There are plenty of benefits that come with visiting a business show or expo like Surrey Business Expo. In fact, you can read about some of them here on our blog post, 11 Benefits Of Attending A Business Expo, to get some inspiration. Attending shows and expos that are relevant to your business area should be something you work into your yearly plan of events, whether you want to exhibit or attend as a visitor. But once you’ve decided on attending, what should you do once you are there? In this blog post, we’ll take you through all of our top tips for visiting a business show to help you make the most of the opportunity. There’s plenty to be gained from it, so you don’t want to miss out!

What are our tips for visiting a business show?

There will be plenty to see and do at whatever business show you choose to attend. How can you make sure that you’re making the most of it and fitting everything into a schedule that is often packed?

Go in with a plan

Firstly, as with anything, it’s always good to be prepared before you visit a business show! Most shows will send out a comprehensive list of the exhibitors, talks, and other events going on throughout the day. So, you will be able to have a good idea of what is going on and when. Think about what you want to get out of attending the show in advance, and come up with a plan of what you want to do when you are there. This will mean that you are far more prepared, and will be able to make the most of the opportunities that the show gives you! Having said this, don’t be afraid to go off-plan during the day if the opportunity presents itself, as you never know who you might be able to meet, or what you might be able to do, by doing just that!

Don’t forget to attend some talks, workshops, or seminars

Most good shows will have an impressive lineup of speakers there to give talks or lead seminars or workshops. So, up next on our list of tips for visiting a business show, don’t forget to check out this programme and attend the talks or other events that interest you. Often, these speakers are true experts in their field who really know what they’re talking about. They will probably be able to share a lot of useful knowledge on a particular subject that you can then take away and use on your own business! Bear in mind that most seminars, talks, workshops, and so on, are provided to the business show visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. So, if there is a particular one that you want to attend, make sure that you get there early to secure your spot!

Go to talks

Don’t sell your own business to the exhibitors

If you are attending as a visitor, it can be tempting to shout about your own business from the rooftops. While it’s true that business shows are a great place for networking and meeting new business contacts, try to limit the amount that you talk about your own business to the show exhibitors. And definitely don’t try to sell your own products or services to them! The businesses that are exhibiting at the show will have put time and money into the day and will be using it as an opportunity to sell their own services to others at the exhibition. So if you come in as a visitor and try to sell to them instead, expect to receive a frosty welcome! Of course, it’s fine to leave your details with the exhibitors as you may want to continue your conversations with them once the event is over. However, if you do have your heart set on selling your own products and services, it is probably best to stick to the networking portion of the event, and do it with other visitors, not exhibitors.

Be open to something new

Next on our list of tips for attending a business show, it’s important to be open to anything new that might present itself. There are lots of different things going on at any business show, that even the most carefully-made plans might get disrupted when new opportunities present themselves! So, while it is good to go with a plan, don’t be afraid to deviate from the plan and go with the flow of the day, depending on who you meet, what you do, and the different talks and events on that you might not have considered before. Furthermore, it’s important to be open-minded about who you might speak to over the course of the day. It’s likely that there will be some exhibitors in particular that you want to talk to. But don’t be afraid to talk to others as well, as you never know where these conversations may lead you. Overall, just keep an open mind to the day, and grab ahold of any opportunity that presents itself!

Take your time in the exhibition hall

For most business shows, the main attraction will be the large exhibition hall where most of the exhibits will have their stands. There will be plenty of people to meet and stands to see in this part of the show! So, next on our list of tips for visiting a business show, we always recommend taking your time around the exhibition hall. In fact, you may even want to walk around it a few times to make sure that you haven’t missed anything, and to revisit anything that you thought was particularly interesting. When most people visit a business show, their aim is to gain something from it. This could be a new product or service to boost their business, or new connections. Whatever it is that you want out of the business show, it is always a good idea to really take your time to ensure that you’re making the most of this opportunity!

Always bring business cards!

This sounds like it could be a no-brainer for a list of tips for visiting a business show, but you would be surprised at how many people forget to bring a good stack of business cards. After all, one of the main attractions of a business show is that they are great places for networking and meeting new business contacts. And, if you want to stay in touch with these contacts, exchanging business cards is the best way to do it!  Also, lots of business shows have something called a ‘networking wall’. This is a place for visitors to the show to advertise their own products and services for free. So, if you want to take part in this opportunity (which is always recommended), you need something like a business card or leaflet to put up there, so always come prepared!

Bring someone along

Often, the number one thing that puts people off attending a business show is that they don’t want to go on their own. After all, it can be really nerve-wracking having to go out there and network when you don’t know anybody. But, you don’t have to do it alone! Why not bring a colleague or a friend who is also interested in business? That way, you have a bit of moral support, and there is always someone there to discuss your new findings with. Overall, the day is sure to be more fun with a friend there, and it can help ease you into a new environment if you haven’t really attended an event like a business show before.

Bring a colleague

Don’t waste the opportunity!

Finally, on our list of tips for visiting a business show, it’s important to not waste the opportunity of your visit and all of the knowledge and contacts that you made that day! Usually, you will come home from a business show armed with piles of business cards, leaflets, and other paraphernalia. It can be tempting to just dump this somewhere, with the good intentions to come back to it, but you never actually touch it again. Don’t do this! Make it a priority to go through it all soon after you get back from the business show. Then, you can follow up with new contacts you made, connect with people on LinkedIn, and follow up on any business opportunities, products, or services that you thought were interesting. Do this before your memory of the event fades and you will truly have made the most out of the event!

As you can see, visiting a business show can be fun, and also really useful for anyone who is interested in the world of business. There are a few things to bear in mind when visiting a show like this, but it doesn’t have to be a boring experience. There is so much to see and do at business shows such as Surrey Business Expo, you won’t have time to be bored. To find out more about us, including when our next business show event is taking place, visit our website here– we hope to see you there!