Trade fairs are a great way of meeting a lot of people over a short time period and especially in the world we now live in where so much is done behind a desk. We must never forget that business is about people, meeting them face-to-face makes the next telephone call or email a better experience.
With this in mind we’ve put together a list of tips and advice that have really helped us to get the most out of the trade fairs we attend.
- Plan your visit early: Try and arrange the majority of your meetings before the fair starts as companies tend to have meetings tightly scheduled and can’t meet at short notice on the day.
- Know the layout of the event especially if it spans more than one location. It is a testing sprint between meetings along La Croissette in Cannes when the temperatures is over 80 degrees! Generally allow 10 minutes either side of agreed meetings because even if you know how far away your next meeting is meetings don’t start on time and can over run. Trying to catch-up is a nightmare and will impact on the quality of your meetings.
- Ensure that taking a slot in someone’s diary is worthwhile for them – if it is clear that there is little need for the meeting to continue, politely end it early.
- Allow some time to introduce yourselves to names/companies that are new to the market that year – they may appreciate knowing more about the service that you offer.
- Do your homework on the client you are meeting. I once had a meeting with a company and the first question they asked was about one of their publications. I didn’t know anything about the publication they mentioned at which stage the potential client said “if you cannot be bothered to do your research I cannot be bothered to talk to you”. I left and the lesson was learnt.
- Prepare: Research your target audience and whether they genuinely have a need for your services. Establish some key facts about them, thus enabling plenty to talk about and refer to in conversation. It shows that you have taken some time to evaluate their company.
- Follow up: If you have agreed to follow up with a call or further information after the trade fair make sure that you do so but allowing enough time for the potential client to have digested the meeting, returned home and caught up with their other business.
- Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, don’t drink too much at lunch time!
By David Johnson, CEO of Compact Media, and Mark Rowland, VP Client Sales and Development