There are hundreds of thousands of trade shows held each year worldwide, each offering businesses the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate their latest products and services to large, engaged audiences. Here at Copernio, we recently had the pleasure of attending one such show, the international CES held in Las Vegas. We had a great time meeting with press and believe that all our preparation paid off. As many of you know, trade shows are unique and require planning in order to get the most out of them. Not to worry, with a few words of advice you will be show ready in no time.
What to expect?
- Expect to be a little overwhelmed. Trade shows can be massive, CES itself features thousands of exhibits within its 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space! While it is a good idea to check out your competition, stay focused and don’t let them distract you.
- Expect to meet new contacts. While trade shows are great for getting sales, personal interactions with press and potential customers are often times more impactful. Leaving a positive impression with new contacts can open many new doors for your business long after the trade show has ended.
- Expect the ROI to take time. It can be discouraging to come away from an event with only a few sales and many people don’t realize that results from trade shows often aren’t seen for months.
- Expect to receive feedback on your products. Be sure to pay attention to what people are saying about your product, the good and the bad. This is a great opportunity to hear what you are doing right, and what you can improve on.
How to ensure a successful trade show
- Be prepared. This may be the most obvious, but it’s also the most important. Make sure you and your team members are well-trained to represent your company. Physically – wear comfortable shoes (you will be standing for hours at a time), dress professionally and don’t forget to bring plenty of business cards.
- Set goals and objectives for your display. Everyone knows the importance of goal setting. When you go into a trade show with goals in mind, it will be much easier to accomplish what you set out to do.
- Set up appointments with prospects and press beforehand. Notify potential clients through email blasts, social media, newsletters, etc. Appointments are meetings with a purpose; fill your day with them to maximize your time at the show.
- Know your audience. There are many different types of people that attend trade shows, from buyers and analysts, to spies from competitors trying to size you up. Knowing who you are talking to will allow you to tailor the conversation to each individual.
- Follow up with contacts. According to Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 80% of all trade show leads receive no follow up at all, which is why having a solid follow up plan is very important and will help you stand out from the crowd. Your plan should directly correlate with your goals and objectives set for the show. Leads should be followed up within 48 hours after the show.
- Last but not least, be friendly and non-threatening. Remember this is an opportunity to make a good first impression with customers, face-to-face. They are much more likely to remember you and your business if you treat them kindly and with respect.