We were doing some inventory at the office and came across a video of the last in-person business expo we attended. It got us thinking about how anxious we are to return to tradeshows and the like once the pandemic is over. Participating in this kind of event presents tons of opportunities whether you go as an exhibitor or an attendee. It’s a great way to increase your visibility and credibility while meeting with like-minded people. The fact is, those involved in B2B expos are motivated and ready to talk business! These high-energy meet-ups are full of people who are willing to share their knowledge and learn something new. We miss that exchange of ideas and can’t wait for our next chance to set up our booth and start rubbing elbows with other businesses.
Daydreaming About In-Person Events
The video that got us thinking about B2B expos is the one below. We attended the fourth annual Mississauga Better Business Expo in 2019. It took place at the Mississauga Convention Centre and was full of dynamic businesses. In this video recap of the event, we talked to co-founder, Matthew Shibley. His rundown of the expo sets up the rest of the video nicely. We also included testimonials from participants and attendees and an interview with the keynote speaker. You even get a glimpse of the Key West Video booth, manned by owner Stuart Steinberg. This wasn’t our first expo, and we anticipate that it won’t be our last. Over the years, Key West Video has been part of B2B expos in Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, North York, and Vaughn.
B2B Expo Expectations
If you’ve never been to a business expo before, it’s probably helpful to know what to expect. Hopefully, the video was a good summary, but here’s a little more information. In the B2B world, an expo is full of businesses that create products and services geared toward other businesses. Walking through an expo, or meeting people at your booth, you can encounter new clients and make business connections. Be open to learning from other business owners, asking questions with a willingness to learn.
Some expos have workshops, seminars, or keynote speakers. Make a point of attending these events within the main event. Not only is this a chance to learn, but you can also participate and show your expertise in your field. Maybe you’ll even ask about being a presenter at the next expo? Try your best to circulate during the expo and meet people you haven’t talked to before. You can even spend some time looking at the program before the event to plan for the people and businesses you’d like to spend time getting to know.
For most people, the primary purpose of attending a B2B expo is networking. HubSpot conducted a survey with 750 professionals and 41% of them said they wished they could go to networking events more frequently. These are the people looking for professional development opportunities, searching out the connections who can teach them new skills or advance their careers. If you have a booth at a tradeshow, be ready to answer probing questions from people who may want to work in your industry.
Of course, there are also plenty of people at B2B expos looking for products and services they can use. Give everyone a reason to stop at your booth if you have one. We find running a video draws attention 😉 You can also try a demo or a giveaway. Put out a fishbowl for business cards and conduct a draw for one of your products or services. After the expo is over, contact the winner and make that new connection.
TRADESHOW TIP: When you take a business card, make notes about the person and the encounter on the back. This will be a useful reminder when you follow up.
Most B2B expos are all about location, location, location. A quick online search should show you what’s coming up in your area. Of course, it’s expected there will be more in-person expos after the pandemic. When you find a business expo in your area, sign up and get to know your fellow business owners. Meeting the people in your neighbourhood is an opportunity to learn more about other community events where you can represent your business. You can also hear first-hand about the experience of your peers, which can include valuable insights. These events are a chance talk about supporting each other through collaborations, cross-promotions, and references. When you become a familiar fixture in the area, other businesses can recommend your services and products.
See You at the Next Expo!
The Key West Video team has been participating in and facilitating a lot of virtual events over the last 14 months, but we miss the camaraderie of speaking to business owners face-to-face. When we get a chance to do that again, we’ll be first in the B2B expo line! Look for our booth down the road and be ready to ask us questions and learn all about corporate video production. We can’t wait to share ideas with other business owners again!