Regardless of your industry or size, Business Exhibitions and Trade Shows are a proactive way of networking and gaining qualified leads. Meeting potential clients face to face provides you with an opportunity to begin building a relationship and can certainly give you an advantage over competitors.
1. Do your research
Having a large amount of people in one place brings a wealth of benefits, and you should approach the event with the same care and attention as if you were attending a meeting with one potential client.
Trade shows and business exhibitions generate big business, in 2013 the UK exhibitions sector generated a huge £11 Billion and it is reported now that 81% of those attending business shows have buying authority. Taking the time and effort to research attendees for the event and connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Learn about the business that they are representing and do some personal research that will give you the insight that helps to start a great conversation. They may not end up as customer, but they could become great advocate or referrer.
2. Get out from behind the table and don't take a seat
Nothing says “I am not really interested” more than sitting hour after hour behind the table (particularly if you are also behind a lap top or on social media)
Sitting behind the table creates a barrier to good communication, preventing you from engaging with attendees. Get out from behind the barrier and be assertive; on average 51% of exhibitors at business shows said that they truly value the face to face meetings they experience at exhibitions. And don’t forget to smile!
3. Tell me a story
A company logo is great for brand recognition but business is moving beyond that. You are competing against other stands for attendee’s attention and you have a fairly limited time to create a lasting impression.
Aim to appeal to your prospects on a deeper level; don’t pitch or opt for shameless self–promotion. Ask questions, be authentic and tell them who you really are, where you have come from, why you started the company. Show some personality! Share your company values and explain how do live them to gain both their interest and their trust.
4. Make a Stand
Your exhibition space will say a lot about your company – it’s easy to opt for traditional methods to market your organisation but we are in the digital revolution, so try be innovative and creative.
If budget allows try a unique style of stand with creative lighting that incorporates your brand’s colours. Digital presentations with sound will wow people and grab their attention. Interactive presentations or quizzes on handheld devices such an tablets or an iPad, are a fun and modern way to grab and keep the attention of those wandering around the stands at an exhibition. They are also great for capturing data.
5. How about a take away?
With your giveaways, consider your brand image, and what items reflect this. Move into the ‘tech’ realm with useful items such as customised USB sticks, mobile chargers, high quality branded note books and pens: All are both useful and in no way novelty.
If you are you using the event to launch a new product or service, think about giving a limited number away, in exchange for a testimonial – providing you with all important content for a later date.
Adopt these strategies and you will be engaged, memorable, and when you come to follow up after the event (and make sure you do follow up all your leads after the event!) you’ll be at the forefront of people’s minds, and making the most of your exhibiting investment.