Technology Helps Me Get More from a Trade Show Visit

Contents
Visitor Blues
Overwhelming
Time is Money
How Can I Achieve More Next Visit?
How Does the App Work?
No More Missed Opportunities

Visitor Blues

I have blisters on my feet from walking for miles around a big trade show. I am a salesperson for a dental product manufacturer. In Cologne, Germany, I recently visited one of the largest dental exhibitions in the world. The five-day show opens every two years. The exhibition centre prides itself on being a leading venue for major international trade shows.

My objectives were to identify potential new business partners, and to observe products similar to ours from other manufacturers. I knew that it cost several thousand euros for me to visit the show, including flights, accommodation and expenses. It was important to justify the investment. The show was busier than ever, with a dazzling array of new products, alongside displays of the essential products from every field of dentistry.
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Overwhelming

The experience was overwhelming. My time was limited and the crowds were immense. Despite my best intentions, I did not have much time to plan my visit in advance, so I downloaded the exhibition app, hoping for help. It gave me the location of exhibitors I was aware of, but I did not find the map useful. In fact the app was little practical help on site. The venue only provided 2 hours of Wi-Fi. However, the show was open from 9 am to 6 pm over 5 days. So for most of the day I did not have access to Wi-Fi.

I asked other visitors and exhibitors if they were using the app: very few had downloaded it. Of those who had, nobody said they found it useful. Most people visiting the show had smartphones. It’s a real shame that today’s readily available technology isn’t being used.
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Time is Money

Many of the stands had no clearly marked number, which made the challenge of finding my way around – and back to a stand which I wanted to revisit – a real headache. More time wasted.

As I walked around I needed to have a box full of business cards. Of course, like most people, I ran out. I could printed have printed more in the Copy Shop at an inflated price, but the queue stretched out of the door. Exhibitors did not have a facility to scan my details, so I had to spend valuable time writing details down. I had to collect business cards and printed catalogues of products which interested me. Yes, I had to pay overweight when I checked in for my flight home. And I had thrown away some of the printed material, having realised that I couldn’t carry it. What a waste!

Overall I saw many interesting products at the show, but it’s frustrating to think about how many I must have missed. Every day by mid-afternoon I felt exhausted and my feet were sore. I felt disorientated and annoyed by the waste of time.
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technology

How Can Technology Help Me Achieve More Next Visit?

I have a particular interest in the dental implant market and I know that Israel is a world leader in this field. So last year I visited the International Dental Exhibition in Tel Aviv. At that show the organisers offered a new smartphone app called ExpoMatch. After my comments above about my recent visit to Cologne, I wish it had been available there too. I am convinced that ExpoMatch is a great way to get more from visiting a trade show.

The show in Tel Aviv was relatively big and busy. I had many business meetings with exhibitors, which prevented me from getting around to all the stands, and seeing everyone I wanted to at the show. But using the app I indicated the products which particularly interested me, and during the show the system offered me realtime links with other potential suppliers, which I could accept or decline. The app saved significant amounts of time, and included accurate contact details of relevant business leads.
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How Does the App Work?

I downloaded the ExpoMatch app during the registration process. I enteredn full and accurate details because they are the basis for generating leads. The app includes a 3-D navigation system, to show me my location at any given time, and the best route to where I want to go. Each stand has a QR code on display, or you can type the stand number into the app. When I see a product which interests me I register my interest in the app on my smartphone, and indicate the particular products which interest me in that exhibitor’s list. At the same time, I have a record of the exhibitor’s details, and they have mine. No need to waste time exchanging business cards or writing down details. Technology serving business!

Once I have indicated interest in a specific product, the app offers me a list of other exhibitors throughout the show who are featuring the same or similar products. What an amazing time-saver! I can then choose to accept or decline the lead. If I accept, the navigation system will show me the fastest way to get there to visit their stand.
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Technology Means No More Missed Opportunities

If the app directs me to a stand and the exhibitor is busy when I arrive, I can use the app to indicate which product interests me there. This gives me a full history of my visit to the Trade Show on my personal phone, where I can also write notes. The app saves time and confusion when following up after the show. It notifies the exhibitor that I am interested in their product, even if they were too busy to speak to me, or away from their stand.

I go to exhibitions to collect leads to generate new business opportunities. The ExpoMatch system would do the job for me, driven by my interest in specific products. It would be a great short-cut to new connections with relevant exhibitors, and also with other visitors who may be potential business links.

I really hope that by the time I next visit a big international trade show I’ll be able to harness the latest technology, and have a smart exhibition matchmaking app to make better use of my time at the show, to ease the follow-up, and to give me more high-quality business leads. And it might save me getting blisters on my feet.

I hope that on my next visit to Cologne I’ll be able to use the ExpoMatch app to help plan and get the most from my visit.
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