9 Ways Hustlers Win Big Business At Trade Shows

Yo!!!!!  The sales Bazookas are out and we’re getting some massive direct responses from this week’s Affiliate Summit!!

Every time I attend a conference I walk away with a huge surge in business.  I can’t believe that I used to discount trade shows.  See the thing is that no matter how technologically advanced our world is today, face-to-face meetings are irreplaceble.  High-Tech/High-Touch.

Here’s a hint: the diamond deals are not going to happen inside the actual conference 😉  No sir, that’s where most of the newbies float around creating wasteful noise.  You want to make power moves. Here’s 9 ways hustlers win big business at trade shows:


1.  Clearly Identify A Few Goals

Time is a limited commodity at trade shows.  Figure out your top 1-2 goals you seek to accomplish.  Ink it up and then get lazer FOCUSED.

What’s most important to your business?  Is your goal realistic.  Don’t suffer from delusions of grandeur.  If you’re a new advertiser don’t expect to find a “magical” publisher that will push 1,000 orders a day to your page.  Instead aim to get your foot in the door with a couple good pubs and eventually work your way up from there.


2.  Identify Key After Parties and Get In NO MATTER WHAT

The best advertisers, affiliates, and ad networks in the world are very suspicious of people they don’t know OR DON’T COME WITH A STAMP OF APPROVAL from someone they trust.  You need to find out where these guys are having their private parties.  Often they’ll advertise it through their corporate websites or promote through blogs.  Lie Cheat And Steal to get on the list.


3.  Avoid Riff Raff Like The Black Plague

There’s a shitload of talkers in our industry.  Quickly size up who you’re talking to.  Who have you seen them talking to?  Are they reserved – meaning that they won’t engage in an indepth conversation with you until you’ve been qualified?

Ask them qualifier questions such as: “What company are you with?”  “Oh yea, what do you do over there.”  Make it as non-chalant as possible.

If you find yourself spending time with someone that is not going to help you accomplish your core 1-2 goals, then quickly find an exit.  Shake their hand and say “Awesome – nice to meet you.  Good luck with the show.”  Whatever you do MAKE SURE you get away from them as fast as possible.  You don’t want to get labeled as Riff Raff by hanging out with Riff Raff.


4.  Strategically Align Yourself With The Players

Find out who the biggest industry figures are at the party.  Then make a bee line straight to them.  Tell them that you know who they are, and that you have to leave in 2 minutes, but wanted to say hi.  Then flatter them a little and ask to get a picture with them.  Promote the shit out of that picture on your blog etc.  Affiliation is huge.   Also, peeps at the party will see you talking to “the boss.”   Since no one knows you, everyone will think you’re important.  After all you are…it’s just that no one knows it yet 😉

Then when people start asking you “how do you know that guy,” what you’re not going to do is say “we just met tonight.”  Instead you’re going to peak interest with a really vague answer like “oh that dude.  He’s cool.  We do some stuff together.”  That could mean ANYTHING.  And your little secret is the “stuff” you do together is just a 5 minute convo about whatever.  People respect people that hold secrets close to the vest.


5.  Don’t Get Wasted

This is a BIG ONE!   How you handle yourself at the conferences is a direct reflection of how you handle yourself in your business.   Ask yourself this question:  would you feel more comfortable giving someone your money in business that dresses neatly and opts out of drinking at parties?  Or would you go with the guy that spends $10,000 on a bar tab each night getting shit-faced?

Remember your goals.  You didn’t come to the trade show to make an ass out of yourself.  You came to get business done.  Show people the best you.  If you are just dying to party, then get to the conference a day early and get it all out of you.

Every moment of these parties people are watching and judging you.  How do you want them to see you?


6.  Don’t Try To Impress By Lavishness

This year we rolled up to a private lounge where a dude we know got bottle service.  His tab at the end of the evening was $140,000.00.  No hyperbole!!!   The only impression this left with me was that he was a careless spender and someone I wouldn’t want to do business with.

People that engage in your services expect you to spend wisely.  You don’t need to prove to people that you’re big time by thowing a wasteful event.

The LimeLight CRM party this year – which was a totally awesome event – cost very little to put together.  Everyone there was making moves.  And best of all, more million dollar deals were closed there than anywhere else at the show.  It didn’t take outrageous opulence ;).


7.  If You Have Something To Say About Another Company, Make It Good

Don’t shit talk people you’ve had a bad experience with.  This will just make other people think that you’ll shit talk them if something goes wrong, which we all know is bound to happen in at least 1 deal throughout the course of your career.

Try to say something good about everyone.   It’s good karma!


8.  Set Up Private Meetings In Advance

If you fail to plan then plan to fail.  Approximately 3 weeks prior to the show starting, make sure you setup your key meetings.  Leave enough time in your schedule for impromptu meetings.

9.  Bring Your Office To The Show

Maximize your trip by bringing your office to the show.   At every event I enjoy zero downtime.  Here’s my setup at The London in NYC:

P.S. Attending the following trade shows is a MUST if you’re an online direct response marketer: Affiliate Summit, Ad Tech, ERA, and LeadsCon.

Rich Gorman is an internet entrepreneur. His primary focuses are on direct response offers and SaaS models. When not working Rich enjoys spending time with his family.