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Networking 101: Using Your Trade Show Displays To Meet Others In Your Industry

Too many people think of networking as selfishly using someone else, but that’s not the case at all. Creating relationships is what business is all about and there’s nothing wrong with building and fostering relationships so that they are mutually beneficial to both parties. Before taking your trade show displays to an event, considering giving all your employees a quick ‘Networking 101′ crash course. If you’re going to bother with trying to network at an event, make sure you’re taking the steps to do it right.

Tip #1: Don’t Ignore The Pre-event Party

Too many people are concerned with what their trade show labor is doing to set up and because of this, they think they’re too busy to attend the party before the event. Although it might just seem like this is a chance to have a few cocktails, you must not miss the party. This gives you a chance to meet potential clients in a fun setting and means you’ll be able to strengthen the relationship you have with your existing customers.

However, attending the party does not mean you should drink to excess. Besides setting a terrible impression for your customers, over-indulging at a party will leave you feeling hung over when it comes time to attend to your trade show stands.

Tip #2: Use An 80/20 Listening Ratio

When networking, too many people are focused on telling others all about their skills and their company. Instead, just shut up and listen. You should be listening 80% of the time and talking 20% of the time. That doesn’t mean that you should be talking about yourself during that 20%. Ask questions about the person you’re talking with and really get to know their business. As you get to know your contacts on a more personal level, they’ll likely start to send referral business your way.

By really listening to people who visit your displays, you’ll be able to tell whether they have a need for your products right away or whether you should place them in a file so you can follow up in a few months.

Tip #3: Consider Networking Outside Your Trade Show Displays

While it’s true that you’ve brought your trade show stands to an event to tell people about your products or services, you can also consider trying to network outside of your trade show displays. Take a few minutes out of your schedule if you see two customers that can benefit from meeting each other. If you make yourself useful to others, they’ll also think of how they can help you.

Selling and networking are two very important reasons your company probably takes their trade show stands to an event. Most people think that networking is as simple as meeting a few people, shaking some hands and bringing business cards back to the office. However, there’s a lot more to networking if you’re going to do it right. Take these tips and you’ll become a perfect networker.

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