What benefits can you gain from exhibiting at a trade show?
Trade shows offer a unique environment for live marketing. Nowhere else will you find hundreds, or possibly thousands, of potential customers under one roof, looking to source new products like yours.
But exhibiting at a trade show is a big investment, particularly for a small business. They also require time and effort to organise. These days you can reach many more people online, so are trade shows still worth it? What benefits can you gain from exhibiting at a trade show? Here we outline the main ones.
1. Lead generation
Research shows that 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. And 92% of trade show attendees say their main reason for attending trade shows is to see new products being featured. That’s a lot of potential customers to reach out to. Trade shows offer a unique opportunity to generate qualified leads.
When you speak to a potential client on the phone, you’re often dealing with someone who is busy with their day-to-day tasks. As such, they’re often disinterested. Being an exhibitor at a trade show puts you directly in front of key decision makers who will be in buying mode – something rarely achieved by any other form of outbound marketing.
2. Brand awareness
Trade shows offer a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of your brand. If you are just starting up, an industry specific event is the ideal place to launch your business or product. Even if you are an established company, it is still a chance to build on your brand and showcase your products.
It will probably be the only time you are in a room full of your competitors with the same access to potential customers as the big players in your industry. You will be able to place yourself firmly in the middle of the market and show potential customers what you are about.
3. Meet clients face-to-face
In this digital age most communication is online which can be impersonal and not conducive to selling. A trade show gives you the opportunity for face-to-face contact with potential clients. You can build a rapport with them and gain their trust. They are there to source new products so will be open to your approach. This is much more likely to lead to a sale than an email. In-person requests are 34 times more successful than those made over email. Even if it doesn’t lead to a sale they can now put a face to a name so will remember you when you next contact them.
Trade shows are where an industry gathers, all the major players will be there, so it is a great opportunity to network and make contacts.
71% of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) won business using face-to-face networking. For smaller businesses who don't have huge advertising budgets, networking events such as trade shows are an effective means of generating new business.
It’s often the perfect time to forge and renew your alliances with partners, not just interact with buyers. You may find someone who can strengthen your supply chain and help your business to grow.
5. Build relationships with customers
Trade shows offer the perfect opportunity to meet up with existing customers who may also be attending. You can show off your stand or arrange to meet them afterwards at a restaurant. This will not only strengthen the bonds between you but may provide a chance to sell further products or services to them. Customers are your business’s lifeblood so it’s important to keep them happy. If they have any issues, meeting with them will allow them to give feedback and sort out any problems.
6. Keep up to date with industry developments
There will be presentations and talks from key industry figures at the trade show. Attending these will allow you to keep abreast of the latest industry developments. You may spot opportunities for your business and discover new directions to take. Workshops may enable you to learn new skills to help you with your business. If you enjoyed a presentation or workshop, why not introduce yourself to the presenter, you never know when new contacts will help your business to grow.
7. Assess the competition
One of the benefits of exhibiting at a trade show is the chance to see what your competitors are up to. More than half of exhibitors say they exhibit at trade shows because their competition is there. If all your competitors are there you won’t want to be left out.
Many use trade shows to launch new products or innovations. You will be able to assess what works and what doesn’t, which may help guide you in the direction to take your own business.
8. Hone your sales techniques
Trade shows offer a situation where your sales teams can be exposed to multiple prospects in a short period. Take the opportunity to practice different sales techniques, you will quickly find out what approaches work and what don’t. Use it to train new salespeople, they will learn ‘on the job’ which is great experience.
Exhibiting at a trade show offers many benefits that can’t be replicated elsewhere. You will have the potential to reach out to many new prospects in a responsive environment. Being present amongst the rest of the industry shows you are a player and there to be noticed. The face-to-face contact should help your sales process in ways that take longer to achieve via email or phone.
For help planning your next exhibition call us on 0800 019 2141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.