Landing Meetings At CES
The world’s largest consumer tech show — the Consumer Electronics Show (also known as CES) — is set for Jan. 5-8, 2017, in Las Vegas. CES attracts manufacturers, retailers, industry analysts, senior-level executives and media members galore to its show floor. Last year saw more than 170,000 attendees from all over the world descend upon Sin City.
Known as “a show for exhibitors,” CES 2016 brought more than 32,000 representatives from buying organizations and more than 7,500 media members to the show floor. With a plethora of prospects constantly at your fingertips, CES is a wonderful place to reach tech industry representatives, generate interest in your brand and convert leads into sales. But first, you have to land a meeting. Here are some tips for landing meetings at CES.
Get in touch with the CES management team ahead of time and and ask for tips. The CES staff wants you to succeed and is there to help out. Ask them about staffing, booth design and capabilities, popular promotional products and anything else that could help you during your time at CES. Try to scope out the show floor’s layout and position your booth in a high-traffic area.
Send an email blast to your mailing list letting them know you’ll be attending CES. Even if they don’t attend, you will be seen as a significant player in the tech industry for attending. Prepare a digital media kit and begin reaching out to journalists ASAP. You’ll meet numerous journalists and tech bloggers at CES, and it is imperative that you are able to give them any info they ask for or need. The kit should include product specs and information, company information, images, logos and contact information — essentially, anything a journalist needs in order to supply you with coverage. Journalists will begin formulating their CES schedules weeks in advance, so try to begin your outreach at least six to eight weeks early to secure a meeting.
If you can, reserve a room near your booth for meetings. This will make landing meetings and selling your product or service much easier. The CES show floor is rather noisy and having a quiet, private space at your disposal will make landing a meeting that much easier. Refine your pitch before CES. At trade shows like CES, you don’t have a lot of time to try and sell your product or service, so nailing the small amount of time you do have can help you land meetings with prospects. An effective pitch comprises a short description of your product or service and describes how it can benefit that individual or business. Statistics that back up your claim and a call to action strengthen your pitch, as well. Bring along a business partner that knows your brand and services and can man your booth. CES can be overwhelming. With a number of events happening throughout the day on top of networking and scheduled meetings, it is important to maintain a knowledgeable presence at your booth to avoid losing potential business or exposure.
It will remain difficult to land meetings if you aren’t getting noticed. One way to get noticed is to stand out. Establish a dress code that allows prospects to easily identify you and your staff. This could include brightly colored company polos or ball caps. Wear attire with your company logo even during off-hours, as it will increase brand recognition and customers and media members will be more likely to stop by your booth and chat.
Offering promotional products, treats and other giveaways is another way to stand out and increase traffic that can lead to meetings to your booth. Be memorable!
Position Yourself for Success
When attempting to secure meetings at CES, the people you’re trying to meet with want to know that you’re worth meeting with. Try to consistently contribute to publications in your industry leading up to the event in order to establish yourself as a thought leader and someone who has value to contribute to your industry. When you position yourself as an industry expert, your chances of landing a meeting increase.
Attract Attendees with Content and Comfort
There is constantly something happening at CES. Every company wants the spotlight and many companies will go to extreme lengths to get it. Whether it be a video, unique sign, infographic or something else, your content needs to make your company stand out from the rest while acting as a segue into what your product of service does and how it benefits the attendee, journalist or business prospect.
Educational offerings are no longer an added bonus at trade shows — they’re expected. Case studies, client testimonials, product content and pricing information is all content that can help you exhibit how your product or service will benefit the people you’re trying to secure meetings with.
Rent or bring your own carpeting for your booth setup. The CES show floors are unforgiving and attendees are on their feet for the majority of the day, so make your booth open, inviting and comfortable and attendees will want to stick around longer. Another way to make attendees comfortable at your booth is to appear approachable. A calm demeanor and pleasant persona will shine through even if you’re feeling overwhelmed or frazzled. Maintain positive body language, don’t cross your arms and stand up straight. Continue to make eye contact and appear genuine throughout the first impression. If someone is not comfortable approaching you, it will be impossible to land a meeting with that person.
Network and Get a Warm Introduction
Take time rifling through your network in an attempt to find somebody who has a connection to the person you’re trying to secure a meeting with. In addition to LinkedIn and other professional networking sites, constantly networking at events like CES will help you grow your company and secure important meetings down the road. Cold calls or emails are not nearly as effective as someone known and trusted offering a warm introduction when trying to land meetings at CES.
Additionally, CES offers a number of ways to interact with journalists and secure important meetings. Consider paid opportunities, like CES Unveiled Las Vegas, the official media event of CES, held two days before the start of the show. This event provides you the opportunity to get ahead of the game and break your news to journalists early. Also consider unpaid opportunities, such as signing up for the opportunity to be considered for CESTV. CESTV is another way for you to promote your product or service and stand out from the crowd during the show. Last year, videos from CESTV were posted on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and CES.tech, receiving more than 400,000 views.
Be Persistent and Continue Outreach
Be persistent but polite. How many times have you shied away from dialing a followup phone call or composing a second email reaching out for a meeting? People are busy, especially at events like CES, so do not be afraid to reach out more than once. Sometimes, people just need a reminder and persistence can pay off. Finally, continue reaching out during your time at CES. Walk around, check out competitor’s booths and exhibits. Use social media and the event’s hashtag to reach out to attendees. Constant networking Be friendly and engaging during your outreach — you never know who will want to meet with you
In the end, successfully landing meetings at CES will draw attention to your brand, drive sales and will open the door for even more important new relationships. However, the competition to secure these valuable meetings is fierce, especially when you take into account that some of the most innovative companies in tech and hardware are all at CES. Securing important business meetings is never easy, especially during the hustle and bustle of CES, but by taking this article’s advice you will certainly help your chances of landing a meeting at CES!