How Trade Shows Can Boost Your Business

Many companies find that going to trade shows is a good way to grow their business.

Many companies find that going to trade shows is a good way to grow their business. They can find new customers, learn how to improve their operations, and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry. However, it can be difficult to know how to get the most out of these events. Companies should make sure they are prepared before attending and make the most of the opportunities they have while there.

Trade shows offer a variety of opportunities for companies that participate, including meeting new customers, finding better ways to do business and building a more impressive reputation within an industry.

Making a good impression at a trade show can be beneficial for businesses, but it can be difficult to justify the expense in today's uncertain economic climate. However, most businesses can see significant returns from investing even a modest amount in a trade show - as long as they have the right strategy.

Sales people can benefit from trade shows because it is like running a retail store. People come to talk to you at a trade show. You should look at how much a sale is worth. You can look at it as the value of a single sale, or the lifetime value of a client. If selling to one or two people will pay for the trade show, then it is worth it for you to be there.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports that 88% of people who attend a trade show have not been seen by your company's sales staff in the past year. Most people attend these shows to find new products, and on average, 76% of attendees ask for quotes. Out of all the attendees, 26% sign purchase orders. Trade shows are a great opportunity to make deals with buyers, and 72% say that the show itself influenced their buying decisions.

Exhibiting at a trade show can have a lot of benefits. 87% of people who go to trade shows pass along some of the information they learned to other people. And 64% tell at least six other people about it. Shows can also be cost-effective. It costs 22% less to contact a potential buyer at a show than through traditional field sales calls.

Trade shows offer a lot of chances to make more money. But this doesn't mean you will be successful. You need to find the events that are best for promoting your company and making an impact on buyers.

Michelle Bruno, an expert on the exhibition industry and principal of a content marketing firm, says that trade shows can be a good way to generate leads or create brand awareness, but they usually don't have an immediate impact on profits. However, if you plan your exhibit well, it can help build your company's reputation. That said, not every company should go to trade shows - smaller ones that are more targeted to a specific industry might be more beneficial.

After you have identified the best shows, your business needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to make sure your company is represented in the best way possible.

"Trade shows are different from other sales and marketing channels. They can be profitable - you only need a few good sales to make them worth it. But they can also be expensive and very time-consuming," Bruno added. "If you're going to participate in a trade show, do your homework - research the show, learn how to exhibit well and measure your results. Exhibiting doesn't have to be a 'one and done' proposition either. Use the opportunity to create content (photos, videos, blog posts) for social media channels, conduct market research and learn about your competition."

You should think about a trade show as a way to sell your products and to promote your brand. You have to pay for the booth, but you also have to pay for travel, food, and lodging. You need to think about the costs of insurance, event setup, sales materials, and the time your employees will take away from their work. 

To get the most out of your trade show investment, your company should aim to get as much value as possible from the event. Marketing M.O. offers the following tips for maximizing your return-on-investment:

  • You should know why you are going to a trade show before you go. This will help you figure out who to bring with you, how much money to spend, and what activities to focus on.
  • Define what you want to achieve. Set goals for how many clients you want and how many leads you need in order to track your progress.
  • Pick the right event. Look at a show's demographics beforehand to ensure that there will be enough attendees that match your criteria for meeting your goals.
  • Create a ranking system for the leads you get. This will help you focus on the most important leads first. Rank them in order of importance (Group A, B, C) and figure out what each group needs from you to win their business.
  • Keep track of your follow-ups. Decide who will follow up with which leads, and make sure you have the materials you need to make the sale. Make sure you have a way to manage and monitor the process.
  • Discuss your decisions with your team. This will help ensure that everyone understands their role and responsibilities for the event.
  • Evaluate your results. Look at what you tracked and see if you reached your goals. This will help you figure out your ROI for the event, what went right and wrong, and how you will do in future events.

It is important to quality leads during a trade show. Make sure to check if each staffer is writing complete leads. If not, take them aside and show them what they are doing wrong. Staffers should be writing down the visitor's main problems and how your products solve them. They should also promise the visitor they will do next.

Even though a small company may not have as many resources as a larger company, that doesn't mean they can't compete for attention at a trade show. Small companies can still make a big impact by focusing on their messaging and what makes them stand out from the competition.

"Be original. It's not so much that you need to have the 20-by-40-foot booth. What you need is enough people skills to connect with people and have conversations," Bishop added. "Telling people how you can help them is the most important thing you can do. People attend trade shows to find solutions to their problems, so it's a natural place for salespeople to approach them about whether they're interested in what you're selling."

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