How Trade Shows can Benefit Small Businesses
As a small business you may think that exhibitions and trade shows are out of your reach, however attending the right one can provide many benefits to your business. Some of these benefits include increased visibility, meeting potential customers, seeing industry developments first hand and showing off your new upcoming products.
Here are just a few ways small businesses can benefit from attending trade shows:
Research before booking your spot
Picking the right exhibition for you is one of the most important factors in success, especially for small businesses. A large trade show could leave you over budget whereas a trade show that’s too small may not generate enough sales leads for it to be worth it.
Ideally you should attend the exhibition as a visitor before exhibiting, this can help you to see how some of the more popular exhibitors work and what they do to generate leads as well as allowing you to do some research on any competitors that may be attending. You can also use the opportunity to gauge the size of other exhibitors against yours, if companies like Apple or Google are exhibiting then it may not be an appropriate venue for a smaller business.
To get a good idea of which exhibition you should be attending you can ask your existing customers via email or social media if they regularly attend any and if so which one, if a large majority of your existing customers all attend the same trade show then it may be beneficial for you to look into exhibiting there.
What do you want to achieve?
Attending a trade show for the sake of it isn’t going to provide you with the best return on investment, instead you should think of some of the reasons you want to attend and then turn them into goals and objectives for the exhibition. Some good examples of trade show objectives include:
- Promoting a specific message or product
- Distinguishing your company from the competitors
- Entering a new market
- Generate a specific number of new prospects
- Identify and recruit new employees
- Increase sales with your existing customers
- Gather information about your competition
When deciding upon objectives for your upcoming exhibition it’s a good idea to make them SMART, this make it easier to stay on track with your progress and analyse your results at the end.
To learn more about SMART Objectives please read our article ‘SMART Objectives for an Exhibition’
Capturing Contact Information and Following Up
For your exhibition to be a success you need to be collecting the contact information of potential leads and then classifying the leads such as:
- Hot (Very Important)
- Warm (Moderately Important)
- Cold (Least Important)
When passing these leads onto the follow up team, the categorisation will help them to know what order to contact leads in, for example a hot lead may require a face-to-face meeting the next day whilst a cold lead may need a few weeks or even months to decide if they want to purchase from you or not.
Keeping in contact with your leads helps them to get to know and trust your business, don’t just assume that they will call you. Don’t be afraid to stay in touch with your potential clients and don’t give up if you don’t receive a reply the first time, providing you are offering something that is useful to them you will rarely be seen as a nuisance.
Evaluating your Performance
As soon as possible after the show is finished you should allocate some time to debrief with your whole team and find out how they felt it went. From this you can find out if you had the correct number of staff and if everyone was properly prepared and trained, if not then you can improve on this for the next trade show. You can also use this time to look at your goals and objectives that you set, did you achieve them or did they turn out to be unrealistic?
Evaluating your performance will help you to figure out if attending the exhibition was worthwhile or not and if it would be a good idea to exhibit again in the future. Even if you didn’t meet your objectives it still may be beneficial for you to exhibit again as you can improve on everything the team felt went wrong.
We hope these tips help you to be successful at your first trade show as a smaller business. At XL Displays we create, design and build pop up displays and exhibition stands that get you results.
Please contact us or call our sales team on 01733 511030 for more information.