If you’re ‘writing business’ at the show, whether buying or selling, that may seem like your most important activity at the show. But today, I’m going to ask you to do an important exercise and look at how you leverage tradeshows a bit differently.
One of the most important things you can do at a trade show is expanding and deepening your network. Follow me on this….
Those orders you are writing, they are likely the culmination of invested time over weeks, months or years. A minority of such transactions will occur with a buyer or seller, perhaps a potential customer you met for the first time at the show.
What led to those transactions is time. The time you invested initiating and deepening those relationships. Now, there are two realms in which you initiate or deepen relationships:
Online is available to you 24/7. Most businesses we encounter in the B2B realm are not leveraging online tools properly to do this. They are sending prospecting emails, prospecting messages on LinkedIn, Insta, etc., or they are cold-calling. All outdated and ineffective techniques, but that is for another newsletter!
At a trade show, it is one of the rare times when you and your network are in the same space physically, at the same time. This is POWERFUL stuff.
If you simply walk up and down aisles, going to scheduled meetings with people you are already doing business with (or are close to doing business with) then you are only doing HALF of the job you should be doing at a trade show.
To leverage a tradeshow effectively, you need to be where your network and potential clients are spending time.
To initiate and deepen relationships with your potential customers you need to be where they are.
Our industry makes this very easy for you because we have so many organizations that bring together groups of businesses that have similar challenges, desire similar opportunities and require similar support, services, products or partnerships.
Organizations like CIBJO: The World Jewellery Confederation; Black in Jewelry Coalition; American Gem Society; Women’s Jewelry Association; The Plumb Club; the RJC; AGTA; the list goes on and on.
If you have not already, take a look at the types of businesses served by the many organizations in our community – do it now. Find the orgs that serve your type of business, OR whose members are the types of business you wish to serve – your target client/customer. And join them.
Then, at the tradeshow (and in between shows) attend the events they hold. These organizations create events for the sole purpose of supporting their memberships’ businesses and connecting you to each other.
This is where the juice is worth the squeeze.
The most valuable experience at a trade show for my team and me are the interactions we have at events thrown by the organizations of which we are members.
There, you will have an assumed validation, affinity and even basic level of trust to encourage business interaction. You will supercharge your ability to initiate new relationships AND deepen current ones.
You shouldn’t show up to a community and ask them to give you money for products or services cold. It’s ineffective. You must participate, contribute, and learn before you take. And joining a group or organization is one of the easiest, most effective and powerful ways to do this. Best money you’ll ever spend.
Don’t take my word for it. Do the homework. Identify the organizations that serve businesses like yours and ask to attend events, pay, buy a ticket if you must, to determine if these are “your people” and then JOIN AND PARTICIPATE.
In the video today I discuss CIBJO, one of my favorites for my business. Yours may be different. But don’t miss this HUGE lever you can pull to expand your client base, engender trust in your business, and grow your revenue.
Those seeds you plant in this way will be writing the orders, ordering the services and transacting with you at future shows.
Invest in this and let me know how it goes.
See you in Vegas!
Bye for now,