Let’s be honest, trade shows and conferences can be intimidating, but they’re also very important events to attend. It’s hard to guarantee that you’ll get a good amount of new business leads if you go in blind, so it’s worth making sure you have a good plan of attack to help make sure that you get a great result.
Have a clear process for greeting people
First impressions really are as important as people say. That’s why you need to make sure that you have a clear process for how you greet people and guide the conversation. Everyone representing your company at the event should know what points are key, and what kind of public-facing front you want to put across. This doesn’t mean having a call-centre-style conversation plan written out. People will be put off if your conversation sounds too rehearsed because it will make you seem less genuine. Remember the key conversation points, have a clear set of information you want to give and receive at the start of a conversation, but also let your individuality and interest shine through.
Hand out useful items
Let’s be honest, a lot of people want to grab as much swag as they can at conferences. Make sure that your freebies are of a good standard, and also make sure that they’re something useful that people could use again and again. One-time use freebies like sweets are great to boost people’s moods and make them more cheerful about talking to you.
However, items that provide value, such as a reusable water bottle, notebook, or USB memory pen, are far more likely to stick out in people’s minds than free chocolates. Giving out quality freebies also demonstrates that your company is willing to invest in delivering value and a good experience to users. To give your company name staying power, give away something useful like these awesome lights by IGO Promo.
Have a simple booth design
There’s definitely a balance to be found when planning your booth design. If you have a booth, you want to make sure that people aren’t scared off by too much text or too many tiny details. People don’t want to spend time standing awkwardly in the middle of the aisle trying to figure out if they want to approach your booth or not. However, you need to make sure you still have the basic information that people will need to see. At the very least, you’ll need your company name and main purpose on your banners, or you’ll risk losing interest because people won’t know what you do.
Do the rounds
It’s important to do the rounds and talk to people in the wild of the wider conference. It’s especially important to go and talk to people at other booths. You might find people who can benefit from your offerings, or at the very least you can make a lot more networking contacts. However, it’s important to remember not to push your talk and your freebies at all times. Don’t try to poach people from your competitors’ booths as this typically won’t earn you any brownie points, and it’s not good business etiquette. In fact, you want to stay very polite and friendly with your competitors. It’s also not ideal to try to talk to people when they’re queuing for food or for the toilet. No one likes to be bothered when they have something more urgent on their mind.
Try to give a talk
Giving a talk is a great way to get your business name out to a huge group of people all at once. Giving a talk also shows a certain level of professionalism as it shows that you are serious about going above and beyond. It also helps people have a face to put to your company’s name, meaning they’re more likely to seek you out and ask questions. However, this will only work if you can make an exciting and relevant speech. If you don’t have anything new or interesting to bring to people, you’ll risk having attendees associating your company’s name with boredom, so research how to give a good speech ahead of time.
Research your audience
Research is important in whatever you’re doing, and conferences are no exception. Know your crowd. Find out which competitors will be there, and find out what businesses there are that are aligned with yours but aren’t direct competitors. This can help you plan ahead for the most key bits of information to have on flyers or banners, and it lets you know of any potential difficulties you might have connecting with people.
Reconnect with people you already know
While your primary focus might be on making new connections, you should also actively seek out a chance to reconnect with people you already know. Show that you’re about more than just crushing an email sign-up target, add in the human touch and chat to people you’ve already networked with. Networking through small talk helps you make friends, and you’ll be getting in the front of their minds again, so it’s a win-win.
Make sure you look professional even at the end of the day
Conferences can be hard work. By the end of the day you might feel exhausted, have sore feet, and might just want to go home. Whatever you do, you should look refreshed all day. Make sure that everyone there for your company has ample time to rest between shifts. Have plenty of food, water, and places to sit down. Also, make sure everyone is well-dressed for the occasion.
Attending a conference is expensive, but it can have a hugely positive effect on getting your company’s name out there. With the right attitude, the right energy, and the right freebies, you can make sure that people go home with a positive outlook on what you have to offer.