When you are attending a trade show, it is not all about your trade show booth or the attention that you receive as a company. It is not even all about education or professional development. Those seminars and keynote talks can be useful and illuminating, but to really benefit as much as possible from major expos, you should take advantage of the social networking dynamic that is available at a trade show.
When we hear the term ‘social network’ today, we commonly think of online websites like Facebook or Twitter. But, the original social network (and the one that still exists today, underpinning those sites) is the people that you know in your real life. This is as important in your personal life as it is in your business life. That’s why it is not just important to socialize and network with your fellow professionals at expos from a pure enjoyment standpoint, it is a crucial way to build up relationships, identify partnerships and establish yourself.
That’s why you should make a concerted effort to meet new people at expos, especially those that might be useful to know in the future. Whether you are exhibiting or just attending a trade show, take some time to pry yourself away from the trade show booths and do some intensive networking in a more casual setting, whether it is after a discussion, at a bar or restaurant or anywhere else.
The trade show booths can also be a great place to meet people, but to really build a relationship you need to make sure that you are seen as more than a salesperson, which is what most people will perceive you as if you are standing at a trade show booth. Remember, it’s not just about having fun and meeting new people, it’s about establishing professional relationships that are strong and fruitful. This is perhaps the ultimate way to build your business. Ask anyone successful about it and they will tell you.
To really make your mark in business, you need to know a lot of people who trust you and will help you succeed. This kind of networking doesn’t end at expos, but it might start there and who knows how far it can take you in the long run.