How to get the most from your next trade show

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It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of being totally focused on generating leads or clients when you attend a trade show, but there is so much more opportunity to be had. I’m not even talking about breakout sessions, informal meet ups or presentations either. If you pay attention, you could come away from your next trade show with a whole new bunch of ideas that could help your business, and it all comes down to one thing…bring a notebook!

That’s it.

When you go to your next trade show, bring a nice notebook that you can jot down ideas in, and carry it everywhere! We all know that inspiration has a habit of striking when we’re not ready, so make sure that you are.

Here are just five examples of how a notebook could help you at your next trade show:

  1. Note down what questions people are asking. Is there a theme or a common thread that people are unsure about, wither with your product, or the field in general? Is there any opportunities for you to solve problems, or can you help point to someone who can?
  2. What particular industries and professions are you spending your time speaking to? You may discover that most of your enquiries stem from a particular industry, job or even region, or that your solution is more prevalent to a different niche than you had first expected. Note down any unexpected markets or opportunities that you hear about.
  3. Buzzwords! Love them or hate them, they do generate a certain amount of…well, Buzz. You need to be aware of what terms people are using, so write down any new terms that you hear (especially if you’re hearing them a lot), or terms that have fallen out of fashion. If you’re entire customer base is using a certain word, not only can you use this when connecting at the trade show, but you can feed this back to your web team, to feature as copy on your site.
  4. Spot potential blog post topics. You can use the buzzwords you hear, the questions that are asked and the experiences you experience to create future blog posts for your website. Even a small write up of the trade show counts. What have you heard/seen/experienced at the trade show that your customers or colleagues would like to read about? You can also actively get feedback from attendees, both regarding your own business, but the trade show in general and use these comments to create informative blog posts.
  5. Take notes on the competition! This sounds far sneakier than it is. Rather than becoming James Bond and involving yourself in the world of espionage, just pay attention to what your competition is doing. How have they designed their stand? Have they got a seating area that seems popular and allows for better interaction? Are they focusing on a specific niche that you could perhaps assist with in the future? Can you see a problem with their display/stand/offering that you could solve or that opens up new markets for you, or have you seen something in their approach that makes it easier for you to differentiate your offering from theirs?

You can see how, even when you’re not generating leads, you can be productive and furthering your business at a trade show. Now go and grab a coffee; you’ve earned it!

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