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The real value in trade shows – part two

November 17, 2014

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend an international show (which shall remain unnamed) and wanted to circle back to the topic of trade shows again. Having stepped away from the tradeshow scene for some time, I forgot to mention some of its most important elements.

Key takeaways:

1. Credibility comes with booth space. If your company has the funds to spend $10-$15,000 on an exhibit space, chances are they’re considered credible in whatever product or service they’re selling. With so many existing and potential customers in one space, are you sharing that credibility with the audience? What benefits does your company provide the industry it serves? A booth space does more than showcase your name; it allows for the opportunity to push your messages to the audience. Take advantage of it.

2. It’s more than sitting in a booth. A trade show is never over at 5 p.m., at least not in terms of networking. Sometimes the best sort of establishing relationships is avoiding the topic of work altogether. In my own experience, catching up with industry peers about their kids, recent vacations, etc. has a bigger impact than asking how their job is going. By knowing someone on a personal level, and gaining a better understanding of a potential customer, you build trust. Dinner and drinks on the town can prove to be invaluable for business development.

3. Walking around never hurt anyone. There’s a benefit to stepping out of your booth and talking to competitors and various companies you know nothing about. For me (and my profession), I’m able to learn about new marketing methods, video animations, breakthrough products and presentation, industry trends, etc. I always want to know how companies are presenting themselves and their products to the market so I can take the best ideas back to my clients. Don’t be afraid to walk around a trade show and look to what others are doing. After all, you’re gathering information from credible sources among the industry.

Unlike before, I felt liberated stepping away from the trade show scene (and away from the Offshore Technology Conference). Now, I find myself identifying which shows are most beneficial for me to attend and how they apply to my business strategy. Are you doing the same?