There’s some great posts about
surviving visiting BETT (which mostly boil down to wearing comfortable shoes and bringing your own lunch) but we thought it might be useful to offer up another perspective: ways to have a productive experience with stand staff at BETT.
This all comes from our experience as long time exhibitors so here’s our top tips for meeting the sales folks (we’ll be at Stand B200 by the way, if you want to try any of them out).
1) You’ve got a camera in your pocket – use it.
There’s a good chance you’ll have a smart device on you with a decent camera. Take photos of products, of the company URL, of the ID badges of the exhibitors (so you can ask for them afterwards if you want to follow up). Collecting these pictures, which can be shared later, will provide aide memoires for products you were interested in.
Bonus tip: Set up an Instagram account to build a photo set, which can be easily shared with your colleagues. You can even add filters to make them look all hipster and cool, if that’s your thing.
2) Document product demos
Just before the exhibitor you’re engaged with launches into their product demo, ask them if it’s OK to video them giving a 2 minute pitch. You can then play these to your colleagues when you get back to school. Sooooo much easier than having to explain it yourself.
Bonus tip: Don’t bother filming crowd demos as the presenter will be drowned out by the background noise.
3) Dead trees
You will collect a million leaflets, brochures, and price lists. And then the majority will go into the recycling when you get home. Exhibitors know this, but deep down we still hope you keep and study them.
So take 3 clear plastic wallets – one for “Yes”, one for “Maybe”, and one for “No”. Then simply put the leaflets into the right folder so when you get back to school you can save time as they’ll be pre-filtered. PS Don’t tell the exhibitor which folder you chose. No one wants to see their lovely leaflet go into the “No” folder!
Bonus tip: You’ll see lots of QR codes around the show so download a QR reader before you go.
Every stand will have branded freebies – from sweets to pens to mugs to USB sticks and much, much more. Picking up giveaways is half the fun, right? As keen as you are to re-stock your stationery cupboard on your visit please take the time to engage with the stand staff before doing so. They may even have better secret freebies stashed away or competitions you can enter.
Bonus tip: If you’re going in a group, have a competition to see who can pick up the most interesting/daft/amazing freebie. You’ll be surprised what oddities turn up. Actually this would make a pretty decent Twitter hashtag challenge.
5) Stand staff are not always Sales Staff
There’s a good chance, especially on the smaller stands, that you WON’T be talking to a Sales person. It’s just as likely to be a Product designer, Editor, Customer Service Advisor, Technical Support, or even the CEO! The idea is that stands are all staffed by slick pushy sales people is a myth.
Bonus tip: Ask directly about show discounts. Ask for their personal card, or email address to follow up afterwards. Ask about how the company will follow up with you afterwards. You may have a better way for them to get in touch, or arrange an in house demo. You WILL get lots of contact from exhibitors afterwards so you may as well get in front of the conversation.
6) Be social
If a product, company, or exhibitor has particularly impressed you let people know! Right away! Tweet recommendations on the show hashtag and blog about it afterwards (or during if you’re super whizzy). Not only can you show your support when you’ve had a good experience with an exhibitor/product (which, speaking as an exhibitor, gives one a lovely feeling of a job well done) it could also help other people to find the good stuff. Remember to add the stand number.
Bonus tip: Do make the effort to shout about smaller companies/start ups – they tend to be harder to locate, appreciate the support, and are often hidden gems.
7) Identify yourself!
Order some business cards before the event, to give to exhibitors you like, or contacts you make at the event. Try Moo.com (fancy) or Vistaprint (cheap and cheerful).
Bonus tip: Make the picture on the front of the card YOU – that makes it much easier to remember who you were.
Bonus bonus tip: If you use Twitter, add your Twitter name to your badge/card.
If all else fails you can just do Gangnam style with Moby.
So those are our tips. Do you have any you’d like to share?