The Hidden Value of Trade Shows
On Monday 22nd March, Richard and I attended the Food & Drink Expo at the NEC, Birmingham. We work on a regular basis within the Food Sector, and as soon as the brochure for this dropped through our letterbox, we wanted to go. What an opportunity to get up to date on the industry, what a way to get in front of key decision makers in companies that would ordinarily be tricky, and what a way to get really full on lots of lovely samples!
We had a very busy day, and we still only managed to scratch the surface of the Expo – there were 7 shows under 1 roof!
There is a huge amount to gain from attending your relevant sector show.
I’m not suggesting you go to all of them. Do some research; our one was free to attend – always a serious consideration!
- Put out feelers and see who you know who will be attending.
- Be prepared to be in it for the long haul – you may make contacts this year, keep in touch, and re-visit the following year.
When visiting a Trade Show approach with a plan.
Prior to attending, we worked out who we would like to see, where they were in relation to the whole exhibition, and contacted people we knew that might well be attending. Through the marvellous mediums of LinkedIn and Twitter we were able to tell our contacts where we would be; we soon had the first meeting arranged.
Whilst eating our way around, we bumped into a number of familiar faces. I got chatting with a soon to be graduating student who was there specifically to introduce herself to identified businesses, and hand over her CV. She was taking the opportunity to make an impression with future employers.
Do not forget the importance of making the follow-ups that you promised.
Email offers a quick and easy way to give thanks. Look people up on LinkedIn too because you never know who you might know.
Many thanks to all those we met on Monday- we really did have a good day. It was also very nice to see so many small independant businesses exhibiting. We wish you all the best for the coming year, and look forward to meeting up with you at the Food & Drink Expo 2011.