Pros and Cons of Trade Shows
Some of you may be thinking that trade shows are a solid way to gain new client's and trade, this is not always the case, it can be a very complex and time-consuming task to setup for a trade show and it is always necessary to prepare well in advance some of the biggest companies in the UK prepare up to a year in advance. Decisions are not just made on a whim.
Why go to a trade show as an exhibitor…
There is a very short answer to this and that is to gain more clients and establish your brand into different markets you may not have been exposed to previously. There are many shows you can attend in the UK that may be of benefit to your business but make sure they fit either your niche or have a high number of attendees.
Being an exhibitor gives you the chance to interact with individuals and show them what you can do, how you can do it and engage in conversations with potential future customers, if you are lucky you may sign up a few whilst there.
Why go as a visitor…
Going to a trade show as a visitor can also be a great way to create potentially lasting relationships with other businesses and you can still have the same conversations as if you were an exhibitor without the cost.
What are the pros…
Trade shows tend to have a huge following, who will scout out who is exhibiting even before attending and may seek you out for this purpose. I know for our business it takes time to get an appointment if you are not an existing client.
Conversion can be huge, usually outweigh the cost of exhibiting or attending. If you land a few high value customers, you are on to a winner.
Say the cost of exhibiting is two thousand pounds and that gives you a prime position at a show, your earning potential could be ten-fold if you present yourself correctly and present a great and attractive offer to the passing trade.
Conversations are free, promotional material is not, try and limit the amount of promotional material that you use and let your product do the talking! Be the best! Present as the best! Never let people down on what you have promised, be honest about lead times and manage expectations from the get go.
Business cards are a god send at a trade show, better still is digital engagement so get people to sign up to a mailing list when they pass as you can convert these people after.
What are the cons…
Trade shows don’t come cheap, you will need a lot of promotional material to cater for the passers-by, you will also need a great set and stand. This will all cost money, so whatever you spend you need to look at your ROI or projected ROI.
Saying that the best stands that we have seen have high engagement even if an individual cant talk to the person engaging. Digital is where it is at and having screens where people can see what you do and sign up to a mailing list can help this.
You may not make back your investment in the short term, you may never make it back, so you must be prepared for that! Don’t bankrupt yourself or your business to get new customers, there are much simpler ways to get ahead of the competition.
The best part of a trade show is you can expect to interact with others that work in your niche, not just that you can learn a load from those people and businesses. They may be doing something you haven’t thought of and you can replicate simply and do better.
Always look at added value and how you can always be ahead of the competition and be the best.
If you are stuck for ideas, go to some shows before hand and learn from others and see what works for them, get ideas and plan.
Planning for a trade show…
When planning for a trade show you will need to ideally know what the expected footfall will be and aim to have material for 60% of those people with backup if needs be.
Not everyone is going to want to take your info or even engage but make sure you strike up those conversations. The best salesman is one who is knowledgeable and can answer questions swiftly and efficiently without pushing a product.
Be prepared, have your set put up and tested way before you attend and make sure that its attractive and fits your business model.
Our set is fully interactive and built like an actual studio set, well lit, space to chill and have conversations with people and beautiful podiums to present our product.
The set didn’t cost a fortune but is highly bespoke and we haven’t seen anyone else doing what we do at trade shows.