How to Maximize Your Participation at Trade Shows

Trade shows are an exciting opportunity to network and learn more about your industry, whether you’re attending an insurance industry trade show or strolling the floor at an event for another specific business sector. From attending panels to marketing your own business and meeting potential clients, trade shows can often be a whirlwind weekend — which is why preparation is key to success.

Rather than attending every opportunity that comes your way, it’s important to invest time and attention into the trade shows you do feel are worth attending. Will your target customer market and competitors be present? What type of press coverage will be available? And what additional opportunities will your brand have to showcase the product to the fullest? Read on for tips on how to maximize your participation at any trade show, from any general trade show to specific insurance-associated events.

Industry-Specific Trade Show Tips

Many agents will often attend highly specialized trade shows based on the area of insurance that they write (restaurants, for instance, or construction firms). Before even attending a trade show, you need to evaluate whether it’s worth your company’s participation. Advanced research can help you determine the size and scale of the trade show; how many potential customers will be in attendance? Will any of your competitors be there? What will the panels be, and will the topics help you and your coworkers excel in your work? Much of this information should be shared by the trade show itself, but you should also look at the prior year for takeaways on whether the show will be beneficial for you and your business.

If you have decided to attend, it’s important to put together a plan well in advance. You may consider offering up your specific insurance industry expertise by participating in a panel discussion or a breakout session. It can be harder to glean knowledge on specialized topics, so sharing your skills — and learning from others — is a great way to make the most out of a trade show.

If you’re running a booth at the show, you’ll need to invest in the right setup so that you attract passersby. You should also widely share on social media and through email that you’ll be at the show, including your booth location, so that attendees know where to find you. You can even set up appointments in advance, to ensure that your team is never stretched too thin. The right marketing is crucial in maximizing leads during the show. LinkedIn is another platform worth utilizing, to connect with people in your industry in advance and make plans to meet during the show.

During the show, all participants working the booth should have easy-to-use technology to assist customers, making it easy to gather their information and make sales if needed. Everyone should have a practiced elevator pitch and be comfortable working the booth. Technology will also make it easier to later gather insights from the show, such as how many customer interactions occurred and how many leads were generated. Company representatives should be evenly split between booth representation and panel attendance or other networking opportunities as well.

Insurance Industry Trade Shows

While networking is an important aspect of any trade show or industry event, it’s particularly recommended for those in our industry, as expanding your network will help broaden your client base and introduce you to agents who work in areas other than your own. Try to utilize the time outside of an insurance trade show to meet for drinks or dinner with other agents, as well as MGAs, wholesalers, and insurance company executives. New agent connections can come in handy if you ever need assistance with a risk that you don’t specialize in, and will help you broaden your knowledge of the insurance industry’s particulars. Networking with MGAs and other executives will open pathways to new markets — and in-person communication always beats online messaging.