Heading out to a big tradeshow soon? Better have a few apps at the ready. Tradeshows are known for being great places to network and build new client relationships in person, so many people head out to the big shows without thinking about the apps that are on their mobile phones. However, with the right apps installed, you’ll be able to sell more products, connect with more people, and get a better performance out of your tradeshow experience.
For Networking: Business Card Apps
I was as sad as anyone else to learn that Bump, the app that allowed users to literally bump phones together to transfer contact information, shut down this January. Admittedly, Bump never really got off the ground, but the concept was brilliant: instead of sharing business cards, you can just tap your phones together, the digital equivalent of a handshake.
However, there are still a number of great business card apps out there, and you need to have at least one downloaded and ready to go so you can quickly collect, categorize, and organize all of the business cards you receive during the trade show. Check out ComputerWorld’s latest list of the best business card apps, and get ready to make those connections.
For Lead Collecting: Badge Scanner Apps
Sure, you could collect potential client and business connection information in the same place you collect the names and contact information of new leads. However, it’s much easier to keep all of that data in two different places. Use a business card app to grab info for anyone with whom you want to network or work with later, and use a convention mobile app designed specifically for lead tracking to handle the collection of your leads.
These lead apps are great. Look for one that includes a badge scanning feature; if a person is interested in your product, simply scan their badge and add their name to a lead collection list. It’s a much more efficient method than having a pen-and-paper sign-up sheet on a clipboard, and you don’t have to sit down afterwards and try to decipher people’s terrible handwriting.
For Payment Processing: Credit Card Scanner Apps
No matter which side you fall on the PayPal vs. Square debate, you’re going to need a credit card scanner app before you head down into your tradeshow booth to start selling products. Even five years ago, we had to choose between carrying around a bulky, carbon-copy credit card processor or announcing that we were taking cash payments only. Now anyone can accept payments at any time, as long as they have the right credit card scanner app.
Of course, the problem with many tradeshows and conventions is that they take place in the one part of the hotel that doesn’t get cell reception. (I don’t know why that is. Hotels seem to be some of the worst places for cell service, hands down.) If you can’t use your 3G or 4G network, you may be dependent on paying through the nose for hotel WiFi, which in turn will either be throttled or overwhelmed by the sheer number of users trying to check their email at the same time. Consider buying a portable MiFi device so you’ll have a functional, private internet hotspot wherever you go.
These aren’t the only apps that can help you at the next big tradeshow, but they’re three of the most important. You need an app to help you network, an app to help you collect leads, and an app to help you collect payments. The app that gives you the best happy hour specials within five miles of your convention hotel is optional!