How To Nail An Engineering Event And Generate High-Quality Leads

According to CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research), 26% of trade show or expo visitors are willing to sign PO (Purchase Orders) ON THE SPOT! Right then and there! This shows the fact that when the right products or services, trust, and relationships are offered, decision-makers are ready to take out their pen and get that money bag prepared. 

This may be news for you! But not for me. 

If you’re still skeptical about attending expos and events that may have come to no avail in the past, why don’t you head over to my previous blog where I talked about the 7 BIG reasons why engineers should attend expos, trade shows, conferences, and other events!

To summarise before we start, digital marketing is life-changing, yes, it’s revolutionary! But it does NOT replace the living element and networking essence that we, as engineers, require.

Trade shows, conferences, events, showcases, and all the other relevant engineering events play a crucial role for engineering companies to not only promote the company’s unique selling propositions, but also to stay on top of industry trends, extend their network, and observe competitors, and most importantly… Bake new leads.

Why I say ‘bake’, might you ask? Well because just like everything else we consume, everything in life needs to be filtered and processed, before we can fully enjoy them. Your leads are one of them. 

Get to know their characteristics, needs wants, demands, strengths, and even weaknesses to attain what you want. Many of us may identify this method as SWOT analysis, especially during a feasibility testing stage of a project, but it works wonders in more than just that. It works on people too. 

Let’s jump right into the top tips you need to have in the back of your head to nail the next engineering event you go to, and catch the best quality leads in the room!

  1. Be a HERO.

Hold Everyone’s Rapport & Offer – HERO.

Rap·port – /raˈpôr,rəˈpôr/ 

Noun – a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.

Why rapport? 

Rapport is the key to selling. I am aware that most engineers are NOT born a salesman or a smooth talkers. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t build and hold a good rapport with others! 

Whether you’re a speaker, exhibitor, host, or visitor, this is your KEY point.

Hold on to EVERY single connection you can get. Your job is to get as many business cards as possible in a place and catch a ‘vibe’ as the youngsters would say it nowadays. 

Building rapport as an engineer is completely different compared to other industries. In this majorly B2B industry, collaboration, joint ventures, co-development, and investments are not scarce objectives. 

This is why you have to ALSO hold on to everyone’s offer. Where you see fit, ALWAYS try your best to provide connections, contact information, resources, links, knowledge, and other valuable assets to the people you’ve just met. Although they may not feel indebted to you for your help, they will most definitely be appreciative of your effort. This is your first step in building and holding a rapport. Be open and don’t be scared to share resources

Don’t be self-centered in these events. Talking about your product and service is good, but don’t make it about ONLY your business. Listen, open your ears and eyes to other people’s offers. If you’re NOT the owner of the business, say you’re a manager, or a director, perhaps even a project supervisor. Be aware that you can make yourself useful and valuable to the company as an asset, not because you were able to ONLY sell the products and services you have, but ALSO the improvements, lintels, and valuable insights you can bring to the table. 

Selling without a clear objective of what is good and what is bad, is NOT wise. 

Just as a saying goes, “Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.”

  1. Pay Attention To Details and Deadlines.

This goes for exhibitors and companies that are participating in the events first-hand. When you’re not simply a visitor, remember your role as a contributor to the event and always take the authority of a host to the business you are representing. Spend the extra time and resource to bring your product to the location is possible, if it takes too much space and is impossible to transport, prepare an interactive video or engaging brochures and flyers!

Even a small-screened video can capture a higher chance of prospects visiting your booth. 

When signing up for shows and expos, pay extra attention to deadlines. Depending on your booth’s location, you may be getting more or less amount of exposure, so make sure you also have people to go around and mingle with when your booth is less exposed. 

Like football, one defense, one offense. Always a good moral value out of an epic football game, don’t you think?

Trade shows and expos are very strict with deadlines for registration and booking of spots. The earliest gets the best booth positions, and the importance of it cannot be stressed enough. 

Most attendants (around 75%) decide who they will meet beforehand, therefore if there is someone important for your business – book them in advance as well. Because if it’s too late, they might not be available within the short time frame.  

