Firstly, going to a trade show can be a large investment of both time and money and the outcomes need to be considered before you even book the trade show.  Don’t let pushy sales people tell you that this is a one off deal as it’s only a good deal if your customers will be at that event!

Ensure that the trade show that you attend will generate sales leads and give your brand, products or services the exposure that will lead to the growth of your business and put you in front of your ideal client.

  1. Set objectives to measure how success the event has been, generate new sales leads, take orders at the event, build customer relationships, gain exposure in a new market
  2. Decide which trade shows to attend and this should be based on where your ideal client is, is the trade show happening within a new market you are wanting to develop
  3. Walk the floor first. If you can try and walk the floor at the trade show before you invest in taking your own space at it.  This will give you an idea of the layout, how busy the event is in terms of footfall, the other exhibitors and how they present themselves, what types of visitors attend the show
  4. Pre-event promotion, this is so important to ensure that buyers and the event organiser know who you are and what you will be bringing to the event. It allows you to maximise on pre-event PR and increase your exposure pre-event.
  5. Create an engaging and brand relevant trade stand. Make sure that your stand is on brand and showcases your business and what you’re about. Customers make decisions within seconds and may decide to just walk past you if you don’t make a first impression that connects with them.
  6. Staff training is key to a successful event. They need to be engaging and know stand etiquette such as not standing staring into their phones/laptops.  Any phone calls have to be taken off the stand.  If staff need to have a work discussion take this off the stand.  The stand is all about attracting your ideal customer and engaging with them, so they want to do business with you.
  7. Schedule meetings prior to the event too. Most events have a meet the buyer system where you can pre-arrange meetings and take advantage of buyers who are actively looking for new business.
  8. At event promotion is key to visibility around it. Ensure your talking on social media channels and using tag in the events channels too. Use hashtags so you can be found easily.  Talk about what to expect on the stand and any highlights you have at the show.
  9. Network at the event too. Be this with buyers or other exhibitors, most events have networking events around them too. Make sure you are seen.
  10. Data capture is key. Buy the scanner to scan name badges and have the details emailed to you.  Collect business cards.  There are apps that are easy to scan business cards these days too.
  11. Post-event follow up is the number one thing to do on return to the office. Email/phone all contacts made with any action points you agreed.  Follow up and set up meetings, get information out.  The first few days/weeks are key when you are fresh in the buyer’s mind.  Remember they attended as they want to do more business.

Lastly enjoy it. Customers want to be there, and you want to be there.

For more information read

Why do I need a marketing plan

7 ways to create a marketing plan for your business

Where to start writing your marketing plan