Are you a small company looking to build visibility and credibility? Do you have a new product you can’t wait to share with potential customers? A trade show might be just what you need. Before you decide to register, however, you might want to spend a few minutes reading through the list of lessons learned by Jerry Jao, a contributing writer for Forbes, who recently exhibited at his first show. Good luck and happy selling!
- The opportunities are strong… – Networking and gaining face time with prospective clients are important benefits of attending a trade show. More importantly, 81% of trade show attendees have buying power “which makes the interactions even more valuable.” Be sure to research the trade show and its attendee list so you can “leverage those opportunities to the fullest.”
- …But be prepared to work for attention – Remember that your booth is just one of hundreds (and all exhibitors have similar goals) so be sure to “take a step back to think big picture.” The key is help guide your team on ways to stand out.
- Rely on creativity over gimmicks and giveaways – Don’t rely on gimmicks and giveaways to generate traffic. Instead, “trust your team’s ideas and let them be creative.”
- Build relationships over giving the hard sell – Focus on building relationships to “nurture quality leads into real contacts.” Starting a genuine conversation with a prospective client will likely last longer and “yield more results than a sales pitch.”
- Figure out what works – and what doesn’t – A trade show gives exhibitors a chance to “receive instant feedback” from those in attendance – and “pivot accordingly.” Jao advises exhibitors to “be prepared to roll with the punches.” Being able to make quick, sound adjustments greatly improves your chances of capturing a lead.
- Capitalize on the event by hosting your own – Use the conference as a platform for your own event such as an executive mixer. An exclusive, high-level event can boost your company’s credibility.
- Motivate your team to reach new heights – Jao says companies should “foster the ‘fun’ aspect of working trade shows” and encourage team members to work together and take ownership of the event.
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