  1.  Make Sure You Are Familiar With The Event’s Agenda. 

Again, take ownership of your business, BUT be aware that it is a networking event, and there are always itineraries and agendas that may occupy the visitor’s attention at some point. Be attentive to the schedule that is set out beforehand, so you can prevent miscommunication and arrange rendezvous in accurate timing and location. 

Engineers and entrepreneurs LOVE to be in control, assertive, and most importantly timely. (So the last one may depend on each person’s characteristics, but I’d say it’s a general overview…) 

Don’t make people wait and sit in your empty booth for boring minutes and hours. If you’re going to do that, don’t even bother inviting anyone! You’re bound to lose the opportunity. 

  1. Don’t Underestimate Forms and Profiling.

When someone steps foot into the event, they’re ready to do what you ask them to. They’re there to make business, so make the best use of it. 

A good way to engage is to have a reputable online presence so that when they meet you, you can promote a community and network of industry leaders that you have within your circle. Warmly invite them to your circle and promise them some sort of value that they cannot miss! Even if that means they’re not doing business directly with you or your company. 

Get forms ready in hand, either in a tab (google form or landing page set out), and collect market survey/research from this opportunity! 

Perhaps even bait them with a lucky draw OR a small fortune wheel that they can play after filling a form! Don’t be boring!

They’ll be intrigued by the idea of bringing something home from the event. It’s 100% the way their brain is wired, being fun, inviting, and open will bring people into your booth. Get your best lads on standby in the booth, because with the right hook, the right goodies, and the right people, you will NAIL the first rule of this guide.

5. Be Strategic & Tactical. 

Before attending or hosting these events, brainstorm with your marketing and development team, what your main goal is for the event, and how you plan to achieve it. What questions do you need to be answered and what market survey would you need to build a better business? 

Identify the WHY and HOW, as well as set out detailed measurable targets that you can easily evaluate after the event. Nothing to lose when you’re being strategic and tactical. After all, if you are setting up your expo, you are spending the time, money, and resources. You ought to make the best out of it! 

6. Gather Intel Beforehand. Talk to your colleagues and partners, use your connections to know who is going to attend the trade show, and what are the current rumors about the ongoing event. This way you can plan and prioritize your meetings and performance. Knowing more information about your competitors’ plans will also benefit you! Be the James Bond of the Trade show! 

Sometimes, trade shows have a limited amount of badges for attendants. Choose your team members wisely. They are going to represent your brand, and you should be sure they know HOW to do it, WHAT to say, and how to strengthen your brand and authority in the industry. Choosing the right team on the stand is one of the crucial factors of success at the trade show.

7. Your Stand/Booth’s Design and Additional Marketing Collateral Must Be Designed In Advance. Make sure you have enough flyers, brochures, etc. printed beforehand – they would be very useful during the event. Business cards are essential too! I know, we are transitioning to QR codes or e-business cards, however, there are still a lot of people who prefer the old school way, let’s not disappoint them.

8. Choose A Catchy Message, a motto, or a slogan that will catch visitors’ attention and encourage them to visit your stand and know more about your engineering company. 

9. Small Things Like Pens, Tablets, Giveaways, etc. Should Also Be Prepared In Advance. Think of branded souvenirs that you can share with the visitors – it’s always a nice touch to have those at your stand. Candies, and some water – can also be a good touch showing your care to the visitors (those can be branded as well!)

If you took the time to read through ALL the tips I’ve prepared for you today, then you are ready to be a HERO! Time to go nail that next event and be the PRO you’re bound to be. 

AR & Associates have helped IT, Engineering, Automation, Manufacturing, and Energy companies all across Australia to generate leads, increase brand awareness, maintain reputable PR, as well as increase sales.

We focus on helping you spend less time in marketing, and more time serving your customers. Leave the matter to the respective experts. As engineers ourselves, we understand the core values and importance of marketing through trust and reliability. 

We provide a full tailor-made solution that helps you build your company to the next level through digital and on-site marketing. With expertise in organic omnichannel marketing and on-site event or workshop planning, we offer a full turn-key marketing solution that gives you time, space, and freedom to focus on what you do best, which is to run your business. 

Email us here or call us today at (+61) 02 8416 4442 to get more information or book a complimentary marketing consultation or strategy session below.

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