How to define whether I should exhibit at a trade show?
Exhibitions are often considered by Business Owners as the sinews of war. Trade shows are a great place to build or grow a business. On the other hand, such events often have prohibitive pricing. How to define the real opportunity behind an exhibition?
What are the benefits of exhibitions?
There are five major benefits for businesses to attend fairs.
The most obvious one is meeting potential customers. Being part of such event is the best method to meet people truly interested in the type of product you have to offer – instead of spending countless hours cold calling or street sweeping, you can immediately interact with prospects already open to your sales speech.
Beside prospects, you might also use your presence as an opportunity to meet with potential partners. People from the same industry are not necessarily competitors and could be excellent marketing partners. You could also find people willing to exchange technology or knowledge with you in a way that would benefit you both.
Another important aspect of trade shows lies in your brand’s awareness. It is quite common to have press and media present on major events. If your products are outstanding, chances are high you would end up on local news. Even without it, having a well branded booth is always an opportunity to have more people within your industry know about you.
The fourth aspect doesn’t come naturally to many businesses. Fairs are the optimal place to analyze your competitors’ strength and development plans! Have a look at their booth and ask for information: you will certainly find interesting information they wouldn’t display publically on their website or press release.
The last aspect is probably both the least known yet the most important aspect of exhibitions. These events give you the ability to get real market feedback. Instead of going through expensive and unreliable focus tests, you can talk directly to your target audience and gather true comments from potential users.
How do I define whether I should go?
First thing first: define why you want to attend the event. Which, if not all, of the five given aspects appeal to you?
Once you have defined this point, try to establish “KPIs”: quantify your goals whenever possible so that you will have a benchmark to compare to after the event (for example, getting 100 leads, 10 new customers, 20 product tests, 1 media coverage, etc.)
Now that you have defined your goals, compare them with the total price of the exhibition. To get this figure, you must consider the price of registration, but also logistics fees, samples cost, man-power, etc. It won’t be cheap, it never is.
You have everything in hand now: up to you to decide whether the cost justifies the potential outcome.
If you decide to go ahead, make sure you do a proper debriefing after the event: compare your goals and results, analyze problems and areas of improvement . Only that way could you decide whether you should join the next event!
How do I get Return On Investment?
Considering the large amounts you will need to invest in the trade show, you surely want to get the best out of it!
These things don’t come easy, and unless what you could expect, the hard part doesn’t happen on the booth, but in the preparation period.
Prepare your plan, get your products ready, have your materials printed, your logistics handled, your internet connection set up and your team trained. Don’t wait for the last minute to bring half-finished products at the exhibition and hope for people to buy them. Only show finished products if you expect to sell them – for those currently being developed, gather feedback instead, these will help you making sure your products will be ready to market once finished.
Get a tool to collect prospect information during the event and manage proper follow up afterward. myfairtool offers a solution for businesses to increase their efficiency on fairs and trade shows by collecting relevant details and offering follow up.
Last, inform everyone around you that you will join the fair and invite them to come visit you.
Once you’ve done all that, only one thing remains: take a leap of faith!
We wish you the best for your coming events!
Download this free tool to define whether you should join a trade show!