In search of a meeting…wait…Who?

In Search of A Great Meeting!

Attending a show can be quite overwhelming. First thing – register and sign-up EARLY – you can save all kinds of $$ by getting early-bird rates and even free passes. Between the sensory overload of crowds, graphics, speakers, and models in a variety of attention getting costumes, the entire show can go to waste walking it with the deer-in-the-headlights look and missing the real business!. Getting an idea before-hand is really a very critical element to attending a show and getting the most for your money and time.

Getting your hands on the exhibitor list is the way to start – taking a really thorough look at the program to get into the sessions that would be most beneficial; and attending networking events is just as important. The goal is to see as many people as possible within the show days and schedule meetings for the future; show meetings are good as an initial step, but having follow-up meetings are critical to keeping the momentum going.

If the show is very large make sure to register for networking after show events early or set meetings weeks in advance. Meetings set on the show floor have a lot of competition and often meeting space can be bumped with just one breath, so make sure to have a back-up meeting venue available. Scope out any upper or lower floors for possible tables/chairs/café’s – also if your hotel is attached to the convention center check those areas as well.  If the show is smaller – set one-on-one meetings, and ask your organizer if they have a meeting space or press room that might be available.

Selecting sessions – if you are the sole attendee and there are sessions that occur at the same time, let your organizer know and see if you can get copies of the slides or talk, and then determine if it is worth sitting through half and half. The best case scenario is to have enough staff attend to cover different sessions and/or customers to get the full benefits of a show.

Sales gypsy to sales gypsy – taking time at a booth when you are selling something instead of buying, take as little time as possible but get to the decision-maker as early as possible to deliver a small-business card size message to give to clients –the card is less likely to get thrown out in the piles of literature that always ends up in the miscellaneous, “who picked this up pile!” Follow-up right after the meeting with an email with a note letting them know how much their time is appreciated and  after the show is over give it at least 2 days and then get back to your sale.

Should you be in one of those situations where you are attending and exhibiting – this is where the work really gets intense with doing the double-duty of planning your short attendee time and keeping your booth active and staffed. Get those meetings on a schedule and let your booth manager know if you have a meeting that needs a work-around or meeting space if you have it in your booth.

The ominous competition..da.da.DA!….what to do when your competition is close by and you want to set meetings. SET THEM FIRST Just know you cannot do one thing about your customer going to a show and talking to the competitor(s). You have to be able to back-up your product/service and make sure you have touched that customer first, even if your meeting is set after they have talked to your competitor, you set your meeting early and make sure you are prepared. On-the-fly meetings happen all the time at shows, but if you can get your customer bid in and are prepared you have already beat out your competitor.

Networking shows that are generally the entire industry; getting together and discussing issues and progress. These events are an excellent venue to garner data and research for future planning. This also gives companies an idea of industry changes and if competitors are still aggressively pursuing the same direction or if they could possibly have turned into a possible partner. Organizational alliances are also formed and gather at this type of event; participating assures that your company is active and recognized, supporting the entire industry/market segment.

So attendees – go forth and conquer and get ready for follow-up and  success!



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