If you are anything like me, most of the time your inbox is flooded with offers from networking communities promoting their latest and greatest networking events. Whether they be specifically geared meet-ups, like NY Tech Meet-up, or general expos that allow you to exhibit your business’s collateral material while making new acquaintances, opportunities like this can be more beneficial to your lead generation than any advertising space. After all: The most lucrative form of advertising is word of mouth.
Expos allow people to shake your hand and literally see what you and your business are all about. Assuming that you don’t outsource people to work the events, it provides the opportunity for prospective clients (for everyone who can walk away from your booth/table/conversation that day having learned something they did not know is a prospective client, and let’s keep in mind that there are different types of clients that exist now for a small business owner, but more on that in a minute) to see who works at the company, to see the faces and hear the voices of the individuals that drive your company’s success. Let’s not forget to mention (nor act like you won’t feel like the only pie in a world of cake should you not have any) the personalized accessories that are associated with networking events. The concept of ingratiating your brand into every palm card you display, pen you put out, or apparatus you put behind you is what makes it worth your time to attend expos. The delight I feel every time I hear “the S in that logo looks so familiar, like I’ve seen it a million times” is indescribable because it means that Sandwire, as a brand, has done its job and it has done it right. Putting your logo out there is the only way for it to garner recognition, ergo, the more you present it, the more recognizable it becomes.
Now let’s talk (briefly) about the different types of clients that present themselves at events. Oftentimes, the people the approach you at expos don’t need your service, already have someone who performs your function within their organization, or really just wants one of those cool mouse pads you put out on the table. Either way, as you explain your business and what it has to offer, there are a couple of goals that you may strive to achieve. The first is to make your product or service stand out in such a way that they will later feel compelled to answer to you follow up email, call you for more information, or (the optimal intent) schedule a meeting where you can talk about furthering your professional relationship.
The other goal is to bestow facts that they may not have known before. In doing so, you become a source of untapped information for them. Although this may not be enough to drive them to invest monetarily, it may be enough for them to inspect your social media outlets, and assuming you spend some of your time in the world of social media marketing, as they like/follow/subscribe to what you write and post, they have made your time and money well spent. As they find what you have to say beneficial, they will share it with the people they know. As the people they know come to find your posts equally as informative, they will spread it, right on down the line, extending the reach of your brand. Eventually, because of your single moment of enlightenment, you may reach someone who is, in fact, looking for the service that you provide. All because of a conversation you had at an event.
With all of that being said, I will leave you with a thought for the next time you trash that invitation that has been sitting in your mailbox for weeks, its deadline quickly approaching. Nothing teaches you more about your business than talking about it. When you are asked questions that you have never been asked or presented with dilemmas that your clients don’t currently have (as far as you know), you have an opening to learn something new, to spark the innovative wheels in your mind that you are sure exist, and to (wait for it) expand.
The Sandwire Team