Having spent last Thursday at a Business Expo, it has become evident that the days of building personal relationships have come to pass. It seems as though people have become so intently focused on generating business transactions, that they have overlooked the importance of building and sustaining individual relationships. The importance of the ‘Hi X,’ the ‘I enjoyed meeting you at the breakfast/luncheon/booth/event.’ While it may seem inconsequential, something as simple as a personalized salutation can mean the difference between ending up in the junk mail folder and converting a prospect into both a client and lead agent.
In the few days that have followed the expo, I have found myself on the receiving end of many communication faux pas. That said, before you exhibit at or attend your next trade show, resolve to avoid these tradeshow missteps:
Beware of the BCC
When sending a follow-up email to those that you spoke with at the expo, take the time to send a personalized email, for example:
It was nice speaking with you about promotional products at the expo. I hope you will consider doing business with Flying Pig Products and putting your logo on the golf balls that we discussed. If you have any questions or would like a quote, please let me know.
While succinct, this email acknowledges the individual person and their needs. It is far superior to bcc-ing 50 people on one email.
Emailing Five is as Bad as the BCC
Since my most recent tradeshow, I have received two emails in which I was addressed as ‘Hi all’ and in the company of five other individuals. While this is similar to the bcc faux pas, it is even more awkward. I had not met any of the other people to whom the email was addressed, making a reply awkward and also confusing me about their business objectives. I was left questioning who the target audience was and what they were hoping to achieve. When I met said person, they asked about 401k plans, yet the email was about referring me business. This disconnect was puzzling and made me hesitant to establish a relationship.
Bait and Switch
I met a few people at the expo, who, in-person, focused on what they could do for me. Yet, back at the office, I received emails selling me their services with no mention of their previous offer to refer me business. Being genuine can often differentiate you from the competition and it is key for building trust. Don’t change your tune and risk losing business. You are more likely to get business by remaining authentic and taking the time to build a relationship based on trust.
Tradeshows can be overwhelming for both exhibitors and attendees. There are so many businesses to remember and people to keep track of. Take the time to make notes on the business cards you collect so that you can create individual relationships and offer value to your target audiences. The real value of the trade show lies in being able to build upon the relationships that you started on the show floor.
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