Participant Tips

Exhibitor Tips, Participant Tips, Workshops and Webinars

Why Should I Participate in Trade Shows?

Trade shows are a vital component of many business strategies due to their multifaceted benefits. These events provide businesses with unique opportunities that are difficult to replicate through other marketing channels. Here are several reasons why trade shows are important for businesses: 1. Direct Customer Engagement Trade shows offer businesses the chance to interact directly with potential and existing customers. This face-to-face engagement allows for real-time feedback, personalized interactions, and the building of trust and rapport. Customers can see, touch, and experience products firsthand, which can significantly influence their purchasing decisions. 2. Lead Generation One of the primary benefits of trade shows is the ability to generate high-quality leads. Attendees are often decision-makers or have significant influence within their organizations. This targeted audience means that the leads collected are more likely to convert into actual sales. Moreover, they often attract people who are actively looking for solutions, making them warmer prospects compared to leads generated through cold outreach methods. 3. Brand Awareness and Visibility Participating in a trade show increases brand visibility among a concentrated group of industry professionals and potential customers. Even if attendees do not make an immediate purchase, they become aware of the brand, which can influence their future buying decisions. A well-designed booth and effective promotional materials can leave a lasting impression. 4. Competitive Analysis Trade shows provide an excellent opportunity for businesses to observe their competitors. By walking the floor, businesses can see what others are offering, their marketing strategies, booth designs, and customer engagement tactics. This competitive intelligence can inform a company’s own strategies and help them stay ahead in the market. 5. Networking Opportunities Trade shows bring together a wide range of industry players, including suppliers, distributors, and potential partners. This concentration of industry professionals facilitates networking, which can lead to strategic alliances, partnerships, and collaborations. Networking at trade shows can also lead to media coverage and PR opportunities, further enhancing a company’s visibility. 6. Market Research and Trend Spotting Attending trade shows allows businesses to keep a pulse on industry trends and innovations. They can gather insights into emerging technologies, new products, and shifts in customer preferences. This information is invaluable for product development, marketing strategies, and overall business planning. 7. Sales and Order Taking Many businesses attend trade shows with the primary goal of closing sales and taking orders. The concentrated environment of interested buyers makes it an ideal setting for demonstrating products and services and securing commitments. They often have dedicated areas for order taking, which can streamline the sales process. 8. Product Launches Trade shows are an ideal venue for launching new products or services. The gathered audience of industry insiders and media representatives provides a captive audience for product demonstrations and announcements. A successful product launch at these industry events can generate buzz and media coverage, amplifying the reach beyond the event itself. 9. Educational Opportunities Many trade shows feature seminars, workshops, and panel discussions led by industry experts. These sessions provide valuable learning opportunities for businesses to gain insights into industry best practices, regulatory changes, and innovative solutions. Staying informed through these educational sessions can help businesses adapt and thrive in a competitive market. 10. Building Relationships Building and maintaining relationships with existing clients, suppliers, and industry peers is crucial for long-term success. Trade shows offer a conducive environment for nurturing these relationships, as the informal setting can foster deeper connections than formal business meetings. Trade shows play a critical role in business development by offering a multifaceted platform for engagement, learning, and growth. The unique combination of direct customer interaction, lead generation, brand visibility, competitive analysis, and networking makes such events an indispensable tool for businesses aiming to enhance their market presence and achieve their strategic goals. By leveraging the opportunities presented businesses can stay competitive, innovate, and expand their reach in the market. For an expanded view on this topic refer to our article How to Choose the Right Trade Shows for Your Business. — About MEET MEET helps international B2B & B2G companies scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections. Contact Bill Kenney to discuss your U.S. expansion goals bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Market-Entry, Participant Tips, Return on Investment

Navigating the Trade Show Terrain: Choosing the Right Trade Show for Your Business

