There is a vocal minority among exhibitors according to whom trade shows are a complete waste of resources and time, because you don’t make sales and all the business goes to the biggest fish in the industry. Yes, it’s true that trade shows are notoriously competitive and a resource drain for smaller enterprises, but there are ways to make them work in your favor. All you need is a strategy and this is an area where we can help. Follow these six tips and you’re set to make a better return on investment.
1. Why Do You Attend in the First Place?
These same exhibitors who complain about the ineffectiveness of exhibitions are the same people who do not know why they’d visit a trade show in the first place. You don’t always need to be an exhibitor. Do you want to understand better what’s happening in your sector on an international level? Buy a ticket as a visitor. Scout what your competitors are doing. Attend a workshop. Listen to a lecture. Do you want to sell products? Then know your product. Focus on how to present it in the best light. Set an expectation for what a good number of direct orders and sales leads is.
2. Always Communicate What You Have Been Improving
You will encounter the term Industry 4.0 in almost every trade show and exhibition in the world. It marks this new era in manufacturing that puts emphasis on automation, digital technology and data processing. In short, industries are confidently marching towards the future and you want to be known as an innovator. Therefore, as an exhibitor you need to create buzz surrounding your company’s innovations. Partaking in this narrative of building the future of your industry is useful for your branding. Customers whether they’re the end consumers or trade visitors support those business that have a future ahead of them.
3. Create a Video for Your Product or About Your Brand
With the proliferation of flat screens in every resolution, exhibitors have steadily moved from the marketing techniques of old and have banked on video to promote their message to visitors. Trade shows today feature videos at almost every single exhibition stand, so you can’t afford to be behind the times. A smart video establishes a tone of voice, who you are and hooks visitors to stop, watch and interact. It’s literally a hook to reel in potential converts. It’s nothing short of a foolproof plan to be seen without having to invade the personal space of visitors. Unwanted social interactions can negatively impact your brand.
4. Make a Demo of a Product for More Than One Person
Although one-on-one interactions are highly valued for their potency to convert potentials into real customers, you don’t want to lose time to present and demonstrate product to one person at a time. Not only are you going to exhaust yourself having to repeat your script every single time and it’ll show in your performance, but you will lose the interest of other visitors that might have stopped to check out what it is you’re exactly offering. Make the necessary arrangements to host demos to a small group of up to three to four people, and practice on how to engage with multiple people at once to deliver a more convincing presentation. Work smarter, not harder.
5. Utilize Any and All Social Contacts
You might think that you can look for potential meetings on the site of the trade fair, but you’d be wrong. There is further opportunity for companies to meet with the right people at the right time. Go through your contact list and identify the people you want to touch base again to strengthen your partnership or to renegotiate a contract, and invite them to attend the trade fair before it starts. This way you populate the event with the right people from the get-go. Another technique is to reach out to other contacts and influencers that are in the city at the same time, but not part of the event, and then invite them for dinner. That’s how you leverage social connections to your benefit even outside the programming of the exhibition.