I recently had a client tell me that his upper management team was thinking about pulling out of trade shows because they were not beneficial. They have been attending shows for 2 years and feel that they have not obtained their return on investment of their booth and show space. What we found out is that their average sale is about $100k - so ONE sale would absolutely make any trade show event a great deal (they currently obtain a 10x20 space at the events). So my response to his question was the following advice:
#1. Always go to the same show twice before making a definitive call.
You may have a great product and you might be at the right show, but depending on the size of the show and the scouting habits of the customers attending it, if your business is the new kid on the block, you may not get the visibility and business you are after the first time. Customers often go to a show with an idea of which companies they want to see. Trade show appearances are like advertising. The first time you show, you get noticed. The second time you show, you get shopped. If you go to the same show twice and you still don't get the results you want, it's not the right show for you. This article - Judge the ROI of a Trade Show: 4 Steps and be read at http://www.inc.com/vanessa-merit-nornberg/trade-shows-should-you-go.html
#2. Trade show events are growing in their attendance - you might miss the boat!
According to CEIR there was flat growth in 2014 – but an increase in growth is expected in 2015 (Transportation Industry). In a 2012 report -http://www.exhibitoronline.com/topics/article.asp?ID=1355 - it was stated: 32 percent of attendees reported that their purchase intentions were more favorable after visiting companies' exhibits on the show floorand 84% have buying power!
#3. Why don’t you do something UNIQUE at these events like get on the speaking agenda?
Maybe WITH a client? These shows are always looking for speakers and we can help you put a PowerPoint presentation together along with a call for paper abstract. Here is one I found: http://www.testing-expo.com/usa/call_for_papers.phpbut there are a ton out there for the ALL the shows – you just need to plan ahead since the calls for papers are requested almost a year in advance. But what a great way to get noticed and make you stand out over your competition!
Bottom line– you need to track your leads and follow through. Maybe there is not anything unique about your products but you can certainly be at the right place at the right time and close that new opportunity!! If you are not there – you don’t have that opportunity. Make sure you are capturing the leads and following up on them either with a brochure or call.
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