Set clear objectives
To get the most out of the time, money and energy you invest in a trade show, it is essential to decide what your objective is for attending and to set measurable goals. Everything you do before, during and after the show should be evaluated in terms of its contribution to achieving these objectives.
Possible objectives for a trade fair
Here are some reasons why companies participate in trade shows. Your objectives may cover several or require others that are important to your business:
- Taking orders
- Researching the competition
- Detecting trends
- Find potential customers for future sales
- Populate your mailing list with quality names
- Finding better suppliers or markets
- Establish a relationship with existing customers
- Getting press coverage
- Generating interest in a new product
- Increase the company's visibility within the industry
Make sure you staff your stand appropriately and intelligently
You can't do it alone. Whatever your goal, you will need at least one person to take over when you leave the stand to rest or to check on the competition. A good rule of thumb is to have two staff per 10 square metres of exhibition space. Your staff should be neat, well trained, friendly and competent. They should understand your objectives and know the role they can play in achieving them. If you do not have staff available, hire family members, friends or part-time employees.
Focus your message
Limit yourself to two or three key ideas that you want to communicate at the show and practice with your staff not to "get off message". Design the graphics, pre-show promotion, literature and advertising in the show directory around your message.
Make a budget
Once you know which show you are going to and what your objectives are, make a budget. Without a budget, costs can quickly spiral out of control (e.g. last minute spontaneous purchases to spruce up your stand) and defeat your best plans. The rule of thumb is that your space is about a quarter of your total budget. So, once you know how much you will have to pay for the space, multiply by four to get a rough idea of your total expenses, not including staff.