Attending a trade show can be one of the best ways to move your business forward. Many of the attendees are either running their own business or hold a position that can influence a business. This means that networking can help you accomplish everything from generating sales to forming partnerships, just by connecting with the right person. Here are five networking tips you can use to make the most out of your next trade show event.
- Attend or Organize Events Before or After the Trade Show
You can do anything from gathering a group of people in your industry before the show or setting up a small dinner after the show to improve your networking odds and speak in a more relaxed environment. If you go to sites like Meetup.com or subscribe to industry newsletters, you’ll often find that there are pre and post events that you can attend as well.
- Look for Unique Trade Show Booths Relevant to Your Industry
Many companies go above and beyond to set up interesting and interactive trade show booth displays to grab attention. Many attendees will gather in these unique trade show booths, so you want to be there if the booth is relevant to your industry. The setting will serve as a great conversation starter while also being a hub that brings in people that are in your industry.
- Have the Right Questions and Your Elevator Pitch Ready
Effective communication is incredibly important at an event where you’ll be meeting many people. You want to make sure that you have an elevator pitch to explain who you are and what your company does so that you can respond effectively. You also want to have the right questions ready so that you can figure out if the person you’re talking to is somebody you may want to do business with. Questions like “what kind of vendors are you looking for?” and “what are some of the challenges you’re having in your business?” are some examples of great ways to figure this out.
- Set Up a Lead Capture and Follow Up System
If you’ve had a great interaction with somebody that can be a possible client or business partner, you should have a lead capture system ready to send them information and continue following up with them. Simply ask them if they’d like to be added to your newsletter or list. Also, make sure you get their phone numbers and remember the specific details so that you can personalize your message for the next time you get in touch.
- Just Be Social
While this sounds simple, many attendees often forget about being social and treat the trade show as one giant pitch fest. You want to check out other booths, talk to different vendors, attendees or even members of the exhibit design firms. It is important to connect with people as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You’ll find that sales, referrals, and partnerships will often result from being social and forming relationships. They seldom result from a single contact.