SelectUSA is an unrivaled opportunity for international firms looking to scale to the U.S. market. We believe the knowledge gained from Economic Development Organizations, investors, service providers, and network resources, coupled with the maturity of the companies in attendance, makes SelectUSA a hard event to beat.
At MEET, we help international B2B growth companies soft land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. We look forward to SelectUSA all year for the unique opportunity to connect with companies that are seriously looking to grow in the U.S. market.
A large portion of what we do with clients is to develop strategies to maximize client ROI. In-person events are a major focus of our work because for companies looking to expand to the U.S. market, trade shows represent a vital opportunity to get face-to-face with target customers, test value propositions and offers.
Here’s a look at how, from a strategy perspective, we recommend scaling firms approach SelectUSA. Like all our trade show strategy plans, we’ve broken down our approach into three sections: pre, during, and post event.
Determine a set of top priorities
Do the work ahead of time to set clear goals for what you need to accomplish at the event. Second-tier priorities can be listed here as well.
Set meetings aligned with your top priorities
If there are preliminary meetings you are able to set before the event via Skype or Google hangout, do it! Positioning yourself to be having second and third-level conversations at the event will create more value than trying to follow-up remotely from your home market.
Use the hosts and people you know as resources
Don’t be afraid to reach out to the event hosts, Economic Development Organizations, exhibitors, speakers, and other attendees to help you navigate the process and make the best and most effective connections for you. Think of MEET in that group — you’ll find us at Booth 224 in the main exhibition hall.
Use the matchmaking platform
SelectUSA has designed a variety of tools and opportunities to help event participants be as successful as possible in reaching their goals. The matchmaking tool offers a great pre-event opportunity to set up meetings, engage in messaging and develop your own customized schedule of workshops and events.
Build in a daily refresh
Check in with your top priorities at least once a day during the event. Check off what you’ve accomplished and where you need to focus your attention for the remainder of your time there. Above all, keep your eye on the ball and moving it downfield to ensure your efforts are aligned with your outcomes.
Network to your benefit
Utilizing your networking skills and techniques are important, but perhaps even more important is that you are able to clearly articulate your top priorities during every interaction. Stating your priorities will help others understand how they can support you — either themselves or through their own networks.
Set meetings before you separate
Meet someone great? Exchange business cards? Don’t leave the event without setting a meeting. Today everyone travels with their calendars and there’s no reason why you can’t set a time to talk (even if it’s tentative). Setting a meeting in person eliminates the inefficiency and insecurity associated with phone or email follow-up. Nothing is lost by putting something on the calendar.
Close when appropriate
If you know you’re ready, and you feel that all the information is available to both parties, there’s no reason to wait to close a deal. While every instance is unique, the more you can check off in-person, the more effective you’ll be at achieving your goals.
Remain clear on those top priorities
Make sure you’re still checking off those objectives and keeping track of what remains to accomplish.
Regardless of how well you’ve executed your game plan or how many key introductions you made at SelectUSA, it’s all potential energy until you’ve followed up after the event. To the extent that your strategy is queued-up before the event, implementing immediate and efficient follow-up is critical.
Close when appropriate
Once you’ve arrived at a place where both parties have the information they need, it may be time for that very simple question: is it time to formalize this relationship and move forward?
Priorities = Success
At MEET, we love the “big rocks first” analogy inspired by Stephen Covey when thinking about how to develop an action plan for a unique opportunity like SelectUSA. [In case you’re not familiar, here’s a video to get you up to speed.]
The point is to start your SelectUSA strategy plan by focusing on your top priorities — your big rocks — and what it will take to accomplish them. For example, things like:
- Making great connections by leveraging pre-event tools and a clear, concise articulation of your priorities.
- Achieving learning goals, whether it’s regulatory, legal, financial, competitive or market-entry intelligence — what can you learn from attending SelectUSA.
- Meeting people one-on-one, recognizing that time at the event is limited and doing your best to schedule these prior to the event.
Have you developed a strategy for SelectUSA yet? The time to start is now.
MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney fora no obligation conversation email@example.com or +1 (860) 573–4821.