In the bustling commerce landscape, trade shows stand as vibrant hubs of opportunity. These events offer a unique platform for businesses to showcase their products, connect with potential clients, and stay abreast of industry trends. However, with a plethora of trade shows spanning various industries and niches, choosing the right trade show for your business can be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. So, how do you navigate this terrain effectively? Let’s delve into the art of choosing the right trade show. Define Your Objectives Before Choosing the Right Trade Show: Before delving into the myriad of trade show options, it’s imperative to define your objectives clearly. Are you aiming to generate leads, build brand awareness, network with industry professionals, or launch a new product? Understanding your goals will serve as a compass in guiding your selection process. Each trade show caters to different objectives, so aligning your goals with the focus of the event is crucial. Research Your Target Audience: Understanding your target audience is fundamental in selecting the appropriate trade show. Consider demographics such as age, gender, profession, and interests. Research which trade shows attract attendees that closely match your target demographic. For instance, a technology company specializing in gaming peripherals would likely find more value in attending gaming expos rather than general tech conventions. Evaluate Industry Relevance: Not all trade shows are created equal. Some cater to broad industries, while others focus on specific niches or emerging sectors. Evaluate the relevance of the trade show to your industry and niche. Look for events that attract key players, influencers, and decision-makers within your sector. Participating in a trade show that aligns closely with your industry ensures that you’re surrounded by individuals who understand your products or services and are more likely to convert into leads or collaborators. Assess Past Performance to Improve Trade Show Selection: One of the most reliable indicators of a trade show’s potential value is its past performance. Research the history of the event, including attendance figures, exhibitor feedback, and post-event analysis. Analyze factors such as foot traffic, lead generation opportunities, and return on investment (ROI) for previous participants. Positive testimonials and success stories from exhibitors can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the trade show in achieving business objectives. Consider Geographic Reach: Geographic location plays a significant role in determining the suitability of a trade show for your business. Consider whether you’re targeting a local, regional, national, or international audience. If your business operates primarily on a local scale, attending a national or international trade show might not yield the desired results. Conversely, if you’re business has established product-market-fit in the U.S. then national shows can offer invaluable networking opportunities and exposure to the entire market. Evaluate Costs and Resources: Participating in trade shows requires a significant investment of both time and resources. Evaluate the costs associated with exhibiting at each trade show, including booth rental fees, travel expenses, promotional materials, and staff wages. Calculate the potential return on investment (ROI) based on your objectives and projected outcomes. While larger trade shows may offer greater exposure, they also come with higher costs. Balance your budget constraints with the expected benefits to ensure that you’re making a financially prudent decision. Seek Feedback and Recommendations When Choosing the Right Trade Show: Don’t hesitate to reach out to industry peers, mentors, or professional associations for recommendations and feedback. Their insights and experiences can provide valuable guidance in selecting the right trade show for your business. Additionally, leverage online resources such as trade show directories, forums, and social media groups to gather insights from fellow exhibitors and attendees. Choosing the right trade show requires careful consideration of your objectives, target audience, industry relevance, past performance, geographic reach, costs, and resources. By conducting thorough research and analysis, you can identify trade shows that offer the best opportunities for achieving your business goals and maximizing your ROI. Remember, success at a trade show is not just about being present but about being present in the right place, at the right time, and for the right reasons. For an expanded view on this topic refer to our article The 3 Truths of Gaining U.S. Sales Traction. — About MEET MEET helps international B2B & B2G companies scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections. Contact Bill Kenney to discuss your U.S. expansion goals bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Exhibitor Tips, Market-Entry, Participant Tips

Are Your Leadership Team and Key Personnel Ready?

