Going to a staffing industry event is exciting, especially during trade show season. You have the perfect opportunity to show off your services, get more clients and candidates, and learn more about our industry.

I’ve already discussed the most common mistakes we see staffing companies make at these conferences, but there’s lots you can do right, too!

Before you head off to your next event, take the time to do these things:

Set goals.

  • How much revenue do you have to close to justify the cost of exhibiting?
  • How many new clients or candidates do you need to generate that revenue?

Be more than an exhibitor.

  • Ideally, become a speaker. Nothing builds credibility (or booth traffic) like speaking!
    (If you are headed to Staffing World in Chicago this year, Brad Smith and I will be doing an opening session titled How Not to Sell Staffing).
  • Plan to host a private event for your clients and/or prospects. Having a little “private time” with your clients is an ideal way to strengthen relationships and discuss new ideas.
  • Co-sponsor an event. You get the benefit of more personal interaction with your clients and the clients of your co-sponsors.

Have a strategy.

  • Who are your “A” prospects?
  • Why would people want to meet with you?
  • Where can you engage clients and prospects at the conference?
  • How can you reach people before and during the event?
  • How will you follow up after?

Invest in multistep, multidimensional preshow marketing.

  • Send something people can’t resist opening (package, FedEx).
  • Deliver value with your marketing (something educational and/or fun).
  • Give people a reason to stop your booth. Better yet, ask people to preschedule a time to meet.
  • Call, email and connect on LinkedIn with every person on your mailing list.
  • Schedule appointments in advance (don’t wait to get to the show to plan a time).
  • Trade cell phone numbers with prospects, so you can connect at the show.
  • As soon as you get to the event, confirm appointments. If you don’t have a cell phone for your prospects, call their rooms at the hotel

Make your booth compelling.

  • Turn your booth into an eye-catching billboard.
  • Forget the pens. Find a giveaway that people actually want.
  • Bring the right sales collateral. Ideally, something specific for the show.
  • Train your team to work the booth.

Up Next: Connect, Connect, Connect!

Being sufficiently prepared for a trade show is only half the battle; you also need to be ready to make an impact while you’re there. In my next post, I’ll review everything you can do the day of an event to make all the hard work you did beforehand worth it!

Don’t want to wait for the next post to publish? Download the Idea Club article, “Get MORE ROI from Job Fairs and Trade Shows” now!

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