Networking Article from Networking Today Canada, Nat'l
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Trade Show Networking Strategies…16 Ways To Boost Your Bottom Line at Trade Shows
According to the Centre for Exhibit Industry Research, it costs 62% less to close a lead generated from a trade show than from one originated in the field. Whether you’re exhibiting or attending, leverage your time and actions.
- Have a plan. List with whom you want to meet and why. List booths you want to visit and why. Study the exhibit layout and map so you don’t waste time and energy.
- Spread out your resources. Don’t roam the room with your co-workers. If you’re exhibiting, rotate staff so energy stays high.
- Learn from those who attend as well as from those who exhibit. Talk to people who wander from booth to booth. Find out their interests. Invite them to your booth.
- Use the buffet and ubiquitous candy bowls as networking venues, not as troughs. It’s hard to exchange cards when you’ve got dip-covered fingers, besides, heavy food and sweets make you tired.
- Carry a small tape recorder or palm pilot. Record things you want to remember to do or the names of people to see. Capture new ideas. Adapt ideas from other industries.
- Be ready with case histories of your successes. Help visitors to your booth by painting a picture of how they could use your product.
- Speak at an educational session – this positions you as an expert. Invite your contacts to hear you speak. Let your customers know how your presentation went. Send them a list of the ideas you presented. Capture the contact information of your attendees.
- Introduce yourself. When you respond to a question in an educational session, say your name, company, or what you do. Seven words ought to do it. One more chance to be shine.
- Send a press release. Contact media in the town of the show about your hot new ideas. You could be interviewed in the paper, TV, or radio. Put a press release on your Web site.
- Get more business cards than you pass out then you’ll be able to contact people. If they have your card and you don’t have theirs, you lose control of the relationship building.
- Be proactive. If you’re working the show, don’t stay behind the table. Ask visitors about their businesses so you can show them appropriate products or information. Listen attentively.
- Ask the exhibitor the name of the person you should contact for your specific goals. Write that name on the exhibitor’s card so you can use the exhibitor’s name when you make the contact.
- Set up an appointment. If you want to speak more with an exhibitor or attendee, set an appointment. You’ll save time and be able to network with more people.
- Be visible. In a sea of exhibitors surrounded by a bigger sea of attendees, it’s hard to stand out. Volunteer to appear on a panel, introduce a speaker, or sponsor an award or contest.
- Attend trade shows that your customers attend or are exhibiting at. This is a great way to keep in touch with lots of customers at once.
Follow up immediately with important contacts. Separate all the cards and brochures you’ve collected into an A, B, or C pile. Hit the A pile first – even a brief handwritten note will remind them of you and your company. If someone requests information, get right on it.
Karen Susman is a Speaker, Trainer, Coach, and Author of 102 Top Dog Networking Secrets. Karen works with organizations that want to maximize performance. Programs include Humour at Work; Balance In Life; Networking Skills; Presentation Skills; and Building Community Involvement. Order new guidebooks on humour, networking, time management, and community involvement by calling 1-888-678-8818 or e-mail Karen@KarenSusman.com.. www.KarenSusman.com
Published in Networking Today, May, 2002.
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