Success Or Failure? Which Did You Choose?

I’ve written about planning for a Business Expo previously. In order to make this opportunity a success, you have to be prepared and know who you are trying to reach, what message you’d like to get across, what product will you highlight, and how will you start a conversation?

Well, last week was another Expo in Colorado Springs. This time, it was a Business Expo, with a wide variety of different businesses presented. But once again, it was more of the same old, same old, rather than the new and unexpected.

Booth, staffed with representatives, ranging from bored to enthusiastic (take a guess which got more traffic?), pamphlets and flyers, give-aways like pens, paper clips and cups, business cards and drawings for prices.

Guess what? It’s been four days – and not ONE follow up. Yes – it was a Holiday weekend – however, Friday would have been a good day to “shoot out” an email, or make a phone call.

It was always my opinion that businesses exhibit at Expos to gain new clients, and not taking advantage of all the walk through traffic of “fresh bodies” really misses the purpose of the expo.

Aside from some new gimmicks – nothing was new. Two things that were memorable: One of the booth had a gentlemen drawing carricatures if you gave him a business card, and another booth (a bug terminator company), had their display set up as part of a house – with bugs (rubber! but still oh so gross) crawling around and over the booth – including the floor space in front of the booth.

Did that get them more interaction? Possibly. However – did that get them more clients? Doubt it. No follow up, nothing. Specially the booth with the drawing gentlemen…what a wasted opportunity. All this foot traffic – and not one person of this business even talked to the people waiting in to line to be drawn…

So…let’s recap this. If you are planning on attending an expo, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Be prepared – decide up front who you would like to meet, what your message should be and how you’re going to follow up.
  2. Think outside the box – dare to be creative, dare to be different. The idea is not to conform, but to stand out and be memorable.
  3. Plan ahead – Decide on your follow up, bring some cards to write while it’s slow, bring a laptop to input business card information and send out emails.
  4. Engage with Expo Attendees – be open, friendly, enthusiastic, but don’t try to keep them forever. State your purpose, answer questions and let them LEAVE – unless they decide to hang around. Then have something to offer them. A discount, a newsletter, new info, tips and tricks.
  5. FOLLOW UP – You’ve just met all these new people, collected all these business cards! Don’t just let them languish in your drawer! THIS is what you paid your fees for, this is what it’s all about!!! NOW the REAL work begins! You have to continue the conversation – in many cases START the conversation…because if you had a drawing, many people will just drop their card and move on. WHAT are you going to say to them? How are you going to engage them? Keep them interested? If you do nothing, you might as well through your money out the window! (Or you can just give it to me…)

So what are you going to do the next time you’re planning on attending an expo? Was this one a success for you?



About Sabine
Mom, Sister, Friend, Traveller, World Citizen, Realtor, Optimist

3 Responses to Success Or Failure? Which Did You Choose?

  1. These are excellent points, Sabine. I’ve attended several expos and I’m always amazed at the lack of follow-up. It makes me if the participants really get why they’re there. I find this same issue with many networking groups. People seem anxious to gather others business cards, but follow-up is rare. Hmmm… maybe it’s me.

  2. Sabine says:


    Thank you. I agree that the lack of follow up, whether it’s at/after Expos or network meetings – is puzzling. With the time and money spend, and the opportunities available, you’d think attendees would be thrilled to follow up…

    And no ….I don’t think it’s you…

  3. Personally, I find the intial follow up quite easy, it’s the ones that come after that, that are not so easy. The part where you get to the nitty gritty of helping each other. I suppose some of that must be around the stuff you mentioned about knowing exactly who your market is and what you want them to do.

    For me I find because my business is internet based a lot of the people who have lists who would be in my market have very little idea of how to market to that list using the internet so the people on the list get the most out of their association with them and give the list owner another income stream.

    And part of it to date has possibly been me not realizing how little others in the ‘real’ world understand about the virtual world and addressing this in my approach I suppose.

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