Effective Communication: Engaging Your Target Audience at Trade Shows
Industry events are an excellent forum to get some hot leads on new customers. Attendees have the opportunity to network with other professionals in similar industries and make new connections that could benefit their company. If you have an upcoming trade show on your business schedule, there are a number of ways you can make the most of it. Here are some strategies to engage with your target audience at your next trade show.
Don’t be shy
Are you typically a fairly reserved person? If the answer is yes, it’s time to put your shyness aside for a couple of days.
Trade shows are about openly communicating with others in order to build your professional network. You aren’t going to be effective at expanding your network if you’re a wallflower for the duration of the event!
Chances are that nobody there knows that you tend to be shy, so why not try to be outgoing for a couple of days? You are going to make a much bigger impression if you are actually taking the initiative to strike up conversations with those who are visiting or walking by your booth.
Carry business cards with you, and rely on more extensive email or phone follow up after the event if necessary. This allows you to simply make a quick introduction, and then further develop that lead once you’re back in the office.
Stand in front of your booth rather than behind a table
It may seem really simple, but body language can make a huge difference as to whether someone stops at your booth or simply walks on by. Greeting visitors in front of your booth rather than from a seated position behind your trade show booth makes an extremely positive impression. Why? Because it makes you seem friendlier and more accessible.
Though your booth might be eye catching like those from Nimlok, it is still up to you to initiate conversation. It will be easier for you to make connections with people who may be likely to pass by your booth without a second look.
The simple fact is that you’ll be harder to ignore if you’re standing and walking around by your booth. Your proactive and professional approach will also stand out. Potential customers will be more likely to stop and talk.
Remember: you shouldn’t be afraid to initiate conversation: Because the bottom line is that you are there to network.
Don’t be afraid to make and ask for introductions
Keep in mind that the main goal of attending an industry event is building your professional network. The secondary goal is creating a positive image for you and your business. One surefire way to make friends with others in your industry is to make introductions.
If you meet someone who you feel could benefit from connecting with one of your contacts who’s also attending the trade show, don’t hesitate to make an introduction. And don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from others.
Before you go, simply plan your approach so that you are coming across as friendly rather than aggressive. Give yourself a leg up by checking out the attendee list and developing a “hit list” before you go. It’ll keep you focused and increase the chances that you’ll do well. Being friendly and open with others goes a long way when you are networking at industry events!
Whether you are looking for leads on new customers or you simply want to make some meaningful connections with your target audience, industry events are great places to do it. But like anything else, you need to plan your communication strategy before you attend.
Think about what you’d like to tell people about your business, why it will matter to them, and how you will ask others for referrals if you get the opportunity. When it comes to trade shows, effective communication is key!
For more, read our article on essential networking tips or how to find your voice at trade shows.
About the author: Elizabeth Alton is a freelance business and technology writer. She covers trends related to small business, entrepreneurs, and the evolving digital landscape. Connect with Elizabeth on LinkedIn and Google+.