Trade shows are a great way to get the word out about your business. They can be filled to the brim with the exact type of person you should be targeting, and they can also give you an opportunity to check out what the competition is up to. However, you need to play your cards right to get the most out of trade fairs because it can be an expensive way to drum up business if you don’t get enough payback. Here are some ideas to make sure you are landing the big fish and don’t end up feeding on a few tiny minnows.
Visit An Exhibition
Never turn up at a trade show without experiencing one beforehand. Find one that is going on and book some tickets – it will be an invaluable experience, and it doesn’t have to be industry-specific. All you are looking for is what works and what doesn’t. Take a pen and paper and make notes on the stalls that stood out or the way that people that approached you. Think about the locations of the stalls, too. Are some of them suffering because they are in the corner, and what did the staff do to make a difference? All of these factors will help you build up a picture of what you need to do on your exhibition day.
Target The Right Show
Targeting the right show is everything. If you are small business turning up at the World Fair, you are going to be eaten alive by the bigger industry players. Look into your niche and avoid the most prominent exhibitions to get the most out of your exhibition budget. Don’t forget that the size of the audience doesn’t make a difference; it’s the quality of that audience that counts most.
You have to stand out at a trade show because you bet your life everybody else will be trying to do the same. Firstly, look into having a high-impact exhibition design. You can do this yourself if you have the skills, but in reality it’s best to hand it over to an expert. Next, think about how to attract people to your stand. Loud music might help, but on the other hand it might make you look unprofessional. Give people a reason to come and visit you. Hand out free gifts – everyone always needs a beautiful company-branded pen – and be approachable, friendly, and helpful. It’s amazing what a touch of politeness can do on the floors of the most hectic trade show.
The most important thing to do at a trade show is to get contacts. It doesn’t matter how you do it, whether it is scribbled on your hand, entered into your phone or typed up on a spreadsheet. The essential thing is to take that information from prospective customers and use it later on down the line. Find out their names, contact details, and why they were interested in talking to you. You can get some great information from people at trade shows, regardless of whether they buy from your company. They could reveal an angle for your business that you have never considered before, or point you in the direction of a business that complements yours. All information is valuable!
Once you have finished packing up, the hard work has only just begun. With any luck, you’ll have a large list of names to follow up with. Make sure to contact them within a week. Don’t be pushy, but try and extend your conversation for as long as you can. You never know what might come of it!