Making a Trade Show Work for You
The Business View – August 2019 / Small Business
According to Exhibit Surveys Inc.’s annual Trade Show Trends report, “84 percent of trade show attendees have the power to recommend, specify, and/or make final purchasing decisions. Perhaps more importantly, 49 percent came to 2012 shows with real purchasing intent.”
If trade show attendance and exhibiting is a component of your marketing strategy, there are simple ways to maximize your presence and build your business with key decision makers. Most importantly, trade shows can offer high-impact networking opportunities that every entrepreneur can leverage.
YFS Magazine (which stands for “Young, Fabulous and Self-Employed”) reached out to entrepreneurs to get their tips to network like a pro at your next trade show.
Attend your next trade show alone.
“If you’ve ever been to a trade show, you know it can be difficult to approach someone who’s already in a conversation. So don’t bring a guest to the ‘party.’ If you go alone, you’ll look more approachable and it’ll be easier for you to approach others, too.”
– Ronnie Castro, co-founder of Porch
Do your homework.
“Know who is going to be there and who you want to target. Some [trade] shows actually list attendees before the event and have a social interface to communicate with them.”
– Simon Slade, CEO of Salehoo Group Limited
Schedule meet-and-greets beforehand.
“[Develop] a target list of must-meet, great-to-meet and nice-to-meet. Be persistent in meeting with them either through setting up early morning breakfast meetings before the show hits, circling the show a few times in the afternoon or staying late.”
– Shawn Harris, founder and CEO of Nyopoly4
Create a lead capture system.
“Create a lead capturing and follow-up system, stick with it and follow up after the trade show. So many companies don’t think about how to capture the leads until they hit the show floor. By then, it’s too late.”
– Lauren L. Darr, president of LOI International
Engage in quick and relevant conversations.
“It is not how many business cards you hand out, but how many you collect. When you meet a person, make the conversation about him or her, not about you. The more interested you are in the other person and his or her work, the more memorable you will be to that person.”
– Jason Swett, CEO of Snip Salon Software
Perfect your elevator pitch.
“Have your elevator [pitch] ready. Be prepared to tell the highlights of who you are and what your company is about. You should be able to do this quickly, and your listener should walk away with good information and a desire to know more.”
– Lani Derrick, owner of Elle Dee Design
(You’ll find the most up-to-date list of exhibitors for the Mobile Area Chamber’s Business Expo at mobilechamber.com/calendar.)
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.