LinkedIn at a Trade-Show or Expo?

Most small to medium businesses, along with entrepreneurs attend trade shows.  Consider the following statistics:Trade Show Statistics – Benefits of Attending Shows Very often trade shows are billed as the ultimate “Business to Business” sales mechanism, without any supporting data. If you are wondering exactly how valuable investing in a trade show is, here are a few recent statistics and facts:Trade Shows cost 38% less than Sales Calls.85% of an exhibitor’s success lies in the performance of the “staff”.91% of attendees say they get the most useful buying info from trade shows and events.81% testify that trade shows help attendees become aware of new products and services.53% of exhibit managers say it’s “difficult, or very difficult”, to keep effective booth staffers.79% of the attendees say that attending trade shows helps them decide what products to buy.Trade Show visitors will tell 6+ people about their experience.91% of attendees say trade shows impact their buying decisions because the competition is in one place, allowing for comparison shopping in real time.83% of attendees have some kind of buying power.My question to you is this:  with the benefits of trade shows  as outlined above, do you make the most of this tremendous opportunity to connect via LinkedIn?LinkedIn at a Trade-Show?  Of course!!!

How would this work?  Ask those you meet if they use LinkedInWhen you meet someone that you would like to maintain a professional connection with,  such as attendees at a trade show or expo, ask them if they are using LinkedIn; if they are, ask if they would welcome a connection request. This is generally a good question after trading business cards!  If they do not use LinkedIn, ask them if you can send them a request; you may open their eyes to what LinkedIn offers to today’s professional.  Be sure to ask for their email address so that you can send them the invitation; then be sure to  follow up after the event and send the invitation.

It’s that simple.  You never know, the connection could lead to business or a professional relationship for career development or growth!

How do YOU use LinkedIn?

Statics Source: Merchant Circle

Comments

  1. Very good points Kristin; thank you for commenting! You can further connect with me on TW, FB and LI if you wish!!

  2. Although I don’t know the statistics of it all, I’m not at all surprised about trade show effectiveness over most other sales mediums. It encompasses so many rules about sales: The customer is in buying mode; the buyer can see/feel/taste/hear your products/services/staff; the marketing dollars are targeted; it adds to credibility than a phone call; you’re not interrupting them like a sales call would – they’re looking for you; you have more control over the situation.Thanks for the reminder, JL!

  3. Oh, my gosh! I didn’t even mention the power of LinkedIn, too! That’s a great way to stand out and add value to the connections you make. Being AT the trade show is only half the battle – it’s what happens after wards that closes the deal. The last trade show I went to – a franchise expo – had a bunch of business cards taking place, with a clutter of information and not a lot of differentiation. I think that I could’ve gotten more ROI if I connected via LinkedIn, saw more common interest points to connect from, and reach even more prospects. Thanks, JL!

  4. John,This is an excellent post! Not only are the points you are making true of trade shows, but of conventions and conferences too! NOTHING replaces that face to face interaction!The benefits of using LinkedIn are many, but here are 2 of my favorites: first, I can connect with other professionals in my field and when show, conferences and conventions roll around, I may have already made a connection on LinkedIn and makes the in person connection that much more powerful OR when I meet others, I make sure we are connected on some social platform and then I can get rid of the business card because I now have all of that person’s info online.LinkedIn allows you to continue the relationship and market you and your service in a way that adds value and encourages conversation.Great post John!

  5. John, those are pretty compelling stats and coupled with Pauls notes on the tradeshow benefits, I might have to rethink (or get over my fear of) tradeshows. Not the going part but the "showing" part!I’ve found the biggest benefit of LinkedIn to be the group discussions. I posted a "help wanted" for a very specialized position in a new venture and had what appears to be a perfect match in 4 hours! Since groups correspond directly with tradeshow themes, this idea is perfect John!

  6. Gina Parris says:

    Okay, I am inspired by this post. I agree with Danielle that whether its a trade show or conference the magic happens before and after. However, I am curious why you chose LI over FB or Twitter. I think I know, but it is my weakest platform for sure, so you may need to sell me on it a bit more. It sort of felt too "stuffed shirt-ish" for my personality. (And now I may need to refer to your previous post about oversharing!)As always, I love learning from you.

  7. Rochelle Veturis says:

    Great post. Great comments. Wow, another home run John. It’s refreshing to hear the statistics on the effectiveness of trade shows because I think a lot of people want to chuck them completely for social networking. We’re in this interesting in between time where you need to have an incredible and engaging presence online, in addition to strong traditional marketing (i.e. tradeshows, lunches, effective print collateral –or humane marketing). I love how you’ve combined the two. Plus, many of the people who attend trade shows may not be fully utilizing LinkedIn so what great opportunity to have that discussion with them as well. Talk about over delivery, and chance to spend more time in meaningful conversation. Score.

  8. John Lusher says:

    Thank you Paul for both comments :-) Realizing a return on relationships is a challenge sometimes, but LinkedIn has really helped me! I appreciate your feedback!

  9. John Lusher says:

    Very good points Danielle!! Any tool that helps me to maintain and grow a relationship deserves my time; that is why I believe in LinkedIn! Thanks!!

  10. John Lusher says:

    I appreciate your comments J – the Group Discussions feature is often over looked on LinkedIn! It is amazing the power in our connections; we must engage them on a consistent basis!

  11. John Lusher says:

    Gina, I am so glad this post inspired you! Dive in and learn just like you do with any platform; it will be very beneficial! Thank you for the comments!

  12. John Lusher says:

    Thank you very much Rochelle!! I do believe we should spend the time engaging online and in person; and I think LinkedIn can help with both formats! I appreciate your comments!!

  13. Very good points Kristin; thank you for commenting! You can further connect with me on TW, FB and LI if you wish!!

  14. Kristin Hovde says:

    I am farely new to LinkedIn but have already made quite a few business connections. Any way you can network with other professionals will definitely help your business in the longrun, whether that is through Facebook, Twitter, or LI. Working in the trade show industry myself, I am not surprised at how effective trade shows are. They give you the opportunity to meet potential customers who you never would have met otherwise. Twitter is also becoming a huge part of trade shows, being used by exhibitors to tell their followers a play-by-play of what’s going on at the event and special promotions they have at their booth. Social media and trade shows are beginning to work together to increase the impact of the event.

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