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How to prepare for a trade show or exhibition

How to prepare for a trade show or exhibition

Posted by Joanne Serellis on 18th Jun 2014

Roller banners, exhibition stands

For a business, a trade show or exhibition is a great way to connect with existing and potential customers, as well as being able to consolidate and forge business relationships with suppliers. A trade show offers a company the chance to identify new sources of revenue, become aware of trends in their industry and meet with new prospects.

Your industry all in one place

Perhaps the most attractive feature of a trade show or exhibition is the fact that a wide range of representatives, all from the same industry, gather together under one roof. This makes it the perfect opportunity for business owners to get out there and network. Networking is an essential part of modern businesses, as methods of communication become ever more remote and there is a real desire to meet with other human beings rather than talk to computers.

Make the most of opportunities by attending seminars and workshops, listen to speeches by major players in their field and ask questions at panel events. Any contact made at a trade show or exhibition could be valuable for you and your business, maybe not immediately, but in the long term.

Before you attend, you should make a plan working out all of the businesses and individuals it would be best to connect with, suppliers and customers alike. Every event organiser should be able to provide demographic information about attendance figures at previous events and the profiles of the people who attend them to give you an idea of your target audience.

Take a look at your competition at the trade show or exhibition as well. Don’t view these businesses as hostile to your own purposes, or taking your custom away from you. Customer footfall for them will mean potential customers for you as well.

Choose your trade show or exhibition carefully. Don’t necessarily be lured by the big name events, as it is possible for smaller businesses to get lost amongst the big boys and find themselves unable to compete. Smaller scale events may present better opportunities.

When booking your stall or exhibition space, try to book a spot near to the entrance, or if that’s not possible, then in the corners. These are natural gravitation points and encourage people to congregate. Aisled spaces offer fewer opportunities for this as they work as thoroughfares.

That being said though, it’s not where your exhibition space is but what you do with it. Exhibiting at one of these events is a chance for you to maximise on your marketing. Encourage participation by having an open space that isn’t too cluttered, and take advantage of advertising opportunities. Roller banners are a particularly effective way to advertise what your company is about, as well as featuring any special offers or incentives. Place them so they can be seen, but make sure they don’t obstruct the entrance to or exit from your exhibition space.

Lastly, be aware of yourself. Never look bored or appear to have nothing to do. This creates a poor impression and may lead people to walk away. Engage with your visitors and be ready to answer their questions.