If you’ve never joined a trade show or exhibition, you may be nervous or wondering exactly how you’re going to pull the whole thing off with good results. The nervousness is natural – after all, you’ll be dealing with many people, and often they are in a hurry, and you need to get your message across. In fact, you’ll be standing for a long time, engaging people, and for every person you get to talk to, there will be plenty who will walk away. Sounds bad? Not at all! Trade shows are great, and joining an exhibition is probably one of the best ways to create public awareness and establish contacts. Joining a trade show for the first time? Here’s how to properly prepare for it.
Select the right one
Do your homework – don’t just join the first convenient trade show or exhibition. Make sure you know what the trade show is all about. Who is organising it? How many people are expected to attend, and what are they interested in? Who will your competitors be, and what products or brands will be present? You’ll be spending time and money, and you’ll have to prepare – so make sure you know what to expect.
It’s very possible that you can register for the trade show online – but there are others who still need you to call in, or hand in hard copies of the registration forms. Find the name of the person to contact – and even if you can do everything online, it’s always wiser to talk to an actual person and ask the right questions, ensuring everything is registered properly.
Location and display
This cannot be understated – and is a must: do your research regarding location! Go for front and centre locations, and make sure you have neighbours who attract attention as well, but who are not competitors. If it is an outdoor event, make sure you have the right banners and booths as well. Go for a high quality yet cheap banner which can make you stand out.
Be ready to travel
Pack your traveling bags, prepare emergency kits and book accommodations in advance. Plan your trip well. You’ll be tired.
Trade shows and exhibitions are great fun, actually – it’s a bit of a nerve-wracking experience if you are responsible for one the first time around, especially if you are alone or have little help; but once you’ve done it the first time, it gets easier and more fun the more you join. You fix little problems and you learn how other booths get their success. You adjust and see more people engaging you. You understand the people who are curious about your brand and product and list them down as leads. You grow. You get smart – and pretty soon you find yourself looking forward to the next trade show.
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