If you are just starting your business or working for a small company, attending or setting up an exhibit at a trade show can be a very valuable opportunity.
Trade shows are organized specifically for companies and industry professionals to showcase and learn about the latest products, services, trends and opportunities available in their field. Some trade shows are open to the public, while others are solely for members of the trade. They are the perfect venue to meet other professionals who have the potential to become your clients or colleagues. What’s more is you can further educate yourself on the latest news and proceedings in the business and apply those findings to your career.
If you are planning on attending a trade show, follow these tips to get the most out of your experience.
Research: To go or not to go?
It is important to note that attending a trade show will no doubt require some time and money on your part. Regardless if you need to travel out of town or stay in your city to attend or exhibit at the show, make sure it will be worth your while. Do your research to ensure this show will have the best chance for you to further your industry knowledge and networking potentials.
No book delivers more – or better –knowledge than hands-on learning and interaction at an actual trade show. Whether you attend as a consumer, investor, client or potential professional, you should leave the show with knowledge, insight and contacts that will put you ahead of the curve.
Get Networking. Ask Questions. Take Notes. Connect.
Networking is one of the major benefits of trade shows. You will be under the same roof with hundreds of skilled professionals full of experience and advice to bestow upon you so take advantage. Make sure you have plenty of business cards to give your contact information to vendors or potential employers, and makes sure you get theirs as well.
Take the time to chat with other attendees and don’t forget to ask questions to maximize what you can take away from the show. Leave with a more precise and in-depth look at what you will need for success in your field. The answers to most of your industry questions are at the tip of your fingers, so take some time to think about what you want to get out of the trade show before you attend. And don’t forget to take notes!
Eye your competition, compare and get critique.
Trade shows are also the perfect chance to test your sales technique and investigate the competition. Gage interest in your product or ideas by meeting with potential clients or competitors. You can ask what others think of your business plan and get a review of how your model will work, or where you need to make some changes. This is probably the ideal place to conduct research and gain enlightening criticism to enhance your business.
Once your business plan is finalized you will need to show your services to the people who will buy or even write about what you are selling. You can expect to meet potential buyers as well as media at trade shows. They especially attend these shows looking for vendors like you to work with or promote. If you’re lucky – and well prepared – you will be able to sell your products right on the spot, so plan ahead for serious business.