Trade Shows: A Guide for Insurance Agents
If you’re an insurance agent who does not make a regular habit of attending trade shows, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity to benefit your business. Even in today’s digital world, insurance industry events are a powerful place for person-to-person conversations where you can share insurance marketing insights with other thought leaders and gain networking opportunities only available from from physically attending an insurance trade show.
Co-Industry Trade Shows
One common misconception is that insurance agents should only attend insurance-industry trade shows. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are benefits to attending industry trade shows, there are plenty of good reasons to attend other local events also.
Industry trade shows offer you the opportunity to network with your colleagues across the state or the nation – depending on the size of the show. You’ll also get to learn about exciting new trends in the industry, hear the latest news on topics critical to insurance agents and get an idea of what the upcoming year holds for you and your competitors. These insights are beneficial to agents of any level, but trade shows are essential for young agents still growing in the industry.
Local trade shows – put on by a city’s chamber of commerce for example – offer tremendous benefits to agents as well. Networking remains one of the central benefits of these shows, and local trade shows allow you to meet and network with peers and potential customers alike. If you are a new agent, local shows are an excellent way to introduce your business to the community. Meanwhile, new agencies and existing offices will both benefit from attending the trade show and representing themselves as an active, supporting member of their community.
Presenting successfully at a trade show, whether it is an industry show or a local show, can greatly improve your business outlook down the road.
To present successfully, make sure you have an eye-catching booth that draws visitors to your area. Once they arrive, make sure you are well versed in all of the subject material in your booth. Remember, you want to convey confidence and that you are the subject matter expert they should turn to. It’s also a good idea to have a parting gift – tote bags, stickers, candy – something guests can carry with them to stir up conversation about your booth in other areas of the show.
There are also some practices you should avoid as a presenter. First, before attending the show, don't forget to advertise that you will be there. This is especially true for local shows. Potential customers and contacts cannot come and meet you if they don’t know you’ll be there. Second, once you’re at the show, make sure you and your team are engaging with visitors at your booth. Talking among yourselves makes you look unprofessional and uninterested in the event, so get out there and make new contacts. Finally, make sure to follow up on any contacts you make at the trade show. This was the reason you attended, and capitalizing on these leads could be invaluable.
Working the Trade Floor
Your time at the trade show is vital if you aren't presenting. Time is money, especially in the insurance business. So how do you ensure your time is well-spent?
Start by coming to the show with a plan. Before the show begins, decide what you want to accomplish and then read through the literature so you know who will attend and how these presenters can help you accomplish your goals. Presenters can help you find new business, and you should resolve to visit them first. This way you will have gained the most important information right away, which is especially beneficial if your attendance at the event is cut short.
It’s a good idea to schedule time with these must-see presenters – if you can – to ensure you’re getting their undivided attention. Scheduling a lunch meeting is appreciated. Plan your questions ahead of time as well so you know you’re getting the information you need to grow your business and benefit from attending the show.
While you may be hesitant to attend a trade show because of the time commitment it requires, these events could have a big impact on your business’s future growth. Whether you’re an attendee or a presenter, it’s up to you to use your time efficiently and to ensure you have the best experience possible.