How to be an exhibitionist # TBNS2015

How to be an exhibitionist # TBNS2015

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at The Business Networking Show 2015 # TBNS2015 in Wolverhampton last Friday.

Being an exhibitor at a big event like this is a very different experience from being a delegate or presenter and there certainly are advantages to literally ‘setting your stall out’ at a networking conference.

Consider yourself ‘on the map’

Having a stand at an exhibition really does give your identity a boost! Having a beautifully presented and branded stand is bound to get you noticed by a wider audience and here’s how it works –

Brand recognition

There are plenty of opportunities here – on your stand and the marketing material you take to dress the stand. It’s worth considering including something about you in the delegate packs. Your business will be listed in the exhibitor directory and floor plans. Whenever you leave your stand to mingle – always take a fist-full of business cards, freebies and leaflets – you never know who you will bump into! All in all though, many, many people will see your brand during the day. An excellent start!

The nature of this event helped increase that brand recognition even further – 4Networking, of which Steve has been a member for almost 3 years, operates a “Bumf table”, which is a table where all promotional materials can be placed. This operates at all 5,000+ networking events nationwide and, as you might expect at such a large networking event, the Bumf table in Wolverhampton was HUGE!!! Needless to say, it was full of many businesses’ details, information, freebies and business cards. We managed to spread our stuff all over it all day long…

How many business cards can you hold in one hand?

Your stand should be beautifully and artfully rammed with all your marketing material and branded give-aways. Flyers, booklets, pens, sweets etc. And rather brilliantly you can grab a handful of whatever you fancy whenever you stray from your stall, not least of all everybody else’s business cards, so you can get in contact again after the show. You can give away a business card in the restaurant and scrawl your stand number on it. Having a base frees your hands up and allows you to take your favourite marketing material, rather than just your smallest stuff.

I capture the castle . . . .

Not only does a stand give you more resources to engage in detail with your prospects, including laptop presentations perhaps. This also allows you to capture contact details in a way that is more effective than simply giving out a business card. You can do this in a variety of ways –a free prize draw for instance (congratulations to Marc Ordever of Graphic Aspects Limited, whose wife (lol) is now £50 worth of Sainsbury’s vouchers to the good, thanks to his name being pulled out of our prize draw hat!), or if you’re lucky enough, even taking orders!

People power # TBNS2015

You are going to meet a lot of people during a networking event. You’ll meet the organisers and other exhibitors whilst you are setting up, catering staff, presenters, as well as all the visiting delegates. People buy from people and this is one opportunity to reach a large audience on a one-to-one level, such that you can build relationships. And don’t think for a second that you should only be talking to fellow attendees – the event staff, car park attendants, caterers etc are all people just like you and just like you, they know people too. Don’t assume that they’re there simply to help and serve you – for all you know, they may be the link to that MD of that company you’ve been trying to get into for ages! Talk to everyone!!!

Networking Works!

This exhibition was in itself a networking show, so as you might imagine, there were lots of networking events going off all day long. We managed to get to two or three, which allows you to get up close and personal, building relationships again, with around 40 other people at each event.

Even if the exhibition you are attending isn’t a networking specific exhibition, the opportunities for networking at any exhibition are massive and ought to be included as a must-do. Make yourself known, make yourself stand out in how you are, what you wear etc – people remember different. # TBNS2015

When the Crowds have Departed

When we had packed up our stuff and were ready to drive home there was one over-riding emotion – being completely cream crackered! My face hurt from smiling so much (but it wasn’t forced), my feet hurt from standing so much (this was forced!) and my arms hurt from carrying everything from the car park to the stand.

But it doesn’t stop there – when you get back to the office, you need to be following up on quotes, promised calls, meetings etc, not to mention creating a database of those you met and all the business cards you collected, so that you can continue to build the relationship.

All in all, it was all worth it as we had a fabulous and extremely successful day! We even enjoyed our first ever Lithuanian meal at Skalsa Restaurant in Wolverhampton, found with the help of Trip Advisor, and to say we enjoyed it is an under-statement. The beetroot soup and pork stew was flippin gorgeous!!!

So…What Next?

Well, you may well ask! We are soon to be exhibiting at The National Coal Mining Museum, formerly Caphouse Colliery in Overton, near Wakefield. In fact soon is next week, Wednesday (30th September) to be precise! It’s being promoted by Simply Networking and whilst it’s classed as a “Mini expo”, it will be another great opportunity to promote us and our brand amongst the business community. The event starts at 10am and runs until 2pm and is completely free to attend (plus there’s free on-site parking too!), so please come along – we’ll even buy you a coffee if you mention this blog!!!

We can’t wait for this, as well as next year’s The Business Networking Show event, so be there or be square #TBNS2016

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