Preparing for IBTM? Focus on your 5 P’s!
How to get the most out of visiting IBTM and other travel exhibitions using the 5 P’s
IF one was to break down the Meetings and Incentive Industry to its bare bones i think it would look something like this:
The Core of the Meetings and Incentives industry are people, and for many companies, 80% of your business comes for 20% of your client base. Therefore attracting the right people to your brand should be any marketeers number one priority. The age old saying of is it not what you know but who you know is still the number one business driver for any DMC, Incentive House, Conference Venue or Hotel….But it is not just about knowing the people they have to be the ‘right people’.
Exhibition organisers pride themselves in creating the melting pot where right people get to network – an opportunity to be introduced to clients, future co-workers and insightful industry trends. Generally you always come away enthused, inspired and encouraged….but do they make a difference to key reason why you are there – to get more business? Here is my overview on how you can approach exhibitions and meet the right people in the future using the 5 P’s:
Be professional and presentable…this does not mean where a shirt and tie if that is not your style. Often at exhibitions people opt for a ‘no tie’ policy – but make sure you have a pack of mints in your pocket (especially if you are smoker)…fresh shirt, not too overpowering after shave /perfume and a big smile!
Pre book your meetings – use the exhibition meeting scheduler to ensure you meet the people that you think would be most beneficial for your business. Target the right people and analyse if they are in anyway connected to your loyal 20% client database. It is always a great conversation starter sharing that you have a common contact or interest.
Evidence that you have researched your target candidates will only impress them and help you create a better first impression! Therefore find out as much as you can about them before the meeting. Don’t spray and pray…aim to be selective in terms of who you want to meet.
Tip: Linkedin is a great tool to do conduct right people analysis. Upgrading to a premier account can increase your out reach capacity.
The first impression counts….strong handshake and always look the person in the eye when introducing yourself and SMILE. It costs nothing but creates much.
Take the opportunity to invite your key partners / clients for a meal or out for a drink during the exhibition. One has to acknowledge that relationships, and hence trust, develop more after hours than at exhibition itself.
Tip. Always spend an hour or so when you are back at the hotel room to remember faces to names. Perhaps even taking a selfie after your meeting to help you remember the name…this really impresses people as not many other people do this…and there is nothing worse than getting the name wrong.
After day one of an exhibition you have probably met all your targeted Right People candidates. Take the opportunity on day 2 and 3 to spend some time in seminar / learning zones. This is a great opportunity to be inspired by ‘influencers’ in the industry and get an understanding of trends. If the speakers cannot offer either of these 2 insights do not hang around for the duration of the talk – move on…if they do, make sure you ask questions and share contact details after the seminar.
Sometimes people get tired and by the last day really do not want to be there…or even worse already left. Seeing a vacant company stand is the cardinal sin when it comes to exhibitions!
Always remain upbeat, positive and enthusiastic – people want to work with people who have these attributes. Take an opportunity to say hi at any given moment….whether it be in the cafe waiting to be served a coffee or on the bus to the exhibition hall itself. It is often the ‘chance meetings’ that prove to be the most beneficial. Carry a pen and note on the back of the business card or in a small note book of who you met when.
Show that there is lead in your pencil! Take the initiative to follow up after the exhibition. Remember, ‘You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do’.