Heading overseas is a tempting option for Australian exhibitors, especially when the destination is the cash and influence-rich US market.
Haig Kayserian, CEO of Kayweb, recommends the trip to the US, but stresses that events differ markedly from Australia. Kayserian, an Australian, is based for much of the year in New York and has presented at events on both sides of the Pacific.
“In tech, US events are definitely more full-on than those in Australia,” he says.
“The speakers in the US are easier to attract because they are local and come cheaper, therefore the events can afford to charge higher premiums for participation and thus attract a very specialised crowd.”
“This audience makes US events valuable for Australians. Those who are there are usually quite influential in whatever they do. Therefore they will likely be of assistance to your start-up somewhere along its cycle.”
Kayserian has some tips on running a good stand, saying: “There is only so much one can place on a small round table and bar stools, which transitions a start-up’s event success to the hands of the ‘salespeople’ representing the start-up.”
“If visual enhancements are not allowed, and in many cases even if they are, I believe the individuals on the stand and their ability to attract others to the stand is the best way to achieve event success for start-ups.”
“If visual enhancements are allowed, think of ways to keep your stand busy. Allow people to play PlayStation games, watch a really cool video or trial a gadget.”
“This shows an engaged stand, and we all know nobody likes an empty stand. I believe a full stand attracts more people than competitions or candy handouts.”
Timing is everything
Kayserian stresses that you have to make the most of your limited time at an event to approach the investors and clients that could make or break your start-up.
“Get to the point to all who walk to your stand,” he advises. “If they are of no use to you, do not waste your time talking to them.”
“Give them a flyer, be rude and blow them off – there are important people in the room!”
“Get off your stand. Many investors and key clients will not come to your stand. Those who walked up to me at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC and asked me to their stand to show me a demo, or something cool, got me to go there.”
“And when there, they needed to impress me in two to three minutes or I was gone before being swamped by other start-ups.”
“When you have the ideal person, be clear about what you want to communicate. Have notes, a demo, or something to capture attention, deliver the main point and impress in the minimum amount of time.”
“Not many are going to sign cheques at an event. You want them to give you a meeting because of your presentation to make your sale or win the investment.”