Updated: Nov 24, 2019
Participating at exhibitions, Conferences and Seminars as an exhibitor, a speaker or an attendee all offer excellent opportunities to increase and grow your business.
At the same time, you are inundated with huge amount of new information in a very short time, while at the same time having to still deal with your on-going business causes most people to feel overwhelmed, often times exhausted and almost always difficult is to assimilate.
I was working with smaller companies, where we created a business brokerage booth where we would bring relevant people from large potential companies, in this case Telecom Operators and System Integrators, to meet with small companies who otherwise could not get access to these potential customers. Some of the companies came for pre-event coaching, where we would prepare them in detail on how to maximize their investment. Clearly defining objectives (you would be surprised how difficult this is), people they wanted/needed to meet in order to fulfill those objectives and how they would find them.
When you are at a brokerage event, have your own booth at an exhibition, or are just an attendee - you meet many people and you CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER. It is just as important to be able to very quickly determine what is the interest of the person you are talking to and how and if you can obtain your objective. The last thing you want to do is spend your valuable time wasting it on someone who can bring you no value while right next to you is an important potential client.
This is not simple, we created a set of specific qualification questions to help them quickly determine what type of conversation they were going to have with each person that matched the objectives.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s ok to spend your time teaching a student about your technology – just make sure that if you are doing it, you also have your ears and eyes open for others to hear that may want to learn as well.
At the same time, I also saw companies that did not get the focused preparation – it’s almost embarrassing to share some of the common mistakes – my favorite being trying to sell someone something when they have come to sell you something and are in no way the potential client of your service/product – even if they are from the same company you are targeting.
Often times, people are so busy before an exhibition that they don’t have time to prepare. Even companies that are fortunate to have a strong marcom team that prepares the messages for the event, and may even been scheduling meetings are not guaranteed that the individual employee is going prepared with clear personal objectives on how to maximize the event.
So here is a Checklist and Tips to help you maximize your investment at any event
Maximize Event Checklist
Know your Objectives
Clarify your Specific Messages
Allocate Time according to Objectives
Prepare Qualification Questions
Define Documentation Process
Schedule Meetings in Advance
Leverage your investment Allocate time/Budget for Post Event
Tip 1 - Objectives
Clearly define what you want to get out of the specific event. I know this seems obvious, but you will have multiple objectives and limited time. How would it feel to come back from an event with many new contacts, but none of them relevant to grow your business? Or miss out seeing what the competition is doing. Are you looking for investors? Want to get feedback on your idea?
Tip 2 - Clarify Messages for different Objectives
Marcom teams in large companies create the customer messages for an exhibition. If you are in a smaller company, once you know your #1 objective, you can also create the main message. However – Pay Attention! It’s critical to adj