Today we’re here to tackle another question about the successful expansion of your business to the U.S. Are your leadership team and key personnel ready for your U.S. expansion? This issue is another significant potential pothole in your U.S. expansion journey. Get it wrong and you’ll have greater turnover, internal dysfunction, and poor results. What we see happen with our clients reveals that there are three basic questions you want to ask Is someone from the management team ready to commit a significant amount of time in the U.S. market? In some cases that may start off as a few weeks. Maybe three to four weeks a quarter. In other cases, it’ll be someone moving right into the market. Either way, there should be significant blocks of time where there is a leader from the team ready to spend time in the market to build intelligence, to build relationships, and to build the team. It doesn’t happen without that institutional knowledge from someone from the home team who is committed. Is the leadership team ready to commit to covering the duties and responsibilities of the person who is now in the U.S. market or primarily focusing on the U.S. market? Is the rest of the team ready to cover those responsibilities full-time or has the person been replaced in those duties so you can take those off their plate? The U.S. is going to take all of their attention. It’s just like nurturing a young baby. The U.S. is going to have lots of needs and opportunities and it will be up all hours of the day and night. Is each department and team within the home office ready and committed to support the new market? The U.S. market has mission-critical startup demands just like they would have in the home market. Websites, marketing materials, social media, trade show banners and booths, and all of the marketing communications elements need to get created and iterated quickly. We see this phenomenon with every company entering the U.S. Where the U.S. team is not at the water cooler every day and they’re not in the social events, so it’s very natural that they don’t get the attention. The challenge in particular to the U.S. market is it’s very normal that within 3-years of entry that the U.S. business is larger than the rest of the business everywhere else in the world. This imbalance in need, authority, and resources between the new U.S. and home office can create a real fail point if not anticipated and addressed early. It is critical to engage your team to assure that you and your organization are prepared and committed to the U.S. expansion. Your collective investment of time, passion, and capital requires success. About MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B companies gain traction and scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Exhibitor Tips, Participant Tips, Workshops and Webinars

5 Reasons You Need to Start Carrying Business Cards Today!

As we all re-enter going to trade shows and events post-COVID, we’re seeing an incredible number of people, as many as 80%, no longer carrying business cards. By not sharing business cards, trade show participants are significantly limiting their ability to make valuable connections and losing lots of opportunities. If for some reason you’ve stopped printing, carrying, and sharing business cards we suggest you change course immediately! I’ll give you a quick story. I was at a trade show a couple of weeks ago. As I was meeting people I was giving them my business card. The first person I met said that they don’t have a business card but they have a QR code. When I scanned their QR code it sent me to their LinkedIn profile. The next person I met said the same thing, “I don’t have a business card but I have a QR code”. Their QR code sent me to their website. The next person I met with their QR code sent me to their email address. The next person their QR code sent me to their Whatsapp. In each case, I was getting sent to different places. The next person their QR code sent me to their profile on the trade show app. Now, I know it all sounds great that we are saving trees. The problem is as somebody who loves to follow up and wants to help connect you to value people and resources I can’t find you the next day. Having all of these different platforms that people are linking their QR codes to has created incredible confusion and complication when meeting people at events. Not to mention that none of them support easy note-taking, event association, scoring, transferability, etc. If you don’t help the people you meet have all their contact info in one place and ultimately their preferred place, you will likely not hear from them again. This isn’t because they don’t want to follow up. It’s because you’ve made it impossible for them to find you and if they can by some miracle find or remember you they won’t remember the context and priority actions. Given that there is not one online standard contact information exchange platform and that these disparate tools, including all event apps, spread the contacts you meet at events across a myriad of different platforms you need to recommit to carrying and sharing business cards as the only reliable option for professionals to exchange contact information. Here are our 5  key reasons why you need to carry and pass business cards at every event: An affirmative exchange of your contact information is solid. You don’t have to worry about technology. You don’t have to worry about anything at all other than handing your card to somebody. As you’ll see in the next four that that handoff does quite a bit to empower action from the people you meet. It’s your branding. This is actually an opportunity to hand your logo to someone and they’ll accept it. You’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars to build your brand yet you somehow resist handing it over to people. If somebody is willing to accept your brand give it to them. Give them two! Give them ten! They can give it to their friends! Giving a business card enables note-taking which empowers future action. You’re going to meet people who think of something or someone that they can connect you to. Without their easy ability to take notes that information gets lost. If you’re sharing a QR code with your LinkedIn or all these different other platforms it’s both impossible to find you the next day and very difficult to catalog actions. Maybe you’re looking for investment. Maybe you’re looking for customers. Maybe you’re looking for a key employee. None of that stuff can be written down or cataloged easily without a tangible business card and therefore it’s not actionable. Empowers speedy connection to key internal resources. You make it easy for the person you meet to hand your contact info with notes to the more appropriate person in their team for follow-up. The person you meet from an organization at events isn’t always your best company contact. When you pass an analog business card you remove the friction and allow the quick transfer of your contact information with notes to the right internal resource. This empowers fast and accurate follow-up. Empowers real-time connection to key external resources. It’s not unusual to meet good matches and connections for people you meet at events while you’re still on site as these are places where like-minded people gather. Having these opportunities in real-time makes it even more important to have contact information and notes easily accessible. Nothing is easier than having someone’s business card in your pocket and handing it to or allowing a target resource or powerful connection to take a photo of that new contact’s card. As you continue to reduce and eliminate friction in exchanging contact information at events, you’ll make more and better connections. Using business cards will make it consistently easier for the person you meet to take favorable action on your behalf and you for them. If someone will accept your brand image hand it to them every time! Hand them 2 cards. Hand them 10 cards! Watch or listen to the podcast: Youtube Spotify About MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B companies gain traction and scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Exhibitor Tips, Participant Tips, Return on Investment, SelectUSA

