For a young company, success at a trade show can make or break your entire operation. A trade show provides the opportunity to put your product before a wide range of potential clients and you have the potential to leave the show with a greatly expanded list of customers.
If you don’t know what to expect or how to prepare for your first show it can be stressful, however, with the right preparation you maximize your chances for success to ensure that you make the best possible showing before your future clients.
1. Set a Goal.
Before you can go about striving for a successful show you need to know what success is. No two companies will be going to the show with the exact same goals in mind. Whether you’re looking to cast a wide net or to focus on landing just a few clients whose businesses best match your abilities, knowing what you’re after is essential to getting the most from your first show. Create a list of primary goals which you feel are essential, as well as some secondary goals to serve as nice bonuses should you achieve them.
2. Do Your Research.
Success at a trade show is all about preparation, starting with the very first decision you make — which show to attend. There is a wide range of trade shows available, from niche-focused events to massive shows with companies from all kinds of professions in attendance. Knowing what to expect from your show will help you to devise a strategy that is optimally geared toward the show you are attending.
3. Make a Plan.
Even if you think you do your best work when flying by the seat of your pants, you should never head into a trade show or convention intending to make your pitch up as you go. Attendees at conventions will be stopping by many booths over the course of their time at the event and they do not appreciate having their time wasted. A properly planned pitch will get your product or service across in a positive and efficient manner. Planning is about more than just having a good speech ready, however. You should also plan out the look of your booth to make sure it is eye-catching and promotes your company well, and also lay out a schedule for promoting your appearance at the event to make sure nobody misses your booth.
4. Create a Giveaway.
There’s no better way to stay on the mind of a trade show visitor after they leave your booth than to give them a physical object to remind them of you. While it’s common to see simple, cheap giveaway items like pens, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Find something useful to clients in the industry you want to serve and get branded versions made up. The more likely your visitors are to use your item the more value it provides your company.
5. Protect Your Products.
The best laid plans can quickly fall apart if valuable components of your plan are not available when the big day comes. Not only is it vitally important that you make sure that all of your necessary components arrive at the venue on time, but also that they do so safely. Ordering custom shipping cases for your display and any merchandise you bring with you ensures that they are safe and protected on the road and that you don’t have any unfortunate surprises when you get to the show and begin unpacking.
A successful trade show is an outstanding opportunity to give your company a big injection of new income. Although it can be intimidating to prepare for your first show, when you follow these steps you give your company and employees the best possible footing to make a case to prospective clients.