On the 24th-25th Sept, we took part in Edu Con Asia 2014 as exhibitors. We were delighted and thrilled to meet many professionals from the work force development sector, teachers, vice principals, principals, deans and many other friends from the education industry. It was a great platform for everyone to network and find out a little more about each other. We were exchanging learning and development ideas, discussing the needs and concerns they face at work as well as exploring how EDLE and Illuminate may provide a solution for them. Of course, being educators and learners at heart, we attended many inspiring sessions by the various speakers and and learnt a lot from them. Today, we have Sam to share with us the 5 things she learnt as an Exhibitor at Edu Con 2014.
5 Things I Learnt as an Exhibitor at EduCon 2014
EduCon 2014 was a brand new experience for us as first-time exhibitors. We’ve attended several exhibitions and conferences prior to this, albeit as participants. So nothing quite prepared us for our first showing as exhibitors. To summarize my experience at EduCon 2014, I thought to share some of the lessons I picked up along the way.
Lesson 1: You don’t have to follow the script
A key part of exhibiting of course is – the pitch. The right pitch delivered the right way will get you the right customer. True? Well, that was what I thought, so adequate preparations were made of course.
Going into the conference I had a mental script for delivering the pitch that followed this order : 1) Ask them what they do 2) Get the answers to these set of questions 3) Walk them through the demo 4) Get a sensing of their level of interest 5) Make plans to follow up. All I had to do was deliver the pitch in this order and job done, home-free, hallelujah!
But of course the reality is that conversations never go as planned, and especially at times when you most want them to. The pitch is a conversation that was spontaneous at the conference, so sometimes it’s best to just go with the flow, keeping in mind a set of objectives. Which I found to be the following: engage with who you’re speaking with, try to understand what they do, what they want to achieve or what they’re struggling with, and make sure to communicate how you could help them.
Lesson 2: Attend as many Workshops and Conferences as you can
The workshops and conferences provide a brief but intimate glimpse into the space that people in your core market operate in. It’s a great opportunity to better acquaint yourself with the topics, ideas, discussions and questions that concern them.
These sessions might just provide you the insight to improve your product, or even give you common ideas to break the ice or that you could work into your pitch with these participants later on. Nevertheless, it’s a great chance to network beyond the exhibiting floor.
Lesson 3: Be Flexible
Events and exhibitions are big undertakings that don’t always go as planned. With that in mind, you have to go in with the attitude to make the best of the situation, instead of wasting time lamenting on how things should have been this way or that, you know…because we made plans around this one thing that was stated to happen around this particular time.
Things change, schedules change, and when they do – if you don’t have a plan B then think of one up fast and execute it.
“Engage with who you’re speaking with, try to understand what they do, what they want to achieve or what they’re struggling with, and make sure to communicate how you could help them.”
Lesson 4: Get Feedback
One thing I wish I could have done more was to get feedback on our product. Not the “nice” kind of feedback, but the “ugly, hurtful, soul-crushing” kind of feedback.
EduCon provided a hotbed of people that we could market-test our product with. Delegates included people that were not necessarily in our core market, so a lot of them were not buyers per se , but nonetheless they were all interested in how technology could help make learning better. So it was the perfect opportunity to acquire some hard-hitting feedback.
The problem is people are generally nice, so they won’t necessarily tell you that your product sucks to your face. So it’s a little tricky eliciting the kind of feedback you want. I do believe though that if you communicate that you’re open to hearing honest feedback in a bid to improve your product, and don’t react defensively when they do give their opinion, then people should be willing to help.
Lesson 5: Eat as much as you can
The key note speeches were great, the discussion panels were insightful, but ultimately everyone knows where the real action is, and that is the buffet table.
As an exhibitor, grab food as often as you can, scoot on over to an open table and start making conversation with the people around it. How to break the ice? Talk about the food of course: “These Eclairs are fantabulous aren’t they?
Sooner or later the conversation will flow into finding out what the other party does, and that’s a great opportunity to invite them to visit your booth.
“If you communicate that you’re open to hearing honest feedback in a bid to improve your product, and don’t react defensively when they do give their opinion, then people should be willing to help.”
We hope you have gathered some insights from Sam regarding her experience. Do share your thoughts with us by leaving your comments below. Stay tuned for more sharing from Joanne and Terence!