Trade Show Planning for Introverts
Industry events such as trade shows and conferences are a great place to build sales opportunities and learn from fellow professionals. If you're a bold personality, it's easy to excel in these situations. However, if you’re a more introverted person, major events can feel daunting—speaking from personal experience.
It would be easy to just keep to yourself, observe the event from your own corner, and not force yourself out of your comfort zone and into conversations with strangers. But that approach doesn't help you get anything out of the experience, and it certainly doesn't open up any business opportunities. So, how do you make sure you get the most out of an event?
Plan, plan, and plan some more. Your pre-event and post-event preparation can help you feel more confident walking into an event, which will translate into successful conversations and drives sales.
Set goals. If you're driven by a desired result, it's easier to think of conversations with prospects as steps to reaching that goal. Setting trade show goals also helps you set your conversations on the right track, gaining valuable insight that can benefit your post-event activities.
Establish communication through other channels. By sending email introductions and creating conversations on social media, you're able to initiate a business relationship and build recognition. When meeting individuals that you've interacted with prior to the event, the conversation feels easier—more like catching up rather than trying to break the ice.
Identify consistent messages. Before attending my first major trade show, I spoke to two colleagues who have years of experience attending various events and increasing salesfrom those events. I asked about their approach to different situations, how they begin conversations, and the messages they focus on the most. Understanding the sales goals, as well as typical pain points we address for customers, I was able to establish messages that helped me start conversations with other attendees.
Personalize follow-up messages. Sending a follow-up email or social media message to a prospect after the event is best practice, and personalizing the message with something that pertains to a specific conversation further strengthens the sales relationship. Anticipating trade show follow-up and lead nurturing ahead of time can help direct the initial conversation when meeting a prospect.
Evaluate how you can treat the next event differently. As you reflect on the event, remember to treat it as a learning experience. Not every conversation is going to go perfectly. As an introverted personality, I still had to shake off nerves, and my first few interactions weren't as smooth as I'd hoped. However, I can learn what worked well in conversations and identify those advantages before the next event.
To learn more about how to make every event a success, download our tip sheet: Maximize Event and Trade Show ROI