Association executives, directors and other stakeholders gather at national conferences every year to learn about available software products that fill a need for their organizations. Participating in an association or nonprofit conference as an exhibitor is a significant and exhilarating opportunity to share our product with a diverse audience of interested attendees from different industries. Similarly, if you are an association professional attending a conference or trade show, these events offer great opportunities to advance your organization by checking out the newest technologies on the market.
We’ve put together a few tips to guide you through your next event, so you can maximize every conversation with exhibitors, and find your perfect software solution along the way (you might even be chatting with us at your next event!)
Attend a trade show with a specific goal in mind.
If you’re interested in visiting a specific booth, go for it! Booth staffers are always approachable and appreciate it when an attendee expresses a direct interest in learning more about their product (in fact, we love it!), so never shy from walking right up to a booth that you would like to learn more about.
Cut to the chase.
If you are looking for a software product for your association, and you know exactly what you want and need, just ask the staffer you are speaking with about the exact capability you are looking for. Avoid gray area, superfluous chatter and confusion by just asking the question that you need an answer to in order to make an informed purchasing decision later on.
Don’t hesitate to ask the booth staffer you spoke with for a business card.
If you’re interested in our product and want to keep a running dialogue with us personally, business cards are a great. Additionally, make sure you carry your own business cards, as exhibitors often collect attendees cards in a bowl.
Keep an eye on the time.
As a booth staffer, we are trying to provide you with as much information about how our product can help you, while also respecting your time. Just as we know you are in a hurry to hit up all the booths you have an eye on, respect the time of booth staffers as well.
Do your market research.
If you are evaluating several different software programs that perform similar functions, ask booth staffers to distinguish their competitive advantages over other products in the marketplace.
Have an open mind.
If you attend a trade show armed with a list of the 9 companies that you are interested in learning more about- great! But, keep your eyes open to new possibilities and new companies that can fill you association’s needs just as well, if not better. Stop by the booths of companies that you haven’t heard of yet, they might be offering just what you are looking for.
Collect educational materials.
Exhibitors design and develop materials to hand out and inform prospective clients, while also making sure that interested parties receive demos of the product. Ask for pamphlets and demos to learn more about a software solution you are interested in.