For startup founders, conferences and trade shows provide a great way to build connections, showcase products and services, validate ideas, get funding, scout for talent and hopefully, generate sales leads. According to a report from Meeting Professionals International (MPI), 40% of prospects converted to new customers via face-to-face meetings, and 28% of current business would be lost without face-to-face meetings.
This is the role of Field Configuring Events as defined by Lampel and Meyer:
Field-Configuring Events (FCEs) are temporary social organizations such as trade shows, professional gatherings, technology contests, and business ceremonies that encapsulate and shape the development of professions, technologies, markets, and industries. They are settings in which people from diverse organizations and with diverse purposes assemble periodically, or on a one-time basis, to announce new products, develop industry standards, construct social networks, recognize accomplishments, share and interpret information, and transact business.
So, if you’re thinking of reasons why trade shows are worth the investment, especially with delegate tickets running up to a few thousand dollars, here are the top 3 ways on hpw you can stand out from the crowd, to make your time at the conference worthwhile.
Use your quirks to your advantage
The best way to stand out from the crowd is to tap into unsegmented markets that have yet to be structured. Tech conferences are known to challenge the status quo, poised to be different in their format and key content, setting them apart from the traditional trade shows. Attendees and entrepreneurs at such conferences wants to. If you want to provide value to entrepreneurs, you’ll have to challenge yourself with what you’re delivering and the way you do it. No more sales pitch. Kill the unrehearsed keynote presentation. If you’re an exhibitor at the event and have your own booth, invest in some differentiating factors that can help you stand out from the rest, to spark conversation and draw crowds.
Don’t be a wallflower, mingle!
The beauty of being at an event is the ability for you to meet like-minded professionals from various industry verticals that can help and support you in your cause and business objectives. Knowing who you want to speak to is vital in ensuring that you’re reaching out to the ideal individual who shares your business goals and ideals. Looking out for an event that provides you with business matching tools and services such as Jubilia that empowers and enables you to find that match. Whilst giving physical and paper name cards gives you that credibility, when you’re at a tech conference, why not leverage on the already existing platforms you can use to connect in the moment, for a lifetime? Mediums such as LinkedIn enable you to collect your contacts’ data, and allows you to reach out to them post-event to encourage further outreach for your business.
Nowadays, many events are making it easier for attendees to connect in a more natural manner, by offering internal event apps, which allow users to browse other attendees, and make appointments and send messages online. However, while these apps are extremely useful, you should always have an ‘old school’ backup plan. So, always keep a stack of name cards by your side!
The power of research
Compile a target list. Conducting research before your meetings will help you prepare before meeting each of these individuals. Instead of using a standard elevator pitch that you’re thinking of using for everyone you meet, you should research each company, and be prepared to show them to different aspects of your service or product which would be most useful for their particular business model. While a full-blown business proposal is not needed at the early stages of your meetup (especially on ground at an event where everyone is fighting for air time), it will always be useful to have background information about the targeted company, their clients, and their existing service providers, so that you can offer them examples and use cases which are most relevant and beneficial for them.
In conclusion, know who you’re pitching to. The 10-minute meet-up at the event might very well be your big break.
Have an idea or wondering what you can do to stand out from the crowd? Ask the Interchange Network Community!