Attending a trade show is a perfect way to discover new developments in your industry and to learn about new ways to improve your business. While many people look at trade shows as an opportunity for vacation, for the serious business owner, they are an opportunity to grow and make valuable connections. Here are a few ways that trade shows can improve your business along with tips for getting the most out of your time at any show.
Comparisons Made Easy
Trade shows are a perfect time to compare the various brands and models of equipment you are interested in. Nowhere else will you be able to compare so many different brands to one another without a lot of travel and hassle. There are usually demonstrations going on as well, which means you get to see everything in action.
The benefit of a trade show extends beyond being able to compare equipment though. You will be amongst peers in the industry, which means it is the perfect time to talk to people who have actually used the equipment in real-life settings. Talk to anyone standing near you and learn from their mistakes and successes. When your goal is to talk to other event-goers, targeting busy booths is a good idea.
Questions Get Answered
Trade shows are not about sales, they are about generating interest and building relationships. In general, there should be no high-pressure sales tactics going on at trade shows. As a potential buyer, this is your chance to ask any question of vendors that you can think of. They are there to share knowledge and educate you about their products and services. Because they aren’t under the gun to sell to you or move on to the next guy who is willing to buy, they are more receptive to questions. When you want to talk about details with sales people, avoid approaching booths that are too crowded. It is also generally a good idea to wait for salespeople to approach you because then they are in a positive frame of mind.
Bagging the Big Fish
There are people at trade shows who you might not be able to gain access to otherwise. From industry leaders to business moguls to top-notch educators, trade shows offer access to some of the biggest names in your industry. Take the opportunity to talk to these individuals and hopefully get them to share a little bit about their successes. Staying at the hotel near the event, though it may cost more, makes it easier for you to bump into important people who usually stay in these hotels. Remember to dress appropriately to ensure that you are taken seriously. You may want to do some preliminary research to see who is going to be at the show so that you can plan how to meet them.
Competition on Display
Some of your competitors may be exhibiting at the trade show. You don’t need to let them know you are their competition, but you should take the opportunity to gain as much information about their businesses as possible. Compare yourself to what you learn and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses so that you can improve your own business.
Free Education for Customers
Remember your customers while you are at the show because it is a good time to learn about solutions that are available for their problems. You may have specific customer problems you are looking to solve or just general ideas about what troubles people. Even if you don’t intend to offer a solution yourself, letting your customers know that you found a solution for them and can make recommendations goes a long way to improving your standing in the eyes of clients and potential clients.
The Bottom Line
Trade shows aren’t vacations, they are work. You can have fun while you are at them, but remember that your major goals are to learn about your industry and build valuable business relationships. If you go about it the right way, trade shows should be great opportunities for enriching your business.