Make the most of your time

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Published: March 29,2013

Tags: EXPO, Lynn Lofton, Mississippi Business Journal

It’s always a good idea for businesses to know what other businesses are doing. The Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO was founded on that principle, and the 2013 event is no exception. Information will be exchanged and valuable networking will take place through face-to-face communication. In short, the EXPO is good for business.

Becky White, marketing director of Eubank Betts Hirn Wood, PLLC, says they wouldn’t think of missing the EXPO where they will hand out information about the accounting firm while also learning about the latest news from other businesses.

“Building relationships is the main reason our accounting firm has a booth at the EXPO year after year,” White said. “This event is important because it not only promotes area businesses but gives companies an opportunity to meet others involved in the business community.”

AT&T Mississippi President Mayo Flynt feels there’s always something new to learn from other businesses. “EXPO is an important venue for companies to learn about trends in business and emerging technologies and also allows local companies to connect and expand their businesses,” he said.

Personal contact is still important in today’s digital and online world. “You don’t have to build future business relationships just digitally,” MBJ Publisher Alan Turner said. “Person-to-person meetings are still a very effective way to build contacts and conduct business.”

MBJ Advertising Director Tami Jones believes EXPO is the place to be for personal contacts and much more. “The EXPO is great for business-to-business networking and to find out who’s who, whose where, what’s up and what’s new,” she said. “Area businesses can showcase their offerings to the public and other vendors.”

The EXPO is also great for referrals and lead generations, she adds. “I would look at it as a business card and name awareness,” Jones said. “Not only is EXPO a great networking venue, it is also a great revenue boost for the city of Jackson. Most vendors will need hotel accommodations and restaurant venues in the area.”

A few tips to help maximize your business’ potential at EXPO include the following:

» Do make personal connections. It’s not just about products or services. It’s about where the person is from or where they went to school. Do you have any friends or relatives they may know?

» Don’t just take a business card blindly. Take a minute to notice things like the address or the job title; it keeps the conversation going.

» Do get organized. There are plenty of websites such as Plaxo.com that can help you create a digital catalog of your business cards.

» Don’t forget to send a short email to meaningful connections, thanking them for their time and reminding them of the conversation. Ask them if they want to follow up over lunch.

» Do take advantage of any trending technology. QR codes, for example, are little bar codes that can be printed on business cards. These contain an embedded website URL that can be scanned by your smartphone and take people to your company or personal website.

Boothmanship do’s and don’ts The following tips for “boothmanship” do’s and don’ts can help increase the odds of success.

Do’s:

» Enjoy being there.

» Know your product or service, including costs.

» Know your prospects needs.

» Know the competition.

» Know where things are in the booth.

» Know the show.

» Be enthusiastic.

» Be confident.

» Be dressed for success.

» Wear appropriate shoes.

» Be ready to talk and explain\demonstrate.

» Be honest.

» Watch your body language.

» Work with all prospects.

» Be nice to everyone.

» Keep the booth neat and clean.

» Know what is new.

» Work hard.

 

Don’ts:

» Sit, read, smoke, eat or drink in the booth.

» Have bad breath.

» Ignore prospects by forming a cozy cluster and chatting with colleagues.

» Talk with booth next door.

» Leave booth unattended or leave without informing colleagues.

» Ignore a prospect.

» Be rude.

» Be overly aggressive.

» Fake answers.

» Underestimate visitors.

» Badmouth competitors.

» Let the booth get untidy.

» Say ‘Can I help you?’

» Lean on booth furniture.

» Stand with your back to the aisle.

 

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