The Value Of Attending Networking Events

We’re in the check issuing business and like any trade out there, we at times have to assess the value of attending networking events and trade shows. It’s a common conversation amongst the managers, executives and sales representatives of all types of companies, not just our check issuing one. You’ve all been there, the accountant walks into the room, says “trade shows and networking events costed us X dollars last year” and everyone sulks down into their seats and tries to figure out the gains that occurred from spending all that money. And then comes the dreaded “well sales weren’t up but we really ‘branded’ our product.”
Branding is the most polarizing word any company employee can ever use, but sometimes it is certainly a must. Branding your product is a huge value return for any company who possesses clients and customers. But if the sales don’t go up or even go down, ir returns are lower, does the branding value factor out? This is tricky, because in some ways, this could be what’s keeping you afloat. People need to think of your product in a list of no more than 3 when they consider a new purchase or service. Without that, your product simply doesn’t exist. In addition, when you sponsor or attend trade shows and networking events, you put on display that your company remains healthy, viable and evolving. This can make clients and customer feel comforted.
But one can’t negate the accountant’s concern for how much is being spent. Here are a few tips to help deal with trade shows and networking events.
1) Maybe your strategy needs a change. Are you going after new business aggressively enough to help make these events profitable? What’s your messaging? Maybe spending a little more on pamphlets and sales rep training could help to bring in some new business.
2) Do you set goals? If you aren’t setting goals, you can never really understand what your value return actually is. And you have no direction. Your sales reps are just floating around the show with no direction, as are you. Set goals. Have a preshow meeting. Make it fun, but be specific. Then when you get back, look all this over.
3) Learn to budget. If you need to do an event, maybe a happy hour or dinner, use sites such as Groupon. Find deals on hotels and flights. Don’t be wasteful, that’s not smart business.
These are just a few ways you can help shows and events help you and the company.