In the past few weeks, we have given you a lot of highly specific advice on how to get the most out of your business trip to a trade show, but you might feel disheartened. It’s so much work! Why even bother to put so much effort into attending one in the first place? We understand that stress flares up once the preparations kick in with full force and you have to make heads or tails of many processes that at one point, you wish to quit.
But don’t! Take a breather and allow us to center you with a nice and short list with the best reasons to exhibit at a trade show or exhibition:
This is the first big reason and the heart of any business strategy. You’re always trying to meet a new lineup of potential customers and convert them – or at the very least understand what their needs are. Trade shows are built around the idea to introduce supply to demand, which is why you are in the perfect position to meet with prospects especially targeted for your niche. You can’t go wrong with making a first impression in person during an exhibition.
Additional benefits: practice your sales pitch and identify what works and what doesn’t; fine tune your buyer persona to better target your marketing lessons; strike potentially beneficial contacts even if they don’t materialize into sales.
It’s a common misconception to think your job in popularizing your company ends once you build a website and create profiles on the social media networks in vogue right now. That’s the very first step – not the only step. Trade shows give you the opportunity to make your presence be known. Even if you don’t generate the foot traffic through your booth to the degree you’d like, you can be absolutely certain trade visitors have seen your name, logo and advertisements. It’s printed in their catalogues and other press materials organisers might hand out. This also extends beyond buyers and into experts, decision makers and your rivals.
Additional benefits: Adopting your brand’s persona into your booth design and marketing during the event can propel you to viral fame during the proceedings.
Jumping in from the previous point, you’re in an excellent position to do some research into your direct competitors, because they will be there. You’ll have unparalleled access to see what clients they attract and how they sell their products. What are the points and features that they emphasize in their sales pitch? Have they done anything new or exciting with their presentation at the show? Are they bringing in interesting booth design ideas to the table? All this you can observe in real time and take notes. Not only to decide what you can adopt for yourself as a working strategy, but also to establish how you can be different so customers don’t mistake you for another brand.
Trade shows go beyond business transactions. Most international events supplement the exhibition section with an involved support program, which often brings in top experts across the supply chain to address innovations and industry trends. You get access to talk, lectures, discussions and seminars on all things from Industry 4.0 applications to how to improve sales, new regions that are coming into their own and are ripe for investment. Take notes on anything that might affect you in the long run.
You might consider exhibitions as only marketplaces where sales leads matter, but that’s far from the only useful function for your company’s wellbeing. There is much networking to be done and you can never be certain, from which direction a new, lucrative opportunity might come up. That is why we advise you to be open to communicate with anyone and everyone who are interested in what you’re putting out in the industry. Not only can these lead to productive partnerships further down the line, but they might be in a position to recommend you to a prospect buyer.
We have kept the best for last – live feedback! It’s understandable that as an owner or a manager, you have a very particular vision about what your company is and what your brand says, but that’s not always how the public and industry sees you. Avoiding real feedback and keeping on course just based on your intuition or ideas is a recipe for potential disaster. Course correct when needed and the best way to do so is at trade shows. Ask prospect buyers, buyers and anyone else who gets to talk to you about what you could be doing more – what are the missing components they want to see enacted. You’ll also see how well your sales pitch performs. Don’t be afraid to experiment and redraft!