What a tremendous learning experience a simple conversation can be while attending trade shows. This year, PTM was again a proud sponsor and exhibitor at the APA Annual Congress in Minneapolis, MN. As many people are attending trade shows as only exhibitors and working the trade show floor; conversations are what we desire, what keep us awake during the down time and what keep us on a high when all of the attendees flood the floor to see what you have to offer. Our plan going in, “no selling” allowed – let’s set expectations early, have fun and create opportunities through simple conversation.
As usual, the APA Annual Congress draws a huge turnout and attendees come in to the beautiful host city from all across the country with the goal of learning. Our team mirrored this. We were there to learn, have fun and be as productive working the trade show floor as those attending the learning sessions. Our strategy was to keep it simple and set expectations early. “Are you a drinker or a golfer?” We were giving away drink tickets and a custom golf club…not a bad draw in! However, with great giveaways always comes the chance for folks to enter and run; no conversation or opportunity in that! We set a simple contract to manage expectations by making a deal: “For a drink ticket or entry to win the custom club, would you give us 60 seconds of your time?” We could then share how we help companies with tax compliance and listen to gain insight into what challenges those we spoke with were facing back in the office. And what do you know, setting some quick expectations works!
Attendees took time to engage, hear us out and the team was able to capture so much more insight and opportunity rather than just handing out drink tickets to attendees that walked by only to then have them run away. No opportunity there! After the show our team got together, recapped and reviewed the show and potential opportunities. The PTM team agreed, from a trade show floor perspective – the show was super productive as we were able to get great traction on opportunities, even scheduling meetings on the spot (via smart phones) to continue with the momentum created within the initial conversation.
Next time you’re attending a trade show, as a reminder, make it a point to create as many conversations with attendees as possible! You’ll create some unexpected new relationships and with every relationship comes the opportunity to gain, learn and prosper.