It’s all about preparation, know who you’re meeting!

Working in the events industry and delivering events not only in the UK but globally, means that you need to have knowledge. Some clients you deal with may only require incentive travel trips. But you still need the knowledge to understand and see what’s out there, what each destination is offering and if any new venues or hotels are opening.

 

So for most of us, the easy option is to attend fam trips with fellow peers from the industry, who are also looking to build their own knowledge. Although there are always a few people on those trips who I still struggle to work out how they gained a place? But that’s for another time.

Alternatively, you can attend exhibitions or shows, be it the Meetings Show, IMEX, Confex, EIBTM or various other industry events.

You may even gain a place as a hosted buyer, for this you get taken to the event/show, have a set amount of appointments and it normally involves a night out, which leads to a very heavy head the next day. But this is what our industry is all about, working hard and playing hard.

This can be a bit unfair for the exhibitors, especially when people are missing appointments.  How frustrating for the suppliers! But this isn’t the biggest frustration. I would say turning up for an appointment with a person who I’ve chosen to meet with, who knows nothing about the company I work for and further to this hasn’t read any of the notes that I’ve taken the time to write up (in order to give them an understanding of what I’m looking for.)

Confused? I am too. We now live in a world where everything is at our fingertips. Where the internet is a tool we all use. Yet, people don’t follow the simple rule of doing your research before a meeting.

Some good examples where we do this research so well:

 

  1. Job interviews – researching the company and the role and seeing what they’ve done over the past 12 months. (Or would we just turn up and say ‘so tell me about the business’?!)

 

  1. Purchasing a car – researching the best price, deciding what type of car you need and the gadgets that it comes with. (Or do we just turn up and take the first option regardless of the vehicle’s fuel consumption? I think not!)

 

So why am I presented with the same question time and time again when attending these shows? ”So what is it you do?” and I end up spending 10 mins of my time explaining the company I work for. Resulting in spending less time on talking about why I wanted to speak with them. If they had been better prepared and done their research surely this wouldn’t need to happen.

All it leaves is the lasting impression they don’t know my brand and don’t understand what I do. Because if they did I wouldn’t be having to explain, and they wouldn’t be trying to sell me services I already supply to our clients. Again, preparation would help us all stay focused on the reason why I’ve organised the meeting in the first place.

Another example of a good experience; I went to a show last year and the supplier emailed me before the visit, asking if I had anything, in particular that I was looking for. Immediately I thought ‘nice touch’, so I sent over some details of what I was looking for and what our client expected. When we met at the show, they had pulled together a personalised presentation meeting all my requirements. Although, I understand this isn’t easy for all to do – you have to admit the attention to detail really stands out. We did end up putting them forward to the client. Unfortunately, on this occasion, they went to an alternative destination. But the point being – they took the time and tailored the presentation for me – the buyer. They prepared for our meeting, and as a result, we’ve used them with other clients since my meeting.

Use the simple rule – research the company – it means as the supplier you can spend more time selling, and the buyer will be more likely to buy.

We say triple check, but I would suggest prep; prep and this leads to sales. So simple, but so true.

Some interesting tips here, that may be useful:

http://planyourmeetings.com/8-top-tips-secure-quality-leads-at-trade-shows/

http://devsavvy.com/client/ssr-blog/blog/news-and-tips/5-tips-to-make-your-meetings-trade-shows-and-events-more-effective

 

Ryan Curtis-Johnson

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