Conferences, trade shows, and other industry events are essential as they allow businesses to stay in touch with customers, meet and network with industry greats, and learn more about new developments and trends in their industry. These events also give businesses a chance to promote their offers to potential customers and establish a more solid base with present customers. But if you are planning to go to a trade show, conference, or another key event, you should get as much out of it as you can. Here, then, are some top tips for optimising your trade show or conference attendance.
Prioritise an early registration
Whether your trade show or conference will go on for the next several days or it’s just a one-day event, you want to make sure that you register as early as possible. After all, you don’t want to get stuck in a queue while your competitors are already out working the room. Arrive at the event early and take the time to walk around and become familiar with the area as well.
Divide the team
If you are going to a trade show or conference with your colleagues, make it a point to see and listen to as many talks as possible. If you all attend the same discussions, events, or sessions, this defeats your purpose of networking with as many people as you can. Divide the team so that every one of you can attend a specific session or event – by doing this, you can all learn something and take some insights back to your business. If you want, you can plan an early supper or lunch so that you can regroup and talk about what you’ve seen and learned.
If you fly solo for a significant part of the event, you can also meet and network with more people than if you were attending every session or event as a pack.
Engage your customers
A conference or trade show is also the perfect opportunity to engage with your customers. Even if you regularly exchange emails with your customers, nothing can compare to an interaction that’s face to face. And if your relationship with your customers isn’t as ideal as you want it to be, this would be the best time to address issues (although if you feel you can’t solve the problem right away, it’s best to set another meeting after the event). If, on the other hand, everything is going well, then connecting with your clients lets you reinforce and strengthen your relationship with them. You may even get to do some upselling, so don’t forget to bring key materials such as brochures, flyers, leaflets (especially if you have new offerings) and place them in an attractive A4 document folder for your customers to take home.
Deal properly with new prospects
A trade show or conference is also a great time to meet new prospects. Once you meet with them, listen to what they require and make a demonstration on how your product or service can help them with their requirements. A reminder, though: when you meet new prospects, don’t expect the meeting to give you a deal right away. The prospects are there to learn and get a few insights – they’re not there to decide on the spot. Instead, use your conversations to set up future meetings and discussions where you can address specific questions.