Trade shows and expos are necessary for businesses of all sizes to stay visible and competitive in their respective industries. However, with so many different displays and events competing for time and attention, it can be a challenge to make the most out of your time at a trade show or industry expo. These events only come around once a year, and it's important to make the most out of them.
Prepare a Check List
Don't go into an industry expo without a written plan. Working from a checklist serves two purposes. The first is to ensure that your company's booth or display runs smoothly and is prepared for any eventuality. Include any supplies you will need for the display, from large electric cables or signs to extra pens and business cards. Finding these items is much more difficult once the show is underway. The second part of the check list should include items you want to accomplish at the show. List people you want to meet, company booths you want to visit and presentations you want to attend. Working from a list makes it much easier to stay on task and avoid getting distracted at a busy event.
Build your Network
Make meeting people a major goal at any trade show. While there will likely be many events and product demonstrations to attend, these are generally not as useful as networking and making connections. Keep a contact book on you at all times, and perfect your elevator pitch before hitting the expo floor. Remember to follow up on promising contacts within a few days after the end of the trade show to keep the memory of your company fresh in their minds.
Focus on Quality over Quantity
Your initial impulse may be to direct as many people as possible to your booth on the trade show floor. However, finding people with a genuine interest in your product is much more important. Begin your hunt for quality leads before the trade show even starts, sending out targeted emails or marketing campaigns to promising customers. Let them know where your booth will be and why they should visit you as opposed to your competitors.
Outsource your Display
An eye-catching booth is the best way to make your company stand out from the competition. However, mastering the aesthetics of display design is more difficult than it initially seems. Don't hesitate to call in a professional designer to help you create a booth that is attractive, attention-getting and fits your brand.
Whether you are operating a display or just attending as a guest, trade shows can be a valuable tool for keeping up with trends in your industry. Treat these events like the opportunities that they are, and make the most of the time spent at the show.
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