Wow! What an experience visiting my first Fieldays (over 1,000 exhibitors for the farming industry) from farm equipment/machinery, clothing, footwear to innovative technology and learning organisations. If you didn’t come away having learnt something then you must have had your blinkers on.

I was there to:
Explore, research and make contact with exhibitors to ascertain if and what assistance do they need prior to exhibiting and afterwards.

 Research information for my clients that were too busy to attend (manufacturers, inventors and service providers).

Plan of Attack
With over 1,000 exhibitors I knew I needed a “Plan of attack”. I would like to share with you 10 ideas that worked for me which I know will be of benefit to you:

1. Where do you start?
a. Think about what is your objective of attending the Expo?
b. What information do you need to assist with this?

  • target market?
  • where and when it is on?
  • accommodation and travel choices?
  • costs?

2. Prior to attending:
a. Research map of Business Exhibition.
b. Pinpoint on map exhibitors you want to make contact with:

  • research the exhibitors you will visit.
  • if relevant contact them prior to the Business Exhibition, regarding time to visit their stall, or information you need before you visit i.e. specific contact person.

c. Download Apps that will assist you on the day.

3. What to take with you?
a. Marketing material (business cards, flyers)
b. Phone/iPad/PC chargers
c. Notebook, phone or iPad (for written or verbal notes)

4. What’s your priority? (No you can’t spend all your time shopping)
a. In what order will you visit the exhibitors?
b. What information is paramount to obtain?
c. What information would be great to have but isn’t essential?

5. How should you approach the exhibitors?
a. For me what worked was looking at their exhibit (with a puzzled face) ….then hey presto “Can I help you”. Get them talking about their product or service. Ask questions (I always love learning). Then when the time is right ask the questions you need answers to i.e. Do you export? How and where?

b. If you are honest with them as to why you want to know (i.e. my client or you might be able to assist them with a cheaper way of exporting), then they are more willing to divulge the information.

6. What questions to ask?
a. Write them down and practice them so that you don’t have to look at your notes when talking to the exhibitor.

b. Take brief notes immediately after you have spoken to exhibitor. Don’t leave it until later, as you will forget vital information.

7. Information you couldn’t obtain?
Any information you couldn’t obtain think of other avenues to obtain it. For example, I needed more information regarding what and where Farmers are intending to spend their money. So a good source to follow up for this after the Expo, was a Rural Bank Manager.

8. Following up?
a. Email or phone the exhibitors you contacted to thank them for their time and to forward on to them any information or contacts that will be of benefit to them.

b. Also for me, I now have in my hands a valuable booklet of all the exhibitors at the Fieldays. So now I have a prime opportunity to make contact with exhibitors relevant to me to ascertain how I can assist them for now or the next time they exhibit.

9. What to wear?
This can be a dilemma especially for some of us. However for me my priority was:
a. Comfortable shoes.

b. Appropriate clothing to match the industry and weather. For me at the Fieldays, it was tramping boots or gumboots, umbrella and a warm jacket with merino clothing.

Business Exhibitions are a great way to network, learn about the latest innovations and technology. Also to suss out your competitors and possible opportunities regarding alliances or potential customers.  Last but not least …..  obtain vital information for your clients.  

PS:  To check out Fieldays ….