On the road again! It’s been over a year since we’ve been able to get out and walk the cold, hard “carpet” covered floors of such trade show mainstays as the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Javits Center in New York and my home base of McCormick Place in Chicago, just to name a few.
With such a long layoff, I thought it would be helpful to provide some tips for those attending an upcoming show like PACK Expo or Supply Side West. Something tells me a bit of a refresher is just what we all need right now. Here are my top five tips for having a successful trade show experience:
1) 90% of your success depends on what you do before the show doors even open. Begin your drip campaign early enough so you can arrange your booth visits in advance. Even if that goal eludes you, there’s still a chance your name will resonate with your targets when you greet them in person (you’ll likely need to turn on the charm to make a good first impression, though).
2) Trade shows aren’t just fist bumps and taking samples. It’s about taking names, numbers, and enough information to deliver some targeted messaging upon returning from the road. Remember the goal is to inject new life into your sales funnel, leading to more pitches and new work.
3) Don’t forget about current clients. As a new business development manager, you may have moved aside after a target becomes a client and is in the hands of an experienced account director, but don’t forget to say hello. Stop by their booth and talk about how things are going. Remember, this client was a target at one point and became a client, in part, because of your rapport with them. I’ve found some of the best lead recommendations come from your existing client base.
4) We don’t need no stinking stigmas. Comfortable shoes or sneakers are a must! My feet and back hurt and if a good-looking pair of trainers are going to help me get through the 20,000-step day…so be it!
5) Follow up. You’ve gathered good notes from all your meetings and interactions, no matter how brief. Now, be sure to provide your new acquaintances with the targeted information they seek to bring them to the table to become long term friends and partners in line for the same goal—SUCCESS!