10 ways to “rock” at business exhibitions and be remembered
If you don’t promote your business at expos and business events, you really are missing out on a fantastic way to expand your brand reach and generate more opportunities for your business. BUT…in order to really maximise your investment (both time and cost), here are a few pointers to get you on your way:
1) Ask yourself “What do I want to get out of it?”
This could be to grow your contact base, book appointments, make a sale or two or just to keep up with the Jones’. Whatever the reason(s) think about how you can achieve that. If you are looking to book appointments, have your hand on your diary at all times – there’s no second chance at events and you have to get it right first time.
If you are building up your contact base, create a way that works for you so you can keep the information you have taken the time to gather. Also, make a note of what you discussed – it’s amazing how much of a blur the day will seem, just the day after!
2) Make your contact details and benefits visible to all
Not everyone will have the opportunity to talk to you directly. Display the benefits of your business clearly, in-line with your business branding. Not forgetting to keep your contact details high, big and clear so that people can see them from a distance. But here’s one final thought (and a personal bugbear of mine) – how about not making your QR code the size of a fully-grown person? It’s just as effective smaller, probably more suited on printed handouts that people can look up at their leisure. (QR code rant over!)
3) Use the best printed materials you can and make them count
Think about the quality of your printed materials. Clever print services are a useful tool to get your message across before even typing a word. Spending more per unit on business cards, for example, means that you will naturally give them out less – in essence this means you further qualify your leads as you are gauging if they are “worth it”. If somebody collects 100 business cards at an event, but only one stands out in terms of design, texture, look and feel – the difference could be whether they call you or your competitor!
In addition, remember to make all of your literature easy to reach – try not to make people run an obstacle course to get their hands on it.
4) Look at your Point of Sales (POS) materials. They are called Point of Salesfor a reason.
Does your company literature say what you do quickly and easily?
Do they portray the feeling of your business well?
Are they eye-catching enough to make someone want to pick them up?
If the answer is “no” to any of these, you need to re-think.
Unless you are un-matched in the copywriting field, consider getting some outside help from your contacts and clients – you’d be surprised at the opinions an outsider can form of your business without inside knowledge.
5) Dress for the part
As much as you are selling your business, you are selling yourself, too. Iron that shirt, do your hair, clean your tie (yes…these do actually need cleaning once in a while, chaps!). Give people the respect they deserve and let them see that you care, taking your business and their time seriously.
6) Enjoy yourself
Meeting new people and pushing your business forward is a very positive thing. Regardless of how much (or little) sleep you may have had the night before, plaster that smile across your face! The more enthusiastic you are, the more you will connect with people. If you wish you were somewhere else, people can tell from your body language, so shake it off and enjoy!
7) Engage, engage, engage
Here’s a challenging notion – listen. Take the time to find out about them. Establish a connection or a need that they have, but don’t go straight for the jugular – pouncing on every victim is a sure fire way to be “the one that people want to avoid”.
Also I wouldn’t suggest eating your lunch, picking your nose or standing around gossiping about those lovebirds at the office – the chances are that people will keep on walking by and you could have missed a big opportunity.
8) Follow up and reap the rewards
It is staggering how many businesses don’t follow up events effectively. Call or email your new contacts the next day so that you can establish a conversation outside of the event as soon as possible, and keep the heat going. This, again, is where having taken notes at the event on what you disused comes in very handy!
Also, if you are active on Twitter and the likes, think about social media marketing – can you connect over these channels too? If so…jump at the chance!
9) Continually review event success
A month or so later, did it go well all-in-all? Take stock of your results. If you won clients– ask them why. Equally (and in many ways more importantly), if you can get feedback from contacts you weren’t successful with it will give you a fantastic opportunity to improve and work on those finer details for the future.
It may take you a few events to get your “event mojo” on, but the more you review and assess, the more of an opportunity there is for improvement.
10) If you haven’t paid for a stand, please don’t pitch to exhibitors
Although unrelated to those exhibiting per se, this happens far too often not to mention, and has the ability to make you miss valid opportunities as other potential prospects walk right by. Not only that, but the sheer “cheek” of it actually does more damage than good and the business card goes straight in the bin.
Please don’t rock up with your free pass and sell to those who have put hard cash, time and effort into exhibiting – do it the right way. Go networking or have your own stand.
Enough said, I think!