trade sowAny trade show is a hub bub of activity, a swirl of competing stands and business, all vying to capture the eye and attention of passing delegates and attendees.

For many business, a trade show is a significant investment of time, money and resources. And yet when they review what they get out of a trade show in terms of leads and actual business deals, they may be disappointed to find that they do not have a significant return on their investment.

Losing at a trade show means missing out of deals, customers, connections and profit which is why Colour Graphics have put together these three simple tips to help you win at trade shows…

#1 Is it the right event?

There are many conferences, exhibitions and trade shows that you can choose from thus, making the decision as to which is the right one can be difficult.

In essence you need to answer at least two questions:

I. What are your objectives for attending this and any other trade show?

You will find your objectives change as your business grows. Some small businesses start by using trade shows to raise awareness amongst their customer base that they exist and what services or products they offer. Other businesses will see trade shows as their main means of getting new leads and customers.

Depending on what your objectives are, you now need to critical examine whether the trade show you are thinking of attending will actually provide you with the means to meet them.

II. Why THIS trade show?

From examining previous footfall at previous trade shows to checking out who else is exhibiting or selling at the trade show. Will the crowd of stands and businesses attract a large proportion of people who are your customers? If you are doubt, do some more digging as to who will be there by contacting the event organisers.

#2 1 BIG event Vs. 5 smaller events

Another mistake that businesses commonly make relates to the size of events and the number of events they do per year.

Large events hold significant appeal and we understand why – well promoted with a huge footfall figures, you could have thousands of people per day walking past your stand. But, you could also be in the busy mix with all of your main competitors. If they have nigger budgets, more staff and abundant resources, they could soon be making a profit at your expense.

Ignore smaller events at your peril because your customer base may prefer smaller events. They are cheaper for people to attend and may also be on their doorstep. You may also find that the key decision-maker from a business is also in attendance so the connections you make can be far more valuable and lucrative.

Smaller events are also easier on your own budget too, as well as being less crowded by your competitors. In some ways, making the event to attend smaller events and more of them, can reap far more rewards than throwing your eggs all in one basket for one big event.

Whichever size event you decide to attend, make sure you still ask the question highlighted in point one. If your customers are not at the event, then why attend?

#3 Awkward gimmicky stands

We have all been witness to a trade shoe stand that incorporated everything from the personnel manager dressed as a chicken to flashing, strobe lights and fireworks. And we’ve all sniggered and quite frankly, been put off by the over the top theatrics.

Less, as they say, is more and so when it comes to your stand, you need to stand out without going over the top and being handed the wooden spoon.

Having freebies is no bad thing but make sure that they are useful and can, in some way, be related to your product or service. People like collecting things at trade shows and this is not always what you want so keep something in reserve that can be seen as more valuable for those people that you do talk with and are considered ‘leads’.

Depending in your business, some customers can be put off by what they see as a company or its staff ‘acting the goat’. Essentially, people want contact, they want to be engaged in conversation, they want to see what you have, they want demonstrations (if your product or service can be demonstrated) and sometimes, they want a place to sit too.

The secret weapon of trade show stands? Have a chair for people to rest their weary feet.

Colour Graphics is a design and print agency, using the latest printing technology to give the best clarity and colour reproduction across a wide variety of mediums, from business cards to exhibitions stands and more.