I have been in my sales role with StaffStat for close to one year now. Since that time I have had the opportunity to attend quite a few trade shows targeted to meeting the needs of our market. Trade shows are a lofty investment and the benefits must show in the return. The opportunity to connect with and learn from those in attendance have been and continue to be valuable experiences. Today, I thought I would share what I have learned and taken away from attending trade shows. In fact, while you read this I will be in attendance at the Ontario Centres of Excellence – Discovery ’17 Trade Show and Conference.
What have I learned?
- Trade shows are busy! They require time away from home and work and not to mention an abundant amount of energy. Most shows require an early “set up” start time and the networking continues after the floor closes. We, as a team, maximize every opportunity to meet and mingle with current customers, leads, prospects, and other vendors. We value our time, ensuring we bring value to every minute we are away, which often means we walk in what we refer to as a ‘conference coma’ for a day or so afterward.
- You have the opportunity to connect with your entire list of prospects, leads and customers over the course of a few days and all under one roof. Some of the trade shows we have attended have had anywhere from 300-1200 delegates in attendance in addition to hundreds of other vendors. Meaning 300-1200 opportunities to spread the word about what we are doing and how our shift-filling software is making a substantial difference in our customers’ day to day.
- Trade shows offer an efficient way of spreading the word. Current customers are a walking advertisement as they stroll the trade show floor conversing with their network of colleagues, partners and acquaintances; any of which, could be your next customer. After chatting with someone who has shown interest I will often advise them of who the current customers are that are in attendance, encouraging them to connect. Often times, they will already know one another. I suggest that they inquire with that customer and engage in a candid conversation about their experience with our team and product—nothing like having your references an arms length away and the chance to cut some time in the sales process!
- The opportunity to foster, and create new customer relationships. People are busy and don’t always have an opportunity to connect. You can shake hands with those that you may not have had a chance to connect with over a call or email. At trade show there are multiple opportunities to sit down and listen to your customers needs, wants, and suggestions with respect to your product.
- Team bonding. Our team is solid. Trade shows can be exhausting, however, we all manage to keep our emotions in check and never tire of the fun and hard work we do together as a team.
These are just some of the benefits and takeaways I have encountered. There is a definite trade-off from the time invested in these events but it won’t come easy; hard work and determination are vital to this recipe for success.