I am very involved in the community and am a member of a number of organizations. For me, it’s a great way to stay connected. I had two different groups recently host combination-type trade shows and networking events. I exhibited at one and attended the other. It really got me to thinking, what’s the best way to “work” one of these events.
At the event we exhibited I feel we got some great traffic and we met some quality people and we are already working with a few of them. So, definitely a win-win situation.
At the second event, I just walked the aisles and networked. Now, granted I feel I met more people and probably handed out more business cards but are these people ever going to do business with me? I am following up on those prospects that I met, but will I get the business?
It’s a dilemma I am sure we all face in all aspects of business. What’s the best use of our time and money?
This year not exhibiting at the second event was due mostly to the timing. It was held on a day that was a busy one for me and I just knew I would be too tired to effectively work the booth. But on the other hand, having people come to me versus the other way around might have been better.
I think no matter if you exhibit or not, you need to have a plan in place to get the most out of your investment (time and money). So many people forget about scheduling time after the event to follow up. Are your marketing materials up to date so it’s a quick and easy follow up? Don’t wait weeks to touch base – the lead is cold by then.
I don’t know about you, but I hate getting that email,”so good to meet you at the event last month.” Obviously it wasn’t that great or I didn’t make much of an impression for it to take so long to get in touch. And besides, by then I don’t remember who you are anyway.
If you have a plan and know who is going to be attending the event, you can make a list to ensure you get to everyone you need to. The worst is to find out a key prospect was at the event after the fact. But it’s not a total loss, you can always send a note stating,“sorry we didn’t get to meet at the event but I wanted to introduce myself”.
So, I think it’s safe to say, there is no right or wrong in exhibiting or just attending. However, in both cases, follow up is key.