Have you considered visiting a trade show in the upcoming months? Maybe you don’t have any experience and wonder where to start from. We are here to support you! Understanding the importance and benefits of attending such events is essential for growing your business network. Let’s dive into the top reasons to attend a trade show and the ultimate guide for building a stronger trade fair presence in 7 steps. Keep reading and you won’t regret it!
Why is it important to attend trade fairs?
When we asked our international trade consultant Wietske what comes to her mind when she hears about trade fairs, her answer was immediate and certain. “This is a place where the world is narrowed into halls. You can meet many nationalities and cultures together for the same reason – to provide visibility and credibility to their company. Trade shows are one of the most powerful marketing instruments.”
Buyers, suppliers and experts are finding a way to each other by visiting stands, organising meetings and attending seminars or webinars. A face-to-face, virtual or hybrid trade fair has several significant reasons why it is helpful for any type of business to attend. Let’s have a look at a few:
- New markets and opportunities: by meeting businesses, you can approach new potential clients and reinforce existing contacts. Remember, every company is there for the same reason as you – building a network.
- Competitive information: you can analyse and compare your progress by evaluating products, suppliers and competitors. The assessment will not only show your business’s strengths and weaknesses but your competitors’ as well. In other words, you can learn from your competitors.
- Learn: don’t miss the conferences, networking events, workshops, seminars and panel discussions. This is your moment to hear about the latest trends, specific requirements and challenges in the sector.
Make your selection and build new connections
Globally Cool knows that the preparation for trade fairs can be overwhelming. Booth rentals, logistics, tickets, hotels, promotion, communication – the task list is long. Whether it is your first exhibition or tenth, follow our steps to discover the secret of success!
1. Research if the trade fair is beneficial for you.
Ask around in your network of colleagues, existing buyers and Business Support Organisations (BSOs) for relevant events. Check the online trade fair database, where you will be able to find all participating exhibitors and visitors before the event itself starts. From our experience, we can also recommend trade fair directories such as the Worldwide and German Exhibitions, the Spanish Trade Fair Association and the Network promoting French trade shows.
2. Start your preparation at least 9 months before the trade show.
Your preparation starts with the first steps of our plan – researching trade fairs and coming up with a budget. Do this 12 to 9 months before the exhibition. Then, you continue booking your space, planning your stand design, designing and printing your marketing materials and booking all travel arrangements (9-6 months prior). The next point on your agenda will be the confirmation dates and details with your suppliers, creating your company profile on the trade fair website, starting your promotion plan, and training your booth team (6-3 months prior). Finalising the technical issues such as shipping and audio rental, appointments, sending invitations to clients, and building up momentum via your website and social media channels should be finalized in the last months before the trade show starts (3-1 months).
3. Set your SMART goals.
What better way of starting the checklist, than with a SMART goal? Clarifying your ideas, focusing your efforts and using your time and recourses productively increase your chances of achieving the objectives. For trade fairs, you can concentrate on promoting your brand, finding new leads, checking the market trends and/or checking your competitors. Remember, using a SMART goal means it has to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
4. Consider your financial resources.
Exhibiting at trade fairs is not cheap but can be extremely beneficial to the success of your business. The budget is often underestimated, so before you book your trade show space, carefully plan your budget. Don’t forget to include the booth rental, stand design, construction, logistics, transportation, travel, accommodation, catering, promotion and other essentials for your exhibition.
5. Make a list of businesses or organisations you would like to meet.
Every trade fair offers a database with exhibitors and booth information, where you can identify your potential partners. We also recommend requesting meetings through this database, well before the trade show starts.
6. It’s show time!
The dedicated work is rewarded! Now it’s the moment to be open-minded, communicative, engaging and work towards your objectives. Enjoy your time and don’t forget to wear your comfortable shoes.
7. Evaluate the work.
It’s time to take a deep breath, this is the final step! Contact your leads no more than 1 week after the exhibition: thanking them for visiting your booth, summarising your conversation and addressing or answering the following questions or requests. Invite your potential partners for a meeting. Finally, by evaluating the results, you can check if you have met your SMART objectives and refer to your activities for the next year.
Trade fairs can be reasonably overwhelming from the preparation to the performance and follow-up. Globally Cool has a vast experience in training, coaching and assisting companies and BSOs to reach their objectives.
While you are on stage, we will support you backstage!
Contact us to know how we can help you strengthen your business network