Heather Rushton
Heather Rushton, Communications & Member Engagement Coordinator

I’ve been involved in a good number of Expos in my time. The experience is exhilarating, positive, and it’s a darned good idea for a business- where else can you stand in one spot and have hundreds of prospective clients come to you?

The Chamber’s B2B (Business to Business) Expo is a huge event in Halifax- the biggest small business networking event in town. We’re getting excited here about the theme- under the big top! I’ve even heard rumors about a cotton candy machine…

In the spirit of preparing for this big expo, I thought I would draw on my own experience and have created a list of Top Ten Big Top Tips!

  1. Have something to hand out. People love free stuff! If word gets out that you have something, they’re more likely to come over and visit.
  2. Make sure your brand is consistent and visible. Colour, text, logos etc. should all be consistent with your company brand- so people will be able to spot and remember you easily.
  3. Take the time to chat with everyone. You never know who your next great client will be- so even if there’s a seemingly boring teenager lurking around, they may be a goldmine in disguise, or they may recommend you to someone.
  4. Find strength in numbers. If you have the option, bring two people to work in your booth. This means there’s less chance of a visitor being neglected, or having to wait around to get information.
  5. Don’t have any expectations. It’s a bonus if you happen to sign a new client while at the expo- and that’s a beautiful thing! But it’s also possible that you may just meet a whole whack of new people, get your name out there and have a great day- but without any ‘sales.’
  6. Get away from your booth for a while. Its one thing to guard your own business and be around to chat- but if there’s two of you, take turns going out and introducing yourself to other businesses. It’s always fun to see who else is there.
  7. Be prepared! Many booths have space for electricity, or require water, etc. Make sure you arrive early enough that you can double check everything- I once arrived to find my extension cord didn’t work- panic!
  8. Be a good neighbor. If you have music as part of your display, be considerate of those around you. Are you distracting from their booth? Is it irritating? Be nice to those around you- you never know when they might need your services.
  9. Tell your friends! The B2B Expo is a tremendous networking opportunity, for the vendors as well as the guests. Tell everyone that you’re going to have a booth- and encourage them to come support you. It’s always nice to see a familiar face in a sea of new ones.
  10. Don’t hide. There’s nothing worse than walking by a booth that catches your eye, only to have the person standing in it completely ignore you. Some folks are a bit shy, and may not be comfortable initiating conversation, but the less friendly you appear, the fewer people will come near you. Don’t stand behind your table- get out in front and smile!

The 2010 B2B Expo is October 21, 10 am – 5 pm, a the World Trade & Convention Centre. See you there!