The right choice
Exhibiting at trade shows, exhibitions, conferences, fairs and other events gives you a unique selling opportunity that can also help you identify potential new customers, find suppliers, check out the competition, network and gain publicity.
In short, you can do at a single trade show what would take weeks or months if you stayed home. And it could even save you money: according to the Center for Exhibit Industry Research, it costs 62% less to close a sale with a potential customer identified at a trade show than with a customer identified in the field.
But to achieve all this, you need to plan carefully. This means choosing the right show, setting clear objectives, developing an effective presence and promoting your presence. And all this before you even get to the show!
1. Choose the right trade fair
With thousands of trade shows held each year, choosing the one that will give you the most bang for your buck in time and money can be a daunting task. Start by looking for trade shows that are relevant to your product or service.
Another resource for finding out about trade shows is your industry's trade association, as many trade shows and conferences are sponsored by industry groups.
2. Don't judge by numbers alone
Large crowds at large trade shows can be a waste of time if they do not include potential buyers or customers for your product or service. Carefully study the statistics from previous years to help you assess whether the attendees fit your customer profile. The show manager should be able to provide you with this data.
3. Ask your customers for help
Talk to your customers to find out which trade fairs they are attending, as fairs that meet their needs are likely to attract potential customers. You can also talk to your competitors to find out which trade shows have been most useful to them.
4. Check in advance
The best way to evaluate a show is to see it in person. Before you register as an exhibitor, go to the show as a participant. Is the show lively and busy? Are the people browsing the show potential customers? Who are the other exhibitors and where would your product or service fit in? Talk to people and keep your eyes open.
5. Evaluate it carefully
Once you have a list of possible salons, ask yourself the following questions to see if the salon meets your needs:
- Is it big enough to attract a representative set of potential customers and vendors without being so large that you have to compete with the industry giants?
- Is it in the right place, geographically, to attract your customers, be they local, regional, national or global?
- Does it take place at a time when you can handle the new business you will attract and follow up on potential clients?
- Are the promoters of the fair reliable and has the management a proven track record of success?
6. Don't wait until the last minute
Some popular salons fill up quickly. If you wait too long, you may find yourself on a waiting list. Also, the sooner you register, the more choice you will have in finding a good location for your booth.