Trade shows have never been about rubbing shoulders with peers from the industry; truth be told, every time you are out there, all you want to do is to build your network and connect with the potential buyers – the prospects. But do you always succeed? If not, why? Is it because you are yet to catch up on the paradigm shift in networking? Have you given up on the old tricks of the trade, or are still stuck with business cards and other primitive methods of building a network? It’s time you come up to speed!
Networking At Trade Shows: A Whole New Ball Game!
Gone are the days when you had to wait for the prospects to come your way before you could start with the elevator pitch and make an attempt at networking. Today, the two of you can get acquainted long before they actually walk in.
- Technology, especially the social media, has turned the tables for good, making it possible for you to reach out to your prospects, even if they do not show up when you expect them to. In this day and age of hashtags, forum discussions, and blog posts and comments, there’s no reason to hold back on your “meet and greet” strategy, when you can offer them an immersive experience right in the comfort of their living rooms.
- And even if you would rather wait for the big day, when you can meet them in person, there are quite a few ways to not just ignite their curiosity but to keep them engaged.
- While nothing beats an engrossing conversation, not all prospects may look forward to one, how about then, increasing engagement with gamification? A little fun never hurt anyone, right? Think of some games, get hold of a scoreboard, and before you know, your trade show booth will be bustling with crowd, giving you yet another opportunity to build your network. Better still, why don’t you simply bowl them over with an innovative display of information or take it up a notch with magnetic levitation, 3D projection mapping, kinetic ceilings, and the like?
- Back in the day, you had no option but to hand out flyers and expect the prospects to actually read. Today, you can take advantage of what they call “experiential marketing” and give a product demonstration right there, so as to incite participation. You could also opt for a chalet and get a meeting area incorporated into the exhibit, with enough room for you and the prospects to have inspiring exchanges. And with technologies like virtual and augmented reality being more accessible than ever, it is no longer difficult to make them stay past the elevator pitch. They no longer have to walk out from your trade show stand with reams of paper, which would end up in the trash anyway.
Networking has come of age. What about you? That stack of business cards you have been bragging about would do you more harm than good. Move with the times before the prospects make a move. Pun intended!