Trade shows are the best kept secret in the business
BY SUSAN RATLIFF
If you had the chance, in the span
of six hours, to personally meet
and speak to more than 1,000
potential clients who could hire
you, would you take it? If there
was a venue that would expose your
books and CDs to more than 20,000
buyers in one weekend would you want
to know about it? Both of these fantastic marketing opportunities are available to you when you exhibit in a trade
or consumer show.
If you’ve never considered the trade
show option or turned down the
opportunity when a conference coordinator made the offer, I am suggesting
that you reconsider your decision.
Even if you think trade shows are a
waste of time, please don’t turn the
page—or walk by the booth—just yet.
Consider some of the reasons you
should rethink your opinion about
trade shows and their value. There are
11,000 trade shows and 2,500 consumer shows taking place each year that
are attended by 120 million people who
spend $100 billion. What does that
have to do with you?
E X H I B I T A : The Connection
A large portion of those expositions are
attached to a corporate event, educational conference or public show that
hires speakers, authors and consultants.
You have more than likely spoken at
many such events. Did you ever consider that the trade show taking place in
conjunction with that conference was
an untapped resource for new business
and referrals for you, not to mention a
great venue at which to sell your products and brand your image? Why settle
for a rushed 20 minutes in the back of
the room when you could have high
profile exposure for hours?
Maybe you have exhibited in a few
shows and never gotten the results you
wanted, so you are convinced they don’t
work. I’m here to tell you they do work
when planned for and executed properly.
Statistics compiled by the Center for
Exhibition Industry Research indicate
that a trade show will help you reach
seven times as many qualified prospects
than you could reach with other marketing methods. If that’s not convincing,
consider that nine out of 10 companies
ranked exhibitions as the number-one
most useful source for finding new products, services and suppliers. Exhibitions,
according to those polled, allow them to
examine and evaluate competing products in one location and meet face to
face with company representatives.
There are hundreds of shows currently
serving the needs of associations, schools
and colleges of every level and businesses
in every industry that you want to reach.
Trades shows are attended by decision
makers who could hire you on the spot
or who are influencers on scouting
expeditions for the decision makers. In
a normal eight-hour day of prospecting
back at the office, you or your staff
would be lucky to reach 10 people who
could hire you.
At a trade or consumer show you will
have the chance to personally speak to
hundreds of potential clients. In addition
you can sell products, obtain referrals
and collect leads that could turn into cash
in your pocket and bookings on your calendar, long after the show is over.
Be a Great Exhibitionist
Let’s assume I’ve convinced you to take
a second look at the opportunities that
trade shows offer the savvy speaker. The
keys to getting results from your exhibiting experience are similar to those