Do you love attending a conference or trade show that offers appointments as much as I do?
There is nothing better and more valuable than face-to-face time with a potential client or partner. But let’s face it, they typically cost a lot of money and you have to thoroughly prepare. So you find yourself spending hours before the show, researching the attendees and setting up the meetings, feeling up your appointment book to its fullest potential. And at the end of the show, you realize that no one is following up with you and nothing has materialized in actual business bringing your actual money. Hence, you start considering not attending any shows at all since there are no results. That is not the way. Let’s look at something ways you can to get better results from the trade shows networking meetings.
The main issue is the networking meetings are quite short. Sometimes they last just 7-10 minutes. However, this is also the beauty of these meetings. It is enough to get to know your interlocutor’s needs and touch upon the important networking topics. You cannot set up the whole business plan. Your goal is to present those topics and to continue developing them further.
These are some tips for your successful appointment.
- Cut the small talk to the minimum. Remember, you are losing your precious time. You will be able to check on how people are doing and talk about whether during the evening networking events. When you are taking an appointment, greet your guest and get straight to the main topic on your agenda.
What is the main reason you are attending? What type of partner are you looking for?
- Do your homework. Research the company’s profile and a website; write down what you like, what can be improved and what you can help with. Your partner will be impressed with your awareness. You will have a proper question to start your conversation.
I saw on your website, you are starting to develop X, what kind of help do you need with it? It looks like you are doing X, have you ever thought about adding Y?
- Practice 80/20 rule. You talk 20% vs. your guest talks 80% of the time. To encourage that ask open-ended questions. Your opponent will talk about themselves, their company and their immediate needs, so you can understand how you can help them right then and there. To brush up on your listening skills go here.
- Take proper notes. It is not rude to scribble during the conversation; It is rude to forget what have you discussed during your networking meeting or that you have promised to follow up.
- Keep a track of time. Use a stopwatch or hourglass. Anything that will help you guide the conversation and avoid an abrupt end.
- Set up the next step (Mandatory). Right before the end of your meeting ask What should our next step be? It is very important to set up mutual responsibilities. You can also ask when they are going to be back to their country/city and when would be a good time to follow up. Set it up in your calendar right there to show that you are 100% committed to working together.
- Send a reminder email to the person after your back in the office to reconfirm your commitment. If you have promised to share some materials, do that before the new meeting.
Reach out to the person you want to have a networking meeting with before the show. You can preset the subject of the conversation during the one-on-one meeting. Find out what their objective of visiting the show is and what are they trying to get out of it. That way you will 100% know that the networking meeting will be productive. You don’t want to waste a time slot. There is nothing worse than confirming an appointment just to find out that you have nothing in common and you cannot help the person.
One more bonus:
Your appointment book can’t fit everyone you want to meet with. If you are using an app like 100AM, you can take full advantage of a geolocator tool. You can research the attendee’s right on the app and add them into favorites. When at the conference, use geolocator to find people you want to meet. You can join them for lunch or suggest networking meeting during a coffee break.
Remember that time is money especially during the trade show. So do yourself a favor and properly prepare before during and after. Right tactic and the right questions will help you meet with key people and take the partnership further.