Trade show success: Visitor victoriesGary Oppertrade shows, networking
This article will benefit both new mortgage professionals and
experienced ones alike. It will help new mortgage professionals get
the most out of a trade show and help experienced mortgage
professionals take a fresh look at how to have a successful trade
If you are going to a trade show primarily to get free vendor
giveaways, stop wasting your time. Go to the dollar store. Trade
shows are serious events for you to attend in order to find new
products, learn and network. The following will help you maximize
your time at a trade show.
Let people know who you are! You should wear a nametag that has
your company name, name and possibly company logo and slogan.
Better yet, make permanent, professional nametags for you and your
Since you shake hands with your right hand, you will naturally
turn your right side toward your prospect. Your nametag should be
worn high on your right side. A vendor can read your nametag better
here than if it's on your left shoulder, lower torso, belt or some
other place. As you shake a hand, introduce yourself with your name
and ask for the exhibitors name.
Make a wants-and-needs list of what you would like to see at the
trade show, including products, services and specific companies and
What products are you missing? Do you need a new FHA lender? Do
you need to find several niche lenders? Write down all of the
products you want or need to learn about.
What services do you need? Do you need a new closing agent or
appraiser? Do you need a Web site designer? Do you need to find out
about some new technology?
What companies and individuals do you want to meet? Who have you
dealt with in the past year that you would finally like to meet in
person? What companies or individuals would you like to explore
doing business with?
Now that you have an extensive list of what you want to get out
of the exhibitors, you know exactly what you want to do at the
trade show. Take a copy of the trade show exhibitors list and
simply mark the vendors and their locations that correspond to your
Next, reorganize the list in aisle order or mark a map. When you
walk down a particular aisle at the trade show, you will know
exactly which vendors you want to see. Write down your questions or
comments for each exhibitor so that you will be prepared. At the
show, your mission is to visit all of the exhibits that you have
You should keep your breath fresh throughout the day with breath
spray. Try not to chew gum or mints, since they interfere with your
speech. If you don't have breath spray, spend just a few minutes
with a mint or gum in your mouth to freshen your breath. In
addition to having fresh breath to talk to your prospects, it will
freshen you up throughout the day.
You can never overdress for a trade show. You should wear clothes
appropriate for the subject trade show. Business attire would be
appropriate for a local trade show commencing in the evening after
work. Casual clothes would be appropriate for a trade show at a
resort. Regardless of the setting, dress professionally.
Differentiate yourself from your competition with your dress.
Give your undivided attention to the exhibitors. Do not eat or
drink during your excursion. If you must drink, do not drink
alcohol. You are at work just as much as if you were at the office.
Turn off your cellular phone.
Time is precious
Many times, you realize that an exhibitor has no products or
services that interest you. Thank the exhibitor and proceed. Don't
waste his and your time. Eat or drink before or after you have
accomplished your mission. Don't waste your time talking with
friends and employees. You are on a mission.
Spend some time talking with your current account reps. Learn what
new products they may have. Introduce yourself to the other
employees of your current vendors. Get to know the decision makers
and people in the organization who can get things done.
Gather literature. Read the material as soon as possible and follow
up. Contact the vendors. Throw out literature that is useless to
you. File the literature that you may later want to follow up
Bring your appointment book and set appointments with the vendors
you would like to pursue a relationship with.
Trade shows are a good place to network. You will primarily be
networking with newly found exhibitors and your current vendors. Do
not forget to meet with your colleagues. They are good sources of
information and knowledge.
Many trade shows offer educational courses and seminars. You should
take advantage of these excellent opportunities. You may even have
the "Opper-tunity" to hear me!
Hospitality suites are a good way to socialize and learn more about
a company. Food and drinks will be available. Try to keep your
alcoholic drinking to a minimum so that you will stay in control.
The hospitality suite provides a good, controlled environment for
You may want to stay overnight at the trade show. Make reservations
at your hotel long in advance. To avoid the hassles of finding
somewhere to eat in a town that might be overrun with trade shows
and other exhibits, you should make advance dinner reservations. If
you will need a car, those reservations should also be made far in
advance. If you are planning to host a dinner, those reservations
should be arranged in advance.
These trade show attendee success tips will help you have a very
successful trade show experience. Following these tips will help
you enjoy every trade show to its fullest. Ill see you at the next
Gary Opper, CPA, CFP is the president of Approved Financial
Corporation and is past president of the Florida Association of Mortgage
Brokers Miami Chapter. He may be reached at (954) 384-4557 or
e-mail [email protected]