Trade shows are odd things. Done badly, they can prove costly and entirely ineffective. Done well, you can secure business deals that sustain your company for years.
There are no guarantees when it comes to what you might achieve, but the potential rewards mean it is worthwhile investing some time and effort before you participate. You need to give yourself the best chance of success because this is not an activity where you can just show up and hope for the best.
The main reason for this is because competition is fierce. With many similar, competing businesses all in one place, you can easily find yourself overlooked. Conversely, many attendees are likely to be interested in your offering and so if you can make yourself more appealing than your rivals, you stand to gain a lot.
Exhibiting at a trade show is all about marketing your company and you will need to get several elements right in order to achieve success. If you attract people to your booth, but cannot then achieve much once you have people’s attention, you are missing out. In the same way, you can have your sales pitch down perfectly, but if no-one comes to speak to you in the first place, that is worth very little.
To experience success, you need to catch people’s eye, draw them in and then engage them. It is important to have a clear idea what you are trying to achieve and to not get distracted with tangential issues. For the most part, you will be trying to drum up business in some form or another and this might amount to little more than gathering personal details. A friendly chat, explaining what your firm does and how it might be of benefit to the trade show visitor in question, is usually the best way of going about things.
But how do you get to speak to people in the first place? Here you have to be a bit brazen. Give away freebies and ensure you have an appealing exhibition display with stands, banners and literature to hand out. Some elements might seem a bit desperate, but you only have a second or so to make an impact on a passer-by, so you have to be bold. Create a professional, intriguing exhibition display and you are likely to see more visitors. What you achieve from then on is largely down to your staff.
Ken Shaughnessy frequently attends trade shows and is writing on behalf of www.colourgraphics.com