Trade shows can be a great way for vendors of all types to show their knowledge, expertise, and product line to the general public or to a specific group of individuals. It is important to remember that it is also a great networking opportunity. This is such an amazing opportunity to grow your business, gain a reputation with fellow vendors and potential clients, and shine in your area of knowledge. Trade shows have many pros and some cons that you need to be aware of before registering to become a vendor. Without reading the fine print, you can be in for a surprise.
The pros of doing a trade show are vastly growing. Many people like to shop and see with a more hands on approach. They like to look at the options available to them. For my industry (weddings), this holds even more important value. Brides who are not only excited, but overwhelmed with all the elements of their wedding, will come to a trade show geared for weddings to be inspired, find vendors that they have a general comfort level with, find ideas that they don’t care for, etc. This is also good for the vendors new and old to network and help each other grow. Make sure your booth is tastefully done. Too little leaves people not interested or wondering why you bothered to come in the first place. Too much overwhelms them and is off putting. I always stick to the statement of keep it simple silly. If you are like me in the wedding industry, you want to show them that you have style, class, and know when to stop. Having clear, clean, concise information is very important when having a booth at a trade show. Many people will talk to you for a minute and grab your information and go to the next table and will review it later. Make sure it stands out! You have a great opportunity to book appointments with future clients while here. Use it to your advantage. Have a raffle or some form of contest to draw the clients in. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to cater to their wants and needs.
The cons of a trade show can be heavy. The cost alone is usually a house payment. I know for most of the bridal trade shows I have been to, it is $800 and up for one maybe 2 days in a tiny 10 x 10 space. If you want a corner spot or a double spot, well, be prepared to pay for it. Now, some offer electric and some do not. When it is offered, some include it in the fee and others will charge extra for that. There may be limitations on how your booth can be set up, which is not always conducive to your brand. So make sure you look at that. And my all time biggest pet peeve, vendors who did not pay to be there handing information out to potential clients. You paid good money to be at these events and put a lot of hard work and time into creating your booth, information, and design for this show. It is neither right nor fair to have them come in and market their company for free, and they typically do get kicked out if they are caught. Now that being said, I am all for vendors coming in with business cards and networking with the vendors at the show. We are a team as there is so much business out there that we can help each other grow.
There is a line with this though. If you are a vendor who has not paid for the show, be respectful of those who did. Try to meet them without bolding stating for example “ Hi am xyz, with abc and wanted to introduce myself”. The statement isn’t wrong at all. The timing is what can cause a problem. You want to be aware of your surroundings as to not potentially steal their future client with the introduction. If they are swarmed with potential clients, simply say hello my name is xyz and here is my card. I would love to talk later when you have time. And leave it at that. Do not state your company name or what you do. They can figure that out by your business card.
Although it looks like mostly negative sides of the trade shows, those are really the biggest issues you will find. The good truly outweighs the bad. It is most definitely worth doing at least one a year if not more if you can swing it. They can be the best thing you ever do for your company.
Guest Blogger - Author: Jessica Goss