In a busy market, taking time out from the office can seem like a luxury you can ill-afford. However, it is perhaps never been more important to attend events, network with lenders/providers/peers, listen to experts, learn new business tactics, and essentially take in a wealth of knowledge about the current state of the market and the opportunities that exist within it.
We are just moving into the Spring event season and there are a number of stand-alone exhibitions as well as various other provider-focused events to choose from. Clearly, location, exhibitors and content will be three key concerns for any adviser but, whichever one you choose to go to, the important point is to make the most of the time you have there.
One day might seem like a long time, however there are always distractions and as the doors close at the end of the day, it would be a crying shame if you were to realise you had failed to see an important contact or missed a vital seminar session.
Use the buttons below to see the eight things you should be doing to make the most of your time at an expo.
1) Plan ahead
After registering for the event, make sure you make a note of those exhibitors, seminar sessions that you do not want to miss. All the information should be on the website or you can pick-up the exhibition programme on arrival and mark out where you plan to spend the day.
2) Arrange meetings before you arrive
Communicate with exhibitors, peers, potential contacts, prior to the event. Find out who is going to be there and organise catch-ups and meetings. Exhibitions tend to be busy places with plenty going on – you can easily get sidetracked and end up not speaking to the one person you really wanted to.
3) Make sure you attend the seminars you want to attend
Make sure you attend the seminar sessions you planned to. Some sessions can get extremely busy and again you do not want to miss out on a seminar that could offer a great deal to your business.
4) Work the hall
Plan sufficient time in the day to wander around the exhibition hall. There will always be exhibitors that you have not come across before or a product/service/innovation that is completely new to you. By ‘working the hall’ you can view everything the exhibition has to offer and make those contacts and secure that information.
5) Free stationary is great but it is not the real reason you are there
Do not treat the exhibition as a stationary-generating day out. How much is a pen or post-it note these days? If you are visiting an exhibition to only pick up freebies, then I would suggest you stay in the office. Of course, exhibitors will be handing out such things but do not make this the only reason to go and speak to people on a stand.
6) Speak to other attendees
Advisers do not often get a great deal of time each year to speak with their peers so make the most of this opportunity. I guarantee there will be business-specific information, tips and help you can gain from talking to those in the same profession.
7) Follow the event on social media
You might be attending but there is a lot that goes on throughout the day that you might miss. Keep up to date with Twitter, for example, and you might come across some insight/information that you can use on the day and perhaps visit the exhibitor to find out more.
8) Follow up on your activity
It is too easy to come back from an exhibition and slip straight into the day job and not use everything you have learnt. Exploring new opportunities will depend on you doing the groundwork and while exhibitors will be in contact after taking your details, why not get ahead of the curve and contact them first?
As in most parts of business life, to get the most out of anything, you have to plan, prepare and execute effectively. A day at an exhibition is no different – understand why you are attending, what you want to achieve and the best way to go about getting what you want.
By doing this, there should be no feeling that you have ‘wasted’ a day out of the office, instead you will want to know when the next exhibition is to make sure you are as up to date as possible and you continue to push your business forward with the opportunities generated.