BETA 2018… taking place between the 21st and the 23rd of January 2018, this event is one not to be missed for any equestrian business. There will be red carpet speakers, the glitzy, industry-renowned innovation awards and sessions that include exciting seminars, product demos and celebrity interviews.
Whether you’re simply attending, or are counting down to hosting your own exhibition stand, these dates mark three days ripe for growing your network, and your business. However that’s not to say that simply being there is enough. We need to drive something home here: proper preparation is a must if you’re to make the most of this opportunity.
Last year in the run up to BETA 2017, we covered topics such as attracting attention to your stall and provided tips for exceptional networking. This time around, we want to hone in on something critically important when it comes to events such as BETA – face to face interactions and making the most out of the buyer/seller relationship.
The buyer/seller relationship – there’s something you should know
Making a success of any meeting, no matter how brief, often comes down to ‘WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?’ Like you, those you talk to will wonder whether you’re interested in their product or service, or could benefit them in some other way. It is with this in mind that the tips within this feature have been put together.
It’s important to realise that a mutually beneficial relationship isn’t necessarily one where you buy from a supplier and they in turn buy from you (indeed, you may not be in need for their products or services – today or ever). Rather a mutually beneficial buyer/seller relationship could simply mean reciprocal promotion or support, such as:
– Writing a blog post about the other company – this could be a review of their product/service or an announcement about their upcoming event
– Becoming a part of the conversation with a thoughtful reply to one of their blogs or social updates – either advancing a debate, presenting a different opinion or quickly posting your agreement
– Sharing their social activity with your own audience
– Including their business on your marketing materials where relevant
– Introducing them to your key contacts
– Providing marketing, business or sales support or advice – whether to smaller businesses or to brands that may be just setting out
Tips for fantastic face to face interactions
1. Be cool, calm, collected and confident
Face to face interactions can be tough going, especially if you’re stuck in the office 364 days a year and solely communicate by phone or email.
Remember – confidence requires numerous elements:
– Practice – for which role play may be useful
– Preparation – being organised is essential for knowing that you have everything to hand should those you speak with want marketing materials or samples to take away with them
– Resourcefulness – such as knowing the complete BETA timetable to inform others and knowing which exhibit stands you’ll visit and what you could discuss whilst there
– A perfect elevator pitch – what makes you different? Why should people buy from you, and not your nearest competitor? These questions should be succinctly answered and wrapped up into a natural sounding, 30 second elevator pitch that you can recite (though not robotically) to those you speak with over the course of the event
2. Buying – what are your needs right now?
It pays to do business with those who are free and willing to reciprocate. If it’s been a while since you last reviewed your own suppliers, now is the perfect time for a re-assessment. There are three goals here: first, analysing the prices you’re paying, and whether cost-savings could be made; second, considering the quality of product and service (there’s always a balance to be struck between this and the pounds and pence that you pay); third, ensuring that each of those you buy from can or will do so in return. From here you can gain an overview as to whether any of your current suppliers are dispensable. This list should then be cross referenced with the BETA Exhibitor list.
3. Stay in touch (quickly)
Establishing a buyer/seller relationship takes time – this isn’t a one trick shot, and numerous contacts will need to be made before you win the business (or they win yours, for that matter).
Making the most of these opportunities means that you must be prepared and ready to roll as soon as you get back to your business. Post-event this could mean:
– Sending personalised emails that include short, subtle reminders as to what you spoke about (ideally including something that isn’t business focused)
– Sending marketing materials through the post (such as a brochure, flyer, letter or magazine)
– Posting updates mentioning those you spoke with or posting/messaging them directly on social media
– Leading on from the above pointer – creating a blog post reviewing BETA 2018, complete with pictures
– Following up with a phone call seven days + onwards
4. Start working on making connections way before the big day
“Team work makes the dream work”- it’s a well-worn, probably over used saying. It’s also pretty appropriate for the world of event networking.
Most event delegates and exhibitors delay making contact with fellow businesses until the day. But why? You already know who’ll be attending, so you can make the day or days of your attendance far more effective by touching base with them beforehand. You could book a meeting in, share marketing materials and include one another in your pre-event promotions (such as in a blog post prior to the event).
5. Gimmicks? They’ve got a place.
Increasingly businesses are using inventive gimmicks to attract delegates to their stand – such as interactive displays, celeb-style visitors, competitions, Q and A sessions and coffee areas.
With that said, you could simply grab a few photos when speaking to your fellow industry professionals to post on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn (this also ensures that you make online connections with those you’ve spoken with). This can also exposure your brand to their online audience, helping to grow your social media presence in the process.
Social media can be a powerful partner for using alongside exhibition attendance, so consider how you else you could combine the two (one area for investigation is allowing people to ‘check in’ to your stand).
6. People problems? Adopt a different approach
With all the tips and training in the world, some people simply aren’t built for the hard sell (or even the soft one). If you feel as though you fall into this category don’t push onwards with sales training and don’t force conversations with potential buyers.
Instead, imagine BETA as an opportunity for market research. Openly tell those you meet that you’re researching their needs and objectives – ask them about their challenges and what their opinions are on the type of product or service you offer, as well as their thoughts on your competitors and the industry in general. These starter questions should lead onwards to a natural conversation. You can then follow-up on this contact through traditional marketing routes, such as contact made through Social Media, email marketing or direct mail after the event.
7. And finally forget about buying, selling, marketing or making connections – simply talk shop
Sometimes the most valuable of connections are made by simply having an informal conversation – by having debates and discussions about topics that matter. So don’t approach every single interaction with a business-focussed mind-set – simply talk to as many people as you can and treat BETA as a platform for meeting key people in your industry.
Feeling set for making the most of BETA 2018? PressPoint will be exhibiting. Come and say hello and let us know how the above tips have worked out for you. We’ll see you there!
Alternatively, if you feel as though a helping professional hand would be in order for making the most of BETA 2018, it may be time that we talked. Call our team on: +44 (0)1953 851513 or email via: [email protected]