Invention trade shows provide great opportunities to network with industry professionals, licensing companies, and fellow inventors. It is essential to be prepared to network with many different people because you will see hundeds of faces within a period of a few short hours or days.
A few weeks leading up to the trade show, cross the following items off your list to make sure you are ready to make the most of all networking opportunities:
1. Make Your Business Cards Stand Out
In a sea of black-and-white logo business cards, yours needs to stand out among the bunch. Consider using colors, eye-grabbing graphics, or different textures. If you utilize social media for your invention, be sure to include those profiles with your other contact information.
When handing out business cards, if you’ve had a meaningful interaction with someone, jot a quick note on the back of your business card for a personal touch.
2. Give Away Branded Items
There’s no denying people love free things. Most trade show exhibitors have caught onto this, but one common mistake is giving away items which aren’t branded or aren’t connected to your product.
Don’t give away chocolate if your product is related to fitness, and reconsider that notepad if your invention involves recycling. Pens, key chains, flashlights, and similar items are always safe bets, but aren’t the most creative options. Ensure your brand name or logo is spelled correctly and looks good on your promotional items.
3. Bring a Buddy
. . . or two or three. Ideally, your booth is going to receive a lot of traffic. If you’re busy talking to an industry representative, it is helpful to have team members there who can hand out promotional items and answer questions.
Your team members might not be as knowledgeable about your product as you are, and that’s okay! Give them an in-depth rundown before the show and fact sheets to use during the trade show. The extra hands will also be helpful during the set up and tear down times for your booth.
4. Be Approachable
Invention trade shows can be a little stressful with all the commotion and the crowd. It is important to remember to stay calm and be approachable even if you are frazzled. Let your personality shine through and be passionate when talking about your invention.
Remember body language: keep your arms uncrossed to appear approachable, stand up straight to appear confident, and use great eye contact to appear genuine. Every first impression you make is essential to building your brand and business, so make it count.
5. Know Your Pitch
Your elevator pitch is quite possibly the most important thing you bring to an invention trade show. It should be about two minutes long, and in that time you should be highlighting the benefits and features of your invention. A catchy intro will also help you get the attention of the listener. Practice this in the mirror in the weeks leading up to the event. When the time comes, be sure you’re not just droning out a memorized speech; think about and believe each word you say. A captivating elevator pitch could help you convince a potential investor or licensor your new product or invention is right for them.