Friday, October 24, 2008

Seven Reasons To Exhibit At A Trade Show This Year

Writen by Graham Green

To go to a trade show, or not to go? If you've never gone to a trade show before, it can seem a little overwhelming. You'll have to arrange a booth, get handouts together, figure out a way to attract people, organise salespeople and decide on which products or services to feature, create a presentation that will generate interest…the work seems never-ending. But a trade show is worth every minute of the extra effort. If you've been considering whether or not to exhibit at a trade show this year, here are seven reasons why you should go for it.

Get a feel for your competition. At most trade shows, you'll be competing for customer attention with lots of other businesses in your industry. This can be off-putting for some—but it's actually a key benefit of trade shows. At a trade show, you'll get a chance to scope out the competition, meet the people you're sharing your market with, and see what they're doing right—and how you can improve upon it. A trade show is the easiest and most convenient way possible to get an idea of who is competing for your customers.

Get to know your customers. At a trade show, you'll meet interested people face-to-face. Pay attention to who comes to your booth. Mostly women or men? Mostly a certain age? Mostly a certain profession? There may be a demographic with an interest in your product or service that you never realized was there. Ask questions of the people who come to visit your booth, too. Ask them what they look for in a product or service like yours. Develop a marketing survey and offer a free gift for completion. You never know what your customers can teach you—so don't hesitate to learn from them.

Make a one-on-one impression. It's a fact that one in ten people you call will buy from you—but one in three people you meet face-to-face will. Making a one-on-one impression on your customers is crucial to drumming up new business. You'll give them a friendly face to match with the company name. If you've got good people skills—or your salespeople do—your company won't represent just a name and a logo to them, but a new friend.

Get a high return on your investment. Studies show that almost half of the leads generated at trade shows don't need a sales call to close a deal. Trade shows give you a great return on your investment, because many of the people you meet at one will buy. Put a little thought into your display and come up with a gimmick to attract people to your booth—free giveaways, demonstrations, food, etc.—and you'll probably generate more hot leads than you usually do in a month's worth of sales calls.

Meet a pre-selected audience. The people you meet at a trade-show come because they are interested in your business. They're interested enough to take a day off work, sacrifice a weekend, or travel hours out of their way to see what's new in the industry. You couldn't ask for a finer pre-selected audience. With so many people clamouring to learn more about what you sell, there's a high chance you'll make a fine return on your investment at a trade show.

Have the customers come to you. A lot goes into preparing for a trade show—but it's actually a great way to save money. Usually, you might attract new business by making time-consuming cold calls, putting together an expensive direct mailing, or advertising on TV or the radio. At a trade show, the customers come to you—sometimes in droves. You'll get in front of lots of people at relatively minor expense, compared to your ordinary advertising and marketing costs. It's a cost-efficient way of getting in front of the most people—at the least expense.

Generate lots of qualified leads. At a trade show, you'll meet a lot of people ready and willing to buy. Usually, you'd generate qualified leads by cold-calling, networking, and working hard to generate interest. At a trade show, those leads will seek you out. Have applications prepared for people to order, and have information available and ready for those who ask for it. If your trade show goes well, you'll generate more qualified leads in a day than you ordinarily would in months.

There's no question that a trade show is worth the time and effort it takes to put together a good booth and presentation. If you're just getting started, going to a trade show could take your business to the next level. You'll get to meet lots of people who are interested in your business. And you'll get to check out the competition at the same time. What's to lose? If you've never taken your business to a trade show before, consider this year as the time to make it happen.

G. Green is business owner of the pop up stands and exhibition supply company For more info on trade shows, booths and a wide range of pop up display stands visit

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