The 5 Rules of U.S. Trade Show Follow-Up

Do you want to stand out? Do you want to begin building credibility and trust? Do you want to convert your trade show participation into new revenue? If you answered YES to any of these, then you need to master follow-up in the U.S. Failure to have meaningful and timely follow-up will neutralize even the best trade show strategy and execution. We are always astounded to see how poorly most people and companies are at follow-up. Here are the 5 rules that we find to be most critical regarding follow-up. Use them to realize the potential energy that your marketing and sales efforts creates. Immediate: Like fresh produce at the market, new contacts spoil if they are not actioned quickly. Your timely follow-up communicates your interest and intent. Trust is built as your reliability is experienced. Personal: Demonstrating that you’re a good listener by reflecting back on their top interests or needs, builds connection and opens the door for additional conversation. Be professional and respectful always. Ask: Every communication must have a purpose or next step that is revealed by the ask. This could be a request to meet, a reminder to send some promised information, or a nudge to introduce a key stakeholder. Give: Knowledge and relationships are built over time. In the first follow-up share a piece of company collateral or content that relates to your audience’s goal or concern. With each additional communication, show that your expertise is aligned with their needs. Persistent: Thoughtful and persistent follow-up is critical. Make sure to always communicate a relevant valid business reason for the next step that you are proposing. Valid business reasons must be expressed from the customer’s point of view. Let them know, “what’s in it for them”. Your follow-up should align with how you want to be perceived. If you are empathic, eager, and passionate then let that be reflected in your words and actions. About MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Participant Tips, SelectUSA

