What makes trade shows truly valuable for your attendees? Is it the possibility of visiting multiple stands and enjoying the brand experience different companies offer? Or maybe it’s the knowledge speakers share during panel sessions? Yes and yes, but it’s also about their networking experience.
The possibility to interact with different buyers or suppliers and build meaningful business relationships is one of the main reasons why people attend trade shows.
But if a trade show isn’t organized correctly, these networking sessions can quickly turn into aimlessly roaming around a big room trying to find someone interesting.
When attending a B2B matchmaking event, your guests have specific goals and interests.
Business professionals will attend to meet specific suppliers.
Start-ups will expect to interact with potential investors or clients. But the offer doesn’t always coincide with the demand.
The idea of wandering from one stand to another in hopes that you’ll find what you’re looking for is inefficient, to say the least. On the other hand, the idea of standing still at your booth and thinking that potential buyers will find you is equally ridiculous.
People at trade shows want to take action and connect with other professionals in hopes of building valuable business relationships.
The only thing is that the current state of trade shows doesn’t provide a good, quality match between the offer and demand between attendees.
So what should you do?
The answer is simple:Plan a series of simultaneous B2B meetings using a digital tool that will help you match the offer and demand and automatize the entire process.
Here’s how you can do it:
Step 1. Define the attendee types
There’s a clear distinction between attendee types and networking profiles.
Trade shows usually may have different audience types, such as VIPs, hosted buyers, speakers, students, employees, etc.
These categories will help you set up different parameters.
First, you can establish different fees (for example, a discounted rate for students, or higher fees for VIP access).
Second, you can grant certain attendee types specific activities and/or restricted access (for example, you can give VIP attendees access to one-on-one time with the speakers or an exclusive cocktail reception).
In addition, this segmentation is crucial for an efficient marketing campaign that’s perfectly aligned with different types of guests. Let’s take an example: You decide to run an event about smart cities.
Using the option of classifying the stakeholders, you can segment your audience into the following attendee types: city managers, entrepreneurs, researchers, urbanists, architects, and students.
There are two ways to classify attendees: by their area of expertise (urbanists, architects, city managers, entrepreneurs, etc.) or their professional status (employees, students, self-employed individuals, etc.).
Using these categories, you can design the registration parameters and the networking exchange dynamic.
Step 2. Keep the business categories simple
Don’t overcomplicate things. The value exchange pattern must be clear.
That’s why we recommend you segment your networking attendees into two business categories: “I’m searching for” and “I’m offering.”
This dynamic will be at the core of your B2B meetings, ensuring clear parameters of engagement and helping people to state their goals.
Step 3. Build meaningful networking profiles
Considering the attendee types and business categories, you can start designing the networking profiles.
Comparing to attendee types, these interaction profiles refer exclusively to your guests’ networking identity, which helps cinch compatibility.
When guests register for the trade show, they’ll need to specify their networking preferences and interests. You’ll then use this information to create different networking profiles and segment your audience into groups.
As a result, you may end up having two scenarios. In the first case, the number of attendee types will match the number of networking profiles.
From there, you can let people from one group request meetings with people from other groups.
In conclusion, by defining these categories, you’ll better understand your attendees’ networking potential and make sure they’ll meet other attendees’ interests.
Step 4. Design efficient networking forms
This is crucial to confirm the correct matchup between the offer and demand. A networking form will help you understand what your attendees are looking for in terms of face-to-face interaction.
For example, if your networking profiles are “Investors” and “Startups,” you’d activate the “I’m offering” option for entrepreneurs or startup representatives and the “I’m looking for” option for business angels and VCs.
You’ll also need to think a series of questions for each profile.
The networking form could include questions or information requests for startups such as:
- “Describe your products or services”
- “Add your pitch presentation”
- “What is the investment amount you need?”
- “Describe your business model”
To guarantee you’re getting the right attendees, you can ask questions such as:
- “What is your decision-making level in the company?”
- “What is your area of expertise?” “What size is your company?”
Obviously, these questions will depend on the character and goals of your trade show.
Step 5. Employ the veto option
If you choose to operate with an all-inclusive B2B matchmaking platform when planning a trade show, you’ll have the possibility to “handpick” your attendees, in order to assure a high-quality networking experience.
When potential attendees fill out the networking form, you can reserve the right to veto those who don’t meet the requirements.
Consequently, if a person applies and doesn’t meet your criteria, you can always send a rejection email and encourage him or her to reapply for future events.
Call to action
The success and quality of your trade show depends on the accuracy and efficiency of the networking experience, which subsequently depends on connecting the offer and demand the right way.
Your attendees’ interaction experience will greatly depend on how well you can identify their networking needs and provide a high compatibility factor with other guests.
To make this process quicker and more efficient, don’t hesitate to schedule a demo with us and try the B2B matchmaking platform that we’ve specially designed to create the most meaningful match between the offer and demand.