FACT! Prospective clients you haven’t been able to reach by e-mail or voice mail may be there. Trade shows offer the opportunity to talk to them face-to-face. You can state your case, answer questions, and pique their interest in your company and your products. Do not feel limited to a specific type of show. By that I mean, an industry show in which you are not a primary player. For example, we are a business, industrial and technology marketing company. Yet, we participate in chemical, plastics, automation and manufacturing shows to name a few. In this situation, both the exhibitors and the attendees are potential clients.
Make sure that the people manning your booth during the show, are knowledgeable about the company and the products, and are attentive to the potential customers passing your booth. Having the same message that is easily read on your background (booth), on the signage, and on the shirts that your company representatives may be wearing.
Post Show Follow up Make the Difference
The real work begins after the show ends. The ability to follow up a face-to-face meeting with a personal call to discuss opportunities to work with that company is vital. Sometimes the interest is not immediate. In that case, set up a “tickler” file to keep in touch with the potential client on a regular basis. Other times, you may be able to set up a meeting in a few days or a week. Before embarking on that meeting, ask what they are looking for and make sure you understand how you can contribute.
Evaluating a Trade Show
Review past attendees and past exhibitors, and decide if this type of exposure is a fit for your company. Plan to walk the show a year in advance of making a commitment. Ask exhibitors their opinions about the show and how it is run, if they are happy with the number and quality of attendees, and if they are planning to return next year. This input will greatly help your decision-making.