For some professionals attending a tradeshows and conferences is a fun way to learn more in your field and have some time out of the office. Sometimes they’re even in fun destinations. Other times a tradeshow is educational and a way to find new vendors to help you do your job. You might meet new suppliers; learn about new products/services being launched in your industry or network with other professionals.
Recently I attended a huge tradeshow where our company President was speaking. I was there early to make sure everything was ready for his speech when attendees started to wander in and sit down. A woman sat in my row and I happened to notice she had some tradeshow swag already. I’m in marketing – I love giveaways and new items, so I struck up a conversation. Networking’s not always my favorite thing to do, but at these types of events I push myself outside of my comfort zone to chat with people around me.
As it turns out the woman was from a company we want to work with, and she hires the type of people we specialize in placing. I thought, wow, this is great, a real life prospect sitting next to me, but what do I do? Our conversation migrated to the topic our President was going to speak about and the challenges her organization has in attracting new talent into a less than exciting, more dated culture and environment. I could have launched into a sales pitch about how we could solve her problems, which of course we could do, but I decided to let the conversation be more educational and less about my company. We focused on business and more about her company’s challenges.
Listening to her challenges, asking pointed and thought-provoking questions let our conversation evolve more naturally into one where my company’s expertise and knowledge about the issues she’s facing were obvious to her. She asked me for more information about what we do specifically and if we could be a resource to help them with their hiring challenges. And the answer was, of course, YES!
I’m not a sales rep, but in everyone in a company needs to understand what the company does and how to explain your value statement because you never know when that next great prospect is going to sit down next to you at an event.
Have you ever been in this situation? Comment below.