Another year, another tradeshow – 3 things to remember about building relationships
Last week I had the opportunity to attend my second ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades). This tradeshow is always fun and is one of the few times each year Liza and I get to see the bulk of the outdoor media contacts we interact with on a daily basis.
We attended the first two days of the three-day show and had meetings scheduled every thirty minutes during show hours, oftentimes double-booked to make the most of our time. It’s the same busy schedule every year because we want to make the most of being in the same building as our main outdoor editorial contacts.
We’ve become friends with many of the editors over the years, so in addition to working, it was great to catch up face to face and hear about their recent news and accomplishments, be it family related or an upcoming fishing trip. These relationships are what help to make work fun and build trust with each editor.
Relationships are key to succeeding in this profession – whether it’s developing a new friendship or cultivating an existing one. Below are three key points to remember about developing relationships during a tradeshow.
- Don’t do all of the talking. At every tradeshow there is usually a specific product or set of products to promote to editors for gear reviews and other potential coverage. While the new products are a priority, I try to begin the majority of my meetings by asking the editors what is new with them and what they’re working on. The conversation always comes full circle (ha, get it?) back to the new products (because that’s why everyone attends the show, to see new products), but it also gives me insight to the editor’s needs, so I can tailor my news to them moving forward.
- Smile and offer to help. In between meetings, I always notice people standing around, waiting for someone to acknowledge and help them. Usually they need help from the sales team or have other non-public relations related questions. As an ambassador of the brand, I always greet them and offer assistance, even if it’s just to find the right person to assist them. This almost always generates their appreciation and begins a great experience while in our client’s booth.
- Have fun. Luckily the brands I work with make this easy. This year we were asked to wear psychedelic t-shirts and hair scarves – two things I wasn’t sure about donning while I was working (mainly due to their 1970’s flair). It was a party theme and ultimately I played along and was glad I did – it brought additional interest to the tradeshow booth and created a great atmosphere during the show.
What tips have you found successful while attending tradeshows?