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Become more effective when attending fairs and trade shows

Oh, how nice it was at that last trade show, but then nothing happened. Why?

Business meetings, whether they are called trade shows, networking meetings or events, can make anyone scratch their head afterwards. Why wasn't it quite as good as I had hoped? Why didn't I get as many new customers/contacts as I had anticipated?

And here comes the harsh truth: It probably all depends on your preparation. Today we'll talk about that. This is what you should do to get something good out of attending trade shows and fairs:

Here are some quick suggestions to become more efficient at a fair or a trade show:

1. Decide what your intentions should be. Why do you need to attend? Do you go there to learn something, build relationships, sell or just to get away from the office? As you know, intentions usually work best one at a time since they send you off in a specific direction – preferably the right one.

2. Does the event suit your intentions? It's not very smart to go to a party and think ”sell!”, but neither is it very smart to go to a trade show and think ”party!”. Adapt your intentions to the type of event you're attending. I know, it sounds stiff and boring to go off like a robot, but honestly, it's your job we're talking about here, not a Christmas party with your family.

3. What does your company need the most? Is it new contacts, a new list of leads or what is it? Whatever it is, make sure you have figured out how to get that in a nice way. Think about what you want - short, long, and perhaps even medium term, to determine what your business needs to get out of every event you attend.

4. People often claim that you need to meet with someone three times before he/she will make room for you in his/her mind. It doesn't matter if it's three ”eye to eye” meetings, three ads, or three phone calls. Three is the number we've been taught. That's why you need to have a rehearsed elevator pitch - a thirty-second inciter of interest - that you can submit.
This is also why you shake hands with people and discuss with them. That's why you need to bring written materials that you can hand out if it suits the occasion. This “three-contact-rule” is of course just a good rule of thumb to have in the back of your mind in order to make you aware of what is most likely required, rather than using it as a definite truth.

5. Make sure you have something that your competitors don't - and bring it with you. Leave humility at home. Make sure you can explain all the differences and benefits with what you brought in less than two minutes.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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