3. Be truthful and authentic.
Given our limited time within the wood flooring industry, we were initially nervous that it was too soon for us to attend an expo. So, once we decided to go, we realized we had one important factor going for us: to be unabashedly authentic.
Our opener to every conversation went something like this:
“Hi! We’re the Co-founders of Grass Roots Flooring, an online flooring boutique that specializes in bamboo and exotic hardwood flooring. We’re industry newbies and we’d love to learn about what you do.”
You might think that people would run the other way, after hearing our elevator pitch but surprisingly … they didn’t. People were actually interested to hear our story. And in almost every situation, we were introduced to another contact.
We quickly learned that by being authentic you will reap tremendous rewards.
4. Be focused and strategic.
An industry event can be extremely daunting.
To take the pressure off, make sure you map out the exhibitors you want to hit so that you make the most of your time. Once you’re done meeting the contacts you’re interested in meeting, go around to other exhibits and meet some more people.
We even found that exhibits which didn’t make our list, turned out to be where we met our most useful contacts. Also, bring an excessive number of business cards — and your iPad. If you’re talking about your great new website, you can drop your business card while you show off your new site.