When you first arrive at a trade show, it can seem like a lot of it isn’t really about business. The trade show floor seems like a cacophony of lights, sounds and entertainment, each trade show exhibit another excuse to waste time. Remember, that trade shows are about business. Although, there are certainly going to be instances where a little networking can be mixed with some fun and drinks, for the most part, you and your staff should focus on getting the most out of your trade show presence from a business standpoint.
Remember, even when you are not staffing your own trade show exhibit, you can still be adding value to your trade show presence by focusing on networking, competitor research and education. These are very important aspects of a trade show presence and allow you to find value with your presence beyond just the promotional and marketing boost that running your own trade show booth provides.
Networking is an important way to make connections and identify key individuals and companies who may be potential partners or customers in the future. The old adage that it’s not what you know, but who you know still rings true. Make sure that you are maximizing your networking impact at your next trade show and go beyond your own trade show exhibit to do this most effectively.
Another way that you can improve the value of your company’s presence at a trade show is to focus on competitor research. This means going around to each trade show booth and identifying new products and services that your competitors are offering as well as how they are positioning themselves from a marketing standpoint. Knowledge is power, and knowledge about your competitors is the best way to stay one step ahead of the game.
Finally, education is an important part of a trade show presence. If you can spend a little time to attend a class, seminar or keynote presentation you may come away with a new way of looking at things and even a new skill or two which could pay dividends in the future. Again, don’t be afraid to have a little fun and unwind after hours, but make sure that during the day you are thinking about how your trade show presence can best benefit your business.