Last year, I wrote about things that you need as an attendee to be prepared for a conference. This year, after attending BOLO 2012 in Scottsdale, I decided to put together a little list of what you need to have if you are a vendor, exhibitor, etc. at a conference.
1. Enthusiasm for the company you are representing.
If you don’t do your research properly, you might end up exhibiting at a conference that turns out not to have your ideal customer base in attendance. It happens. But the last thing you want to do is look unenthusiastic about your company just because you don’t think anyone is biting. Even if just one possible prospect is in attendance, they might be appalled by your representation of the company enough that they won’t recommend your products or services when they get back to the office.
Your best bet – pretend everyone you meet at a conference is a potential customer and treat them with a convincing, enthusiastic sales pitch. Even if you think you know no one cares, you can consider it practice for the next conference you attend.
2. Lots of business cards.
Sadly, I have seen several exhibitors in the past who came up empty handed when going to exchange business cards. You always, always want to have more business cards than you need – to the point that it feels ridiculous that you brought so many and used so few. It’s better to have more than you need than less.
3. Detailed brochures.
As an exhibitor, you don’t want to just have business cards (unless you have a really detailed business card), but you’ll want brochures that highlight your main products and services as well. This way, when attendees and potential customers are sifting through their conference materials, they’ll see more than just a business card from an exhibitor that they might not remember. They’ll instead have the information about a product or service that they may want to try out.
There are plenty of great brochure printing services out there, so there is really no excuse not to have great brochures. Be sure that yours not only includes details about your products or services but also includes a specific call to action such as going to your website to sign up and get a free trial or learn more.
4. The right technology to present your product or service live.
Ok, there are some things you can’t present on the fly. But if you can offer up a live demo, be sure you have the technology (and wi-fi hookup) to present your product to potential customers. A great example of how this can turn your conference attendance into a boatload of customers is how I discovered Buffer at BlogWorld in 2011. Leo Widrich, the founder of Buffer App, did an excellent job of giving me a demo of the app. Since then, I’ve been a loyal customer and promoter of his service. The best part is that he wasn’t even an exhibitor – just another attendee. If more exhibitors did demos of their products (with enthusiasm, of course), they’d secure more customers at conferences.
5. Fun swag.
Many attendees at conferences are swag junkies – they are going to seek out exhibitors with the best shirts, gadgets, gizmos, and other branded items on their tables. While you might feel you are getting hit up more for your swag than your actual business cards and brochures, fear not. The people walking away with your swag are essentially marketing your brand for you throughout the conference and beyond when they are bringing your swag back to their offices. The key is to include a little blurb on what your company is about with each piece of swag you have so that anyone checking it out can at least check out your website.
As a conference attendee, what are some other things you wish exhibitors and vendors had at conferences that would make you more interested in their business? Please share in the comments!