To Business Expo, or Not to Business Expo

8 Nov 2013 | written by Ashley R. Cummings for the Small Business Tips section(s)

ToBusinessExpoOrNotTo

… That is the question.

Ever since Shakespeare posed the profound question “to business expo, or not to business expo” (or something like that), business owners like you and me have been wondering if business expos are really worth the time, energy, and money. After all, you have to pay for a booth, give up a few days of work, invest in paraphernalia to give your booth pizzazz, put on your smiley sales face, and buy a bunch of candy to get people to like you. Seriously, aren’t you so disappointed when you spend your time listening to someone’s spiel, and they don’t even give you candy? I know I am. Anyway, while the investment to participate in an expo is large, here are a few reasons why attending business expos is not only a good idea but invaluable.

Networking

Let’s put aside getting people to sign up for your services for a minute, and talk about the golden rule of business: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Business expos give you an opportunity to see who else is out there, meet people, and make connections. You never know when you will create a thriving partnership that came from a killer conversation at a business expo.

People come to you

People may initially stop by your booth just because you have delicious candy, and they are hungry. But more often than not, they like what you have to say. Instead of worrying about cold calling leads, people are walking right up to you asking for you to pitch to them. It doesn’t get much better than that.

As a quick tip, make sure you send enthusiastic salespeople to man (or woman) your booth. It may seem like a no brainer, but I can’t tell you how many booths I’ve visited where the salesperson has been texting on their phone, talking to a friend, and/or ignoring me when I walked up to them practically begging them to sell me their services. I am a super easy sale, but once I see a disinterested salesperson in the booth, I automatically cross them off my list of potential business partners.

Referrals

Okay, say the person that walked up to your booth isn’t interested in your services after all. While they may not be interested, they may have a friend, co-worker, or family member who could benefit from what your company offers. Make sure to not only sale your product to people at the business expo but to also ask for referrals. Your sales team will love you when you bring them a list of hot referrals. They may even share their commissions with you, or at least invite you to celebrate their sales victories that came from those leads.

Business expos are a great way to network with other businesses, capture new sales leads, compile a list of referrals, and even sign people up for your services right on the spot. Do yourself a favor and make plans to attend your next local business expo.

 

Ashley R. Cummings
Ashley recently graduated with her Master of Arts from Brigham Young University, and now works as a content writer at OrangeSoda. When she is not clacking away at the keyboard, you can find her tearing up the ski slopes, writing poetry, and traveling to and from Russia. And, no, she is not a spy (so far as we know).
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