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Should You Only Attend Large Trade Shows?

By now, you’ve likely experienced the significant benefit of going to trade shows. You get to connect with attendees who may not have otherwise known about your company. You can meet with other business owners and figure out how you and other corporations can be mutually beneficial in terms of revenue and marketing. However, should you only attend trade shows where lots of businesses will be present? Is there a benefit to going to small trade shows as well? Here are some things to consider.




Of course, there are more chances for you to network with other company owners if you’re at a large trade show. However, the event can be a little overwhelming, since there are lots of people and you’ll want to appeal to attendees as well. If you’re only attending large trade shows, it’s important to have a game plan for how many people you plan to talk to each day and what you’ll say. Of course, you may also want to do some networking with attendees who could possibly help you get your marketing message to more people. Therefore, it’s best to come up with a “script” for them as well.


Trade Show Display