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Trade Show Networking Can Help Your Business Expand and Grow Market Share

Ashley Andrews

Networking is one of the most important things you can do to build your brand recognition and your customer base. You will meet people who can provide you with needed capital, and even provide supplies and materials to build up your supply chain. There are a number of ways to use networking to give your business a boost, and gain a greater share of the market in which it operates.  

The following information will help you better understand the role networking plays in the creation, maintenance and expansion of your company.

Tradeshows form the basis for many networking plans

If you’re running a niche business, such as an auto manufacturer or juice box company, it’s a great idea to attend trade shows, exhibitions, and niche meetings. These events give you a twofold advantage. First, you’re able to take advantage of opportunities by setting up a table (or booth), which presents your company’s products and services to other attendees. Second, you’ll benefit from walking around, making connections, and connecting with similar niche businesses.

You’ll need someone to man your booth while you’re away. At any networking event, it’s imperative to make the rounds and examine what other tables have to offer. Carry business cards, greet strangers, and make those connections. If you’re understaffed, look for temporary staffing solutions that can connect you with talented marketers or business people, who are registered for short-term or on-going opportunities. Talent agencies staff temporary employees that specialize in running exhibits and demos.

Making Connections

Making introductions can be an awkward and daunting task, but it’s the only way to get what you want from a networking event. Here are some tips to help you build connections through quality introductions:

  • Come up with a one-sentence introduction, or elevator pitch (it’s called an elevator pitch because of its length; it should be over in the length of time it takes to ride an elevator from one floor to another). Development Crossroads recommends taking the time to “craft a one-sentence networking introduction, and try it out at your next networking event.”
  • Use a shared experience to create common ground. If you’re in the same business, this shouldn’t be difficult. If not, put out your feelers and find something to connect about.
  • Focus on your expertise, and don’t deviate from what you do. You’re an industry specialist, so tell people about that. Share client stories, business anecdotes, and experiment with what works.

Gather Identifying Info and Stay Organized

Attempt to acquire the email address, company name, and cell phone number from all contacts. Place this information in a special binder, called your contact binder. These can be pocket-sized or larger.

Lots of people will attempt to make contact with you, as well. They’ll put out feelers, and assess how your business could benefit theirs. Look for situations that are mutually beneficial, and avoid any attempt to oversell you items and services you cannot afford.

By attending trade shows, marketing events, and even job fairs you are meeting new people who are capable of supplying products for your business, offering sourcing of those supplies and raw materials, and/or partnering with you to increase your customer base. All-in-all, these are the benefits of a networking event, and good reasons to attend. 

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