In an age where people have become glued to their phones and technology is all but taking over daily life, recent studies show that humans crave real connections more than ever.
In the business world, trade shows may be the last way for business professionals to make those connections in person, face to face. Yet, with the development of new technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), we may be in danger of letting these oh-so-crucial connections slip.
We’ve recently discussed ways to integrate technology into your booth without letting it dominate your conversations. Yet, tactful use of tech isn’t the only thing you need to get right to start making real connections at trade shows. Here are a few ways to ensure they go deeper than a simple business card exchange.
Don’t Just Sell
Just like in technology, things move lightning-fast on the trade show floor. This makes it tempting to jump into your sales pitch as soon as you meet up with a new prospect. But think about the last time a sales associate pounced on you when you were shopping for something you needed. You likely felt startled, put off, and unwilling to engage with someone who only cares about the dollars in your pocket.
The same goes for your prospects on the show floor. This tactic risks alienating attendees who are looking for someone to truly listen to their needs and concerns.
Instead, start your meetings by spending just a few minutes casually chatting with the attendees. Ask how their show is going, what they’re hoping to get out of the experience, and what their primary needs are.
By taking time for these real conversations, you’ll become more memorable to clients, create a better connection with them, and pick up insight about their challenges that can help you in the sales process.
After the show, as they look through their notes and business cards, your interaction will stand out against a sea of sterile encounters.
Provide Value at Every Opportunity
It used to be that trade shows were the only opportunity for clients to find out about new products. Now, that’s completely changed. The digital age has made gathering that information possible from nearly anywhere in the world. That reality has changed what makes trade shows truly valuable for attendees.
Today, trade shows offer a unique opportunity to find out things you never could have learned online. Focus on doing just that as you seek ways to provide value to your prospects at every opportunity.
Some of our favorite ways of providing value are to help prospects connect and network with other people that can help their business. Listen to a client’s needs and think of all the ways you could help them, not just the ways you could help that would also benefit your business.
Ask Questions & Follow Up
Business cards are the currency of the trade show floor, but they easily lose their value if you haven’t connected with the person you’re exchanging cards with. Here are five tips to make your business cards more meaningful:
- Make sure your information is clear on your card, so prospects can find and connect with you after the show easily.
- Don’t just trade cards, use the opportunity to ask a few questions about that person to make the meeting more meaningful.
- Once you part ways, jot down a few notes about the person to help you remember who they are when conducting follow-ups after the show.
- Send follow-ups and help remind the person who you are and what you talked about by providing a few notes about your interaction.
- Use the card to find and connect with that person on LinkedIn.
Making real connections at trade shows is the best way to create success for you, your brand, and your prospects. Think of it like a team effort, where the ultimate goal is to help each other create new, lasting partnerships that will help grow your businesses.
Want more tips on knocking your next trade show out of the park? Check out our free guide: 7 Keys To An Irresistible Trade Show Campaign.