SelectUSA Pro Tips – Part 3 of 3

There are a little over 2-weeks to go until SelectUSA 2022 and the last elements of your preparation should be coming together. As some have described it, this is the “World Cup” for U.S. market entry. Hundreds of support resources from the federal government, every state, many regions, business investors, and service providers will be on hand to help accelerate your successful U.S. market entry and expansion. We are sharing our pro tips for getting the most out of SelectUSA 2022 as a participant. Today’s installment will focus on successful participation. Follow these links to review Part 1 – Strategy and Part 2 – Preparation. These same rules can be applied to participating in any event. Participation Now that you’ve established your goals, defined your targets, developed a plan, and clarified your communication it is time to participate. This is just like buying a gym membership and consulting your personal trainer. The next step is to of course get into the gym and do the work. The top 3 items related to participation are: Divide and conquer: One of the biggest errors that event participants make is to work an event as a group. At SelectUSA you will make more high-value relationships by dividing and conquering. When team members work the event independently you will not only multiply the number of high-value contacts made but you will also showcase the quality and commitment of your team. Empower your team to be productive and effective independently. Engage: Be present at the event. Remove as many distractions as is possible so that you maximize the number of meetings and interactions with your target prospects, investors, multipliers, centers of influence, etc. SelectUSA is a short sprint. The conference has many components and lots of before and after-hours opportunities. You can’t do it all, so make sure what you do you do well. Follow-up: In the U.S. follow-up is quick, professional, and direct. Pre-write your post-SelectUSA base follow-up text so that your notes can be sent out promptly. The most advanced at follow-up will send their notes out on the same day as meeting contacts. Another motivator is that on 1 July many Americans will break for the 4th of July holiday. Follow-up not done quickly is almost guaranteed to get a slow response if at all.   About MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Market-Entry, Participant Tips, SelectUSA

SelectUSA Pro Tips – Part 2 of 3

There is only 1-month to go until SelectUSA 2022 and it’s not too soon to start your preparation. As some have described it, this is the “World Cup” for U.S. market entry. Hundreds of support resources from the federal government, every state, many regions, business investors, and service providers will be on hand to help accelerate your successful U.S. market entry and expansion. We are sharing our pro tips for getting the most out of SelectUSA 2022 as a participant. Today’s installment will focus on developing your preparation. Next month, in part 3, we’ll tackle participation. Check out part 1 on “strategy”, here. These same rules can be applied to participating in any event. Preparation Now that you’ve established your goals and have a plan it is critical to prepare. Like practice for an athlete or musician, preparation assures positive results. The top 3 items related to preparation are: Set appointments: Set as many pre-event and event appointments with target individuals as makes sense with the goals that you’ve set. Pre-event appointments allow you to cover many of the preliminaries so that your appointments at the event can be 2nd level and much more productive. Develop your value proposition and self-introduction: Your ability to convert meetings into opportunities will largely depend on how well you communicate. Any audience that you speak with be they customers, investors, EDOs, or partners will want to know succinctly what you do, what you need, and what’s in it for them. Keeping this initial statement to 30-seconds or less is ideal. The goal is to create interest and a conversation. One-page overview and business cards: A one-page overview of your company, your expansion goals, and your needs creates tangibility and clarity for any audience you will meet with. This document also allows your audience to take notes and more easily remember and share your details with others on their team. Business cards have a similar effect and can communicate a great deal simply and affordably. About MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Market-Entry, Participant Tips, SelectUSA

SelectUSA Pro Tips – Part 1 of 3

There are only 2-months to go until SelectUSA 2022 and it’s not too soon to start your preparation. As some have described it, this is the “World Cup” for U.S. market entry. Hundreds of support resources from the federal government, every state, many regions, business investors, and service providers will be on hand to help accelerate your successful U.S. market entry and expansion. Over the coming 2-months, we’ll share our pro tips for getting the most out of SelectUSA 2022 as a participant. Today’s installment will focus on developing your strategy. Next month we’ll dive into preparation and in June we’ll tackle participation. These same rules can be applied to participating in any event. Strategy Like the rudder on a ship, an effective strategy guides our effort and assures that we arrive at the desired destination and outcome. The top 3 items related to strategy are: Set your goals: Identify your top 3 U.S. expansion priorities. What are your imminent U.S. milestones? What gaps do you have in accomplishing those milestones? Identify your leverage: Identify the resources that can help you resolve your gaps and accomplish your top milestones. What resources at and through SelectUSA can help you with your top priorities? Who could help you brainstorm potential resources? Who’s network can you leverage to make the appropriate connections? Create your plan: How will you connect to these resources prior to SelectUSA? Who can introduce you to these people? The goal is to have as many pre-SelectUSA meetings with target resources as you can. This allows you to have next-level meetings and make meaningful progress toward your U.S. expansion priorities at the event itself. About MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

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