Promoting your business at expos and networking events is a great way to gain exposure and to begin relationships with potential referral partners. But all the bells and whistles, i.e. your booth, banners, give-aways, etc. won’t do much if you are not welcoming and paying attention to the attendees; you could be missing opportunities that could impact the future of your business.
I recently had the opportunity to attend two seminars where vendors were set-up; some were sponsors while others came to promote their business. I found that some of those working their booths were welcoming and interested in hearing about my services. But there were a good many who were too interested in talking to other vendors, taking pictures of their staff, or talking on their cell phones. And there were one or two who became somewhat ‘dismissive’ once they found that I was not ‘their type of customer.’
Having a service-based business, I recognize that what I offer may not be a “fit” for companies who do have products; I may not be in an industry they are targeting. But what these vendors don’t recognize is that I am a referrer, meaning that I know a lot of people and am in a position to let others know about their companies. As one who aids in business building strategies, I have many opportunities to promote companies through recommendations to my clients that could help them as they start – and build – their businesses. I get asked often for information and recommendations by people I come in contact with, such as through networking events or in my social circle, regarding solutions that could help with issues they are dealing with.
So when I do not get a good feeling from you, or your company representatives, when there is an opportunity to do so, you are making a big mistake. You have paid money – a lot of money – to socialize. I have worked trade shows and events when I represented former companies I have worked for, so I know what it takes. You have to find a balance between handling multiple attendees who show up and you have to be “spot on” in your demeanor and attitude. But when you act dismissive or uninterested, your money is lost. I won’t refer you – in fact, I would probably do the opposite by either forgetting you or not recommending your company.
If you plan to exhibit now, or in the future, at a trade show, seminar, or expo, be sure to check your behavior. Have a plan in mind for how you want your company represented; ensure you have enough people to work it or lay out your vendor table in a way that invites people in but manages traffic flow. If you have multiple people who show up at the same time, take time to acknowledge those that might be waiting to speak with you. Act interested in what attendees do as they may be a referral partner or someone you could joint-venture with.
By not paying attention to your vendor behavior, you could be losing not only money but your brand and reputation could be adversely affected.