order to access them.

Start inviting people to connect with you at Dreamforce. Spend time talking shop with other people who inspire you. Meet new people and begin relationships. That's real-time selling.

Joanne Black is Americas leading authority on referral sellingthe only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and author of NO MORE COLD CALLING: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. To learn more, visit www.NoMoreColdCalling.com. You can also follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.