By Rieva Lesonsky
Business owners go to trade shows for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’re looking for new products to sell, on the hunt for potential partners, looking at generating sales leads or just want to network with others in your industry. How can you make sure you get the most out of the event? Follow these 7 steps:
- Figure out what you want to achieve. Your goals could include finding new vendors, spotting trends in your industry, meeting potential partners for your business and more. Determining your goals will drive the rest of your actions.
- Select the right show. Start searching for shows that will help you meet the kinds of people you’re looking for. TSNN, Trade Show Finder and Events in America are good places to search. You can sort events based on date, industry, location and other factors. If you’re totally new to trade shows, also contact your industry’s trade association to see if they host a show or recommend any particular events.
- Get the details. Find out who is attending, how many exhibitors will be there, what types of people are coming and more. The organizers or website should be able to give you this information.
- Be prepared. You’ll need plenty of business cards (yes, people still use them!) to pass out, along with any other information you might want to exchange. If you expect to order products, be sure you have your business license, tax identification number and resale certificate information. Also be prepared to take notes, whether that’s on a tablet, smartphone or with pen and paper.
- Get a good start. Avoid waiting in long lines at the show by registering online before the event and checking out the directory information, which should include contact information for exhibitors and a map of the event. Plan ahead what you want to see and do.
- Mingle as much as you can. In addition to talking to exhibitors, be sure to take advantage of speakers, workshops, lunches and other opportunities to learn and meet others in your industry. Exchange contact information with everyone—you never know who you may want to get in touch with post-show.
- Follow up. When you get back home, immediately organize your contact information and touch base with people within two weeks (before they forget about you). Following up promptly is key to successfully maximizing your new contacts.
To capitalize on the introductions you make at trade shows, get started on LinkedIn. Follow the guidance of Infusionsoft's e-book on LinkedIn.