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Interviewer: So if you are in business and you are planning on going to a trade fair, or an event, or a conference, have you got any tips for making that a really effective use of your time?
Interviewee: I have done lots and lots of trade exhibitions before, franchise exhibitions, start your own business exhibitions, I’ve been there for marketing and for a number of different products and reasons. I think tentatively what tends to happen is people have a great, a lot of work and effort goes into the planning and what their stand is going to look like, the product they’re going to take, their brochure, their literature and their expectations, they’re going to go there, set up stall and hope that people are going to come over to them and talk to them and ask them questions. That is a very passive, kind of reactive way of dealing with the audience. An experience I had about ten years ago at the Excel Business Centre in London at a start-up exhibition, the guy I was working with at the time, we created a product, it was a specific product, it was a marketing book that we were going to be giving away for free and the whole emphasis over the two days was purely designed around building the list, we wanted to walk away from that exhibition with a list of people we could then engage with and so from the exhibition stand itself, to the signage that was laid out, the whole emphasis was that we were giving away something of value for free, the only thing people needed to do was in exchange was to give their email address. And that worked incredibly well, we found that over the three days, two days we were there we had three or four people on the stand at some points we literally had three or four guys with clipboards with two or three people waiting to give their details and of course that in itself creates a bit of momentum because when someone sees a crowd around a stand they want to know what is going on and it worked brilliantly and because we were very specific about what we were doing, there was no mixed message when people walked up and they scanned the exhibition, rather than trying to work out what do these guys do, who are they, what or why might I be interested in talking to them and all those things that you’re going to, conditional requirements you are going to put in place before you start a conversation, people knew exactly why they wanted to talk to us because we had an offer. Two days, two very, very busy hard working days, we walked away with over 600 leads and that in itself can raise an issue because you’ve also got to remember that you have to plan in time post your exhibition for your, to follow through, to get in contact with people, to distribute material you want and so on and I would say probably the biggest thing we’ve learnt from that was nowadays get people to type their email addresses into an iPad or similar, don’t get them to scribble them on a piece of paper because the problem is you will have a lot of wasted email addresses that are inaccurate.
Interviewer: I also heard you were talking about **2:25** earlier. You are also getting a really good **2:29** effect in there when you do follow up people are already inclined to want to at least give you the time of day because they have had a freebie.
Interviewee: Well I think as well, especially if you are attending, if you’re a guest and you’re attending a large exhibition with lots and lots of different people displaying lots of trade stands or speakers and so on you go there, you get immersed into it, you come away and it has been an event, there isn’t necessarily a lot that follows up. But if you’re going away and you’re meeting 10 or 15 different suppliers or trade suppliers or businesses or organisations the question is what is going to make you stand out, how can you stand out in the minds of those people after the event and if that means that you know two or three days’ time you can then follow up with an email and you can especially if you can personalise that email, or if you can reach out to the right people, if you can then obviously go through your list and start to qualify who the ones are that you want to contact, you can then reach out to them after the event and you’re just basically emphasising the value that you can give ongoing rather than simply saying we are here are you interested in talking to us?