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How to decide if your business is ready to exhibit at a trade fair

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Salena Knight
Written by Salena Knight

Trade shows are fantastic opportunities for wholesale distributors to gain exposure and showcase their products.

When done well, the benefits of having a stand at a trade fair can be business boosting.

And whilst it’s easy to think that handing a cheque to the show organisers will guarantee you results, the fact is, the organiser’s job is to bring in the crowds to the venue. From there, it’s all up to you.

If you’re wondering why you should exhibit at a trade show, the biggest advantage is access to thousands, or even tens of thousands, of customers in your niche. In addition, you’ll be gaining brand awareness, product awareness, build relationships and, of course, securing sales.

When you exhibit at a trade show, it:

  • Shows your customers that your brand has moved to the next level;
  • Gives remote customers the opportunity to meet you and build a relationship; and
  • Allows you the opportunity to observe and assess the competition in your industry niche

So, how do you decide if your business is ready to exhibit at a trade fair?

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Is it where your customers are hanging out?

It’s imperative that you research every trade show and make sure that the customers you want to target will be attending, they support you with connecting with those customers and assist you with maximising your opportunities not only at the show but also post show. If your competitors are exhibiting, there’s a good chance that it’s the right place to be, but remember to ask your own customers and see if it’s a show they regularly attend.

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Can you afford it?

No one’s ever going to tell you that exhibiting is cheap.  On top of the stand costs, you’ve got overheads such as staffing, printing, airfares, accommodation, logistics, and food, just to name a few. Make sure you have the money in your marketing budget to accommodate the true cost of exhibiting, not just the stand costs.

Check with the trade show organisers to see what other marketing initiatives you can leverage through them for some pre-show marketing and offset some of your exhibition costs.

lead capture

Do you have a strategy to capture leads and encourage orders at the show?

Taking orders (aka making money) at the show should be high on your priority list. By ensuring that you have a marketing strategy that encourages orders to be placed at the show, you’ll be able to easily quantify the initial ROI of the show.

follow up

How will you follow up after the show?

There is so much money to be made post-show. When looking to source wholesale products, many customers use a trade show to browse what’s currently available in the market. By having an active follow-up campaign in place, you can easily double (or triple) your show sales.

Make sure you’ve got the right systems in place and check with the trade show organiser to see what they do onsite to support you in this and offsetting some costs.

Exhibiting at a trade show is an investment, just like any other marketing activity your brand undertakes. When deciding whether exhibiting at a trade show is the right move for your business, make sure that you have a plan in place to secure orders at the fair and follow up leads post-show, to get the maximum return for your marketing dollar.

In conclusion, make sure you prepare the following:

  1. Find out where your customers are hanging out. Do they prefer online wholesale orders or joining trade fairs?
  2. Make sure you have enough money to begin with. Joining trade fairs is like investing. Get in touch with the sales team and enquire the best package for new beginners.
  3. Plan out your strategy. Before exhibiting at trade fairs, make sure you are equipped with your excel sheet or pen and paper as days gets busy during the fair. (Look: Free LeadScan App)
  4. Lastly, make sure to continuously engage with your new leads. Set your diary to have a monthly newsletter/updates to them with your new product range or exclusive offers.

Have you got questions about exhibiting? Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Contact Leah Ramage at leah.ramage@reedexhibitions.com.au

About the author
Salena Knight
Salena Knight