Trade shows are not only good for increasing sales and meeting prospective leads, but are also excellent for networking with other business professionals. Building networking relationships with other professionals can only help your company since these people will be able to refer clients to you as long as you are willing to reciprocate the favor. In order to meet these people, you will need to venture outside of your trade show displays in search of these networking opportunities. These 3 tips should make it easier for you to make connections at your next event.
Browse the Convention Aisles
Browse the aisles and keep an eye out for people who are at their trade show booths and appear to have some time to talk. Strike up a conversation with these people without turning the discussion into an advertisement for your business. Ask them who they are, what their title is at their company, and interesting facts about them (do they have kids, what they do on their free time). Do not talk to these people like you would a customer, but more like a friend.
Make Your Objective Known
One of my biggest pet peeves at conventions is when an attendee leads me to believe they are interested in doing business with them. Be frank with these exhibitors and let them know you would like to partner with them in order to help each other expand your businesses.
Invite Them for a Bite to Eat
Get to know other exhibitors or attendees that you have had the chance to speak with outside of the trade show by taking them out to lunch or to grab some coffee. You don't need to constantly be talking about work; turn the conversations to their likes and dislikes in order to get to know them better. Treat them as you would a friend in order to build a friendship with these other exhibitors.
Bring Plenty of Business Cards
You never know when you will need to hand out business cards, so it is important to carry a stack of them with you in order to whip them out at a moment's notice. Your new friends will need to know the best way to contact you and having your own business cards will make it more professional to relay this information to them.
Hopefully these tips will make it easier for you to bring in more clients through networking instead of directly getting sales at your trade show exhibits.