Small Business Solutions: Top 7 Tips to Network at Your Next Tradeshow

Networking is essential for any business to grow. However, it is something that isn’t easy to master, especially at trade shows where you already have too many things to take care of. Trade shows and conferences offer excellent networking opportunities. If you are not paying attention or not intentional about it, you might end up without any new connections and will fail to get the word out about your business.

Despite the popular opinion that networking comes naturally to some, it’s very much a skill that requires consistent practice in order to improve. If you are looking to network and make new connections at your next tradeshow, here are some tips that you can utilise.

Make Yourself Visible

One of the best ways to network at a tradeshow is by volunteering to speak at every event you attend. This not only enhances your credibility, but also directs more attendees to your booth. Speaking at trade show workshops and presenting at business conferences are both excellent ways to gain more exposure for your brand. Plan for presentations in advance by having a conversation with event coordinators well ahead of time. 

Apart from this, make sure to invite your prospects to the event so that they will visit you and your staff at the booth. When other attendees at the tradeshow see the traffic flow around you, it’ll pique their interest and draw them to you.

Meet Your Competition

Having a booth at trade show events lets you meet new prospects. However, you will also need to get acquainted with other exhibitors to get the maximum out of these events, as they are also there to leverage new business opportunities and meet new contacts.

Chances of getting more business from the competition or other exhibitors at a trade show are equal to that of prospects attending the event. Take time to visit different booths and meet your competitors, connect with them, and exchange business cards.

Practice Before the Event

If this is your first networking opportunity at a trade show event, you need to be adequately prepared, and for that, you need to practice beforehand. If you are prepared, the chances of success in making new connections are quite high, as you will be much less stressed, and your interactions with prospects will go more smoothly.

To be prepared beforehand, you can see if there are any similar events relevant to your specific industry that are being organised nearby. Check out professional associations with regular networking meetups. You can also review the attendees’ list in advance to identify the most relevant and influential profiles.

Be Authentic in Your Approach

Making genuine connections at trade shows isn’t easy, especially when people believe you’re only trying to sell them something. However, building connections and networking with strangers becomes easy if you focus on being yourself and maintaining authenticity. Also, keep in mind the setting you are in and trade with caution because you never know what could offend.

Trade show attendees, in general, value genuineness and authenticity in approach. Showing those qualities will make you stand out from the crowd.

Tell Your Personal Story

When it comes to networking at trade shows, it is not all about pitching your idea, product or company. Many of the attendees will also be interested in knowing about you and your brand story. Think about various ways to tell your own professional story in an engaging yet concise way that covers important aspects, such as how you came up with your business idea, what attracted you to your industry, etc.

Alternatively, you can prepare and practice a short elevator pitch about yourself similar to what you do for your company or product at trial networking events. Maybe have your brand story written out on an indoor banner. A well-thought out elevator pitch will give you significant leverage in various networking opportunities during trade shows.

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