After successful visits to manufacturer-specific exhibitions like Southern Manufacturing and Subcon, Jon and I toddled off to our first IFSEC at the Excel in London to broaden our knowledge of – and meet new people in – the Fire and Security sector.
The event was split into two parts – the Firex event had red carpet and the Security event had blue carpet. The blue part of the venue was considerably larger than the red bit and there were some extremely swanky stands. Some even had two tiers!
Hidden away from the main drag in the Firex section, we had a very educational encounter with Alistair of Wrexham Mineral Cables. His videos and literature clearly demonstrated what can happen when builders try to cut costs on the cabling they use within hotels, apartment and office blocks.
In contrast to the manufacturing events we had visited previously, I think what I noticed most was that the majority of the stands at this exhibition were far more about having meetings than showing off equipment. There were little groups of chairs and tables everywhere and some of the biggest exhibition stands seemed to be 75/25 in favour of meetings vs equipment displays.
The second thing to stand out – once we hit the blue carpet – was that it was a bit like a room of mirrors. There were televisions with your image on everywhere. Almost every stand seemed to have a CCTV camera recording passersby and you would suddenly come face to face with yourself when you really were not expecting it.
Another big feature of the event was the number of stands talking about Home Automation – this is clearly a trend that security systems installers need to get a handle on.
Next up was the lovely Liam at Safetynet Solutions who offer easy print badges and ID cards for staff, visitors and contractors that double up as access control cards to keep your building secure.
I also had a good chat with Paul Nagle of Donseed and his colleagues. They provide biometric time and attendance hardware.
Meanwhile Jon was grilling Tony Weeks of the National Security Inspectorate to find out more about their certifications.
Having passed the certifications to display the Google Partner and Hubspot Partner badges, we are keen that the people we work with also have accreditations from governing bodies that reflect their commitment to ongoing professional development and great customer service.
NSI Gold provides that function for companies in the security industry. Any business that achieves the coveted Gold award is monitored regularly to ensure that they maintain the high standards required.
Post-IFSEC Relationships and Networking on LinkedIn
One side-benefit of attending events like IFSEC is LinkedIn connections!
Of course, meeting new people that you would not get to see at local networking events is brilliant but it’s important to stay in touch. By connecting with them on LinkedIn, you can start building relationships long-distance. And, you increase your LinkedIn network of 2nd and 3rd connections exponentially!
Then, later on, you can make arrangements to meet all these new connections at the next trade show or exhibition. These events are really geared up to facilitate these face to face meetings with lots of areas set aside for relaxed or more formal conversations.
When Online and Offline Networking Collide
At Subcon this year, someone came to the event expressly for the purpose of meeting one of our clients after reading a blog post that we had written for their website. That’s a mixture of lead generation and offline networking.
And, again at Subcon, I was able to physically meet several LinkedIn connections who have become friends through our interactions on this virtual platform.
Networking is relationship building, whether it is offline or online. LinkedIn is a great platform for growing the fabled know, like and trust elements of networking with people you don’t normally see. But it’s much more than that and can be used to ensure you get the most from your next trade show.
To find out more about how you could use LinkedIn to amplify your tradeshow connections, click here to try one of our 121 training courses or download our helpful ebook by clicking the image below