You have done your research into the crucial aspects as to why your company needs to invest into an international business event (be it a trade fair or a conference), but your boss is not convinced. They see the high travel expenses from travel and transfer costs to accommodations and sees no reason to attend the event, when the company is doing quite well on its own. How do you manage to change the conversation? How do you convince upper management to reconsider trade fairs as a viable investment? How do you present the ROI as something they should dedicate budgets for?
We’re here to give 7 tips to successfully argue your way to exhibiting at your first trade fair:
One of the biggest arguments for trade fairs is to showcase that your immediate competitors are exhibitors at the events you think are suitable for your brand. It helps your case, if said competitors consistently remain one step ahead and have bigger market shares and a better regional reach. No boss is going to neglect this information and the opportunity to even the playing field.
Companies in the B2B world rely on real meetings to generate sales and what better place to meet with prospect buyers than trade fairs. Use some additional statistics to sway the opinion in your favor. The Harvard Business Review reveals that from a pool of businesspeople, when asked about 95% see face-to-face meetings as the key to success for long-term relationships, 89% considered meetings essential for closing deals and 82% say meetings are most effective for negotiating important contracts.
Trade fairs enjoy attendance in the thousands and although not every single visitor is going to be a potential buyer, you can’t ignore the fact that you’re in a great position to attract customers. At the very least, you’re able to see how audiences react to the way you present your products, your messaging and the products themselves.
One of the biggest draws is the chance to streamline who visits your booth and engages with your brand. Each trade fair has its own set of tools to introduce supply to demand with extreme accuracy. Whether it’s to be a stop on a guided tour, signing up for matchmaking services or claiming a spot in a special show, you gain visibility and remove steps between your products and your target audience.
As we have already pointed out, your direct competitors will be there and you’ll be able to see what strategies they’re employing at the trade fair. What’s more you get to see what trends and technologies are shaping up to be winners and where your entire sector is headed next. Attending trade fairs allows you to feel the pulse of your industry, so you can course correct your strategy in the short, mid- and long term.
Company-client loyalty is not what it used to be. Market saturation occurs in every industry and a client won can easily be a client lost, if you’re not paying attention. As soon as a better deal comes along or even a better customer service becomes available, there’s a high chance you may lose a client. Client retention is maintained not just through what you sell, but how you sell and how you engage with your clients. Anyone is business will tell you that it’s easier to retain an existing customer than to convert a new one. Having continuous contact with your client base through the trade-fair circuit is a sound investment.
Outside the context of a trade fair, it’s hard to secure media placements unless you’re doing groundbreaking work in your field. That’s seldom the case, but while media outlets (mainstream or industry) have little interest in companies most of the time, the opposite is true of brands. After all, media placements perform the function of an advertisement and even better, it happens to be free. The time and place to take advantage of media interest is at a trade fair. Reporters will be roaming the halls, trying to find a story or collecting soundbites. With the right booth design or participation in the support program, you’re in line to be interviewed easily.