3 Tips For Trade Show Meeting Success
Lisa Miller, Communications Director, Aker BioMarine.
Every B2B executive has spent some time working the trade show floor by engaging with media, potential customers, partners and industry experts. Trade shows have been a staple for B2B businesses for decades. Companies and individuals attend trade shows to gain insights, progress projects, advance strategies and build relationships. And despite the changes caused by the pandemic, it seems clear that these events remain key components of a successful sales, marketing and communication mix. As 2023 continues to take shape, we see that in-person trade shows are back and here to stay.
At Aker BioMarine, we are currently in trade show season. Everyone is knee-deep in planning, organizing and scheduling to ensure the biggest impact and ROI possible. From sales and marketing to science and communications, our team is ready to take on the natural products industry. Before we go, we are keeping some meeting practices in mind to ensure success.
Prioritize face-to-face interactions.
Time is precious at trade shows, and meetings are like speed dates. Face-to-face interaction is critical for forging and maintaining relationships across all parts of the business. It also allows you to pick up on nonverbal cues and body language, making it easier to see what is resonating best with everyone and what isn’t.
Provide relevant solutions.
The largest trade shows are a backdrop that brings together the best of the business in one place. Over the course of a couple of days, trade shows enable us to reach a large number of stakeholders that would otherwise require weeks and months of travel time.
No matter what industry you are in or what trade show you are attending, with every meeting, it’s imperative to differentiate yourself. Demonstrate your key value propositions in a meaningful way and provide tailor-made solutions for every single situation. Use this time to engage and gather feedback with the intent of taking the conversation to the next level.
It’s also critical to ensure that discussions align with both your customers’ and company’s objectives. When representing your company or business at a trade show, you are supercharging your company’s brand with your own behavior, competence and integrity. It allows customers and partners to gain a broader understanding of the solutions you offer for their current and future business success.
Prepare and follow up.
While onsite at a trade show, time is money, so it’s important to make the most out of your meetings. You can do that with smart preparation, leading with a clear strategy and with creative execution. Most importantly, determine what you want to get out of the meeting. This means outlining your objectives beforehand.
In preparation for your face-to-face meetings, create a simple agenda that meets the needs of everyone attending the meeting, but be flexible and ready to pivot as needed. You need to make every minute count, and there is nothing better than having everyone walk away from the meeting with actionable items and big smiles.
It’s also essential to do your homework in advance. If this is your first time meeting these people, make sure you know as much about them as possible. Identify the key touchpoints that will keep the conversation flowing with the intent of a follow-up meeting.
Trade shows can help bring your brand to life and help you build relationships with your most important stakeholders. Seizing this opportunity means companies can punch above their weight, reach further and build even greater product and brand awareness.
Once the show is over, don’t forget to follow through on your action items and circle back to everyone you’ve met. You made a good first impression; now it’s time to leave a lasting one.