How to stand out at a networking event
When it comes to small businesses, it’s important to promote your brand in many ways, especially at the beginning of your new business venture. Networking events offer huge potential for prospect/customer interaction, an increase in social status and new business opportunities. In this blog post we talk about how to make the most of these events by utilising your delegate space in able to make a great first impression.
Your business’ stand
Before speaking to any potential customers, you need to grab their attention somehow. Imagine that prospects are asking themselves; “what does their stand have that others don’t?”, “what pulls me to that stand over others?”. These are the questions which could turn someone who had no intention of visiting your stand, to one who suddenly shows interest in your product/service. Be creative when deciding on what to bring to your stand and think about what your target market is interested in. Below are a few examples of what you could utilise:
• Marketing Collateral
Case studies and flyers are always useful when attempting to make a sale as they provide prospects with a short, easy to read page that they can take away. Nobody likes to be hassled when attending an event, having something to read in their own time allows them to truly reflect on what your business has to offer. When someone approaches to take a leaflet, open up a friendly conversation with them with no hard selling.
Everyone loves free stuff! In our experience, whenever notepads, pens, stress balls and sweets are placed on the stand, people gather to collect. This is a great tool to use when attracting potential customers to your stand and once they’ve reached for that notepad, get the conversation going to spark their interest.
Competitions and raffles to win prizes are other great opportunities to attract prospects to your stand, especially when they’re free to enter. Think up simple ideas to win prizes or develop a game which people can play along for fun.
Do you have the budget for video? If so, videos are fantastic for grabbing people’s attention in this digital climate. Video naturally sparks people’s intrigue and can lead to a conversation on what your business has to offer. Incorporate video case studies and customer interviews if possible.
Standing tall with a friendly smile on your face can also promote your business as one that is ‘happy to help’. Once the prospect has approached your stand, speak clearly and do not cross your arms (this creates a negative and closed off personality).
With the conversation flowing, it’s important to listen carefully and understand the person’s current struggles and how your business could help them in the best way possible. Ask questions and write down everything you can, remain professional and be honest. You want the prospect/customer to know that you are trustworthy and sensitive to their situation.
When attending a networking event, it’s always a good idea to promote yourselves on social media the day before, during and after the event. It’s important to remind customers and new businesses that you will be on stand <blank> on <this date> so that they can actively seek you out if needed. This also gives them an opportunity to research your business before actually attending the event so that they are more confident when visiting your stand.
Posting updates during the event works in the same way, to remind people where you are and what competitions you might have running. This could attract people to the stand knowing that they could have the chance to win a prize by entering for free. Once the event is over and a new day rises, post a thank you socially adding comments on how nice it was to attend the event. Include a congratulatory message to the competition winner and follow up with a blog post about the event if beneficial.