Tricks of the Trade Show
Maybe you’re overlooking some of the reasons you should visit a trade show. There are some “tricks of the trade show” that provide other reasons to attend.
Most people attend trade shows for three reasons:
- to display products and services
- meet prospects
- and collect leads.
But there’s a lot more you can be doing at the show to help your company—and yourself. And while you don’t need to go to jail, or train with James Bond, a little snooping doesn’t hurt either!
Let’s look at a few more reasons to attend shows:
A trade show is the only place to find all your competitors or so many clients all in the same place at the same time. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling widgets or doing charity projects. There’s a trade show for every niche.
That’s where you’re going to find the people who can help you in your niche. You may be just trying to sell. Or perhaps you’re looking for new hires. Or for joint ventures, or just to network with peers.
Do you manufacture a product? Then start looking for organizations that provide services to companies who use that product.
Watch for exhibitors that focus on different markets that you hadn’t considered. This might offer you the chance to take your product into those markets.
Keep an eye on the job board, both those looking for jobs, and those that are hiring (you never know!).
At trade shows, everyone’s there to do business. It’s a great opportunity to network. You can meet people that can help connect you with the person or business you’d want to reach.
So get out and mingle. You never know who you might meet that could hold the key to a great opportunity.
2) Sizing Up Your Competition:
Your first job is to find out what your competition is up to. What kinds of products and services are they offering—particularly what’s new at the show?
If you don’t know what your company is up against, you’re at a disadvantage. How would you successfully present your own products? Are your competition breaking new ground, or far behind?
What about the ways in which they market their products? Is there some new way it’s packaged? Is it bundled or offered in a kit that puts your company in a weaker selling position?
Whatever the situation is, you need this information to successfully serve your company’s objectives.
3) Spy Versus Spy:
Whether you realize it or not, other companies are checking you out to see what you’re up to, as well.
Don’t go rummaging through their trash to find corporate secrets. But you should be doing all you can to educate yourself on what your competitors are doing.
How? Set up your exhibit. Then, before the show starts, look at who else is there. You’ll know the big players and key competitors, of course.
But there may be smaller companies or start-ups. Look for companies new to the show that are doing interesting things.
Your goal is to collect information on the offerings they provide. Wear your casual clothes though – not company branded attire. Most exhibitors will be suspicious when they know they’re talking to the competition.
4) On The Hunt:
Which booths attract your eye?
Are there things about the way the booth was designed that you’d like to consider for a future new build?
Does their signage and graphics do a better job of presenting their products?
Does their corporate image stand-out better than yours?
Larger, brighter booths always attract more attention. That’s just the way we’re wired.
You might be surprised to notice that the product on display in a larger exhibit isn’t as good as yours. But that their exhibit does a better job of exciting attendees and garnering attention. If that’s the case, take notes – you can build a similar display next time and gain ground on your competitor.
5) Don’t ignore the smaller exhibitors.
They may not have the big budgets that some companies have. That doesn’t mean their products and services aren’t as good. The exhibits of start-ups or smaller companies might be hiding some interesting competition.
If they have literature on display, take a copy. Read through it later, looking for anything that will be useful to know or helpful to your employer.
Tale notes between visits to the various displays. If you feel emboldened, ask questions.
6) Get to know your peers.
In some situations, you may know the people in the booth from other shows. If you don’t, develop a relationship with the people you see at other shows.
Once they know you, they’ll be more friendly and willing to tell you more about how their company is doing. All of this is valuable “intel” that a smart trade show entrepreneur should know.
7) Be sure to check out the entire show floor.
Hint: this may be a job you do with others from your company. That way you can spread the work out and hit all the other exhibitors.
Then go over your notes with your team and share the printed materials you’ve collected.
This discussion after the survey is important. It might lead to return visit to one or two exhibits to do a little more digging.
Perhaps you can find a source for supplies you didn’t know about before. Maybe you’ll find a new product you want to tell your product managers about. Or some other idea that might open up new opportunities for your company.
8) Get What You Pay For:
You’re already at the show. The money’s gone. Don’t just sit and hope – in fact, don’t ever sit at the show! And hoping that the key prospects will come to you is silly.
Instead, network with other trade show managers. Look for opportunities that may be available at other companies. Use the time you’ve got to investigate your competitors and learn what you can about them.
9) Don’t forget to ask your own customers what they know about other companies at the show. You might find someone who has a little “intel” of their own they’d be willing to share.
More Tricks of the Trade Show
When you’re looking for good “tricks” for making the most of your trade show exhibiting efforts, let American Image Displays be your top secret source. Be sure to read the Top 15 Benefits to Exhibiting at Trade Shows.
From a totally new exhibit to new lighting, banner stands or graphics, we can help you make a great impression on the show floor.
If you have questions or would like more information, call us at (800) 676-3976 or email [email protected]