Participating in trade shows offers businesses significant exposure in the marketplace. In fact, for businesses which don't operate out of a store front (i.e. web-based businesses) it may be one of the only venues in which to put a physical "front" on a business. Whether your business is store, home or web-based, participating in a trade show can raise your profile in a community or sector and infuse your cash flow with sales and new accounts.
When you book your spot at a trade show, it's time to start planning your strategy. First, be sure to order promotional giveaways. Promotional giveaways give trade show visitors a tangible reminder of your business and of their interaction with you. The last thing you want is for a potential customer to decide he or she wants to do business with your company, only to find that he or she can't remember your company's information.
Choose your promotional giveaways based on two things: the type of business that you have, and/or the type of trade show that you are taking part in.
Decide what you want to accomplish by participating in a particular trade show.
I recommend:Setting goals that are measurable and attainable. This will give you a clear target to aim for, and a way to accurately measure the results of your efforts. For example, a one company that manufactures doors decided to participate in a trade show in order to launch its newest line of architectural doors. Managers set a goal to hand out at least two hundred fliers and to get contact information from at least twenty potential serious buyers.
Come up with ways that you will accomplish the goals you've set.
I recommend:Asking leading questions of your visitors to determine their interest level in the services that you offer. In the case of the door company, staff at the booth decided to spend a little bit of extra money on promotional gifts in order to entice visitors to engage in conversation and to exchange contact information. The tantalizing gifts drew visitors in and made them willing to share information and be contacted after the show.
Analyze if and how you met the goals you set.
I recommend:Did you accomplish your goals? If so, how are you going to proceed now (i.e. phoning your contacts)? If not, evaluate why. Did you set your standards too high? Was visitor traffic not as heavy as you had anticipated? Did you hold back too much? How many factors were out of your control, and how many could you have controlled by working harder or setting more realistic expectations?
Tips & Tactics
Helpful advice for making the most of this Guide