Networking Exhibitions – Are they worth it?

Absolutely yes!

Us ‘exhibitionists’ all know about the big shows – you know the ones at the NEC or Olympia or other such large venue.

These large events require planning, quite deep pockets but can ‘feel’ unreachable to the smaller, newer, growing company. These large exhibitions tend to be industry focused and have a national and international reach. Great, if that’s your business aspiration!

For the local business serving local businesses, the networking events with conferences/exhibitions can be a great way to engage with your target client and potentially boost your pipeline. If it is done right.

They don’t cost as much and I think that because of the relatively low cost, the level of effort towards the exhibition can be low. The ‘it hasn’t cost much so it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work’ is an underlying, but not consciously acknowledged, belief.

I disagree and because the above thinking is so common, it gives you the opportunity to really shine at these type of events.

The constraints are significant. Limited space for; a table, chairs and maybe a pull up banner or two, no power, a less well know venue. Given that everyone is in the same situation then you need to make your own table stand out.

How? – Here are some simple tips as a starter for ten:

  • Take it seriously. It might be a modest sum for the stand cost, but you have still invested in it.
  • Publicise it – to everyone you know, all your prospects, all your clients. These events are more fun when you talk with people you know (and like!)

On the day

  • Focus on one thing. Think – ‘What’s for sale?’ and focus your message on just on that.
  • Be attentive and not distracted – and PUT THE PHONE AWAY
  • Think about your table – and the message that it is displaying. You might think that showing your literature, or filling it with all your wares is a good thing – but the message it portrays can be very different than what you want.

For example: Insurance brokers/providers – your substantial brochures/mini books could be reinforcing your visitors perception that changing insurers is laborious and hard work and requires lots of paperwork. Therefore it is easier to do nothing – even if it means paying more!

  • Stand up and greet people – don’t hide behind the table. Everyone else will do that! Be professionally memorable so when you follow up, they will remember you.
  • Make sure you follow up! Yes really, you’d be surprised at how many that don’t.

By making these small changes to your approach, I have found that it has a significant positive impact on your exhibition performance. If you are considering supporting a local networking event and conference (I would strongly suggest you do), then do all you can to make that as successful as possible.

If you are stuck where to start or need a fresh viewpoint for your next event, we’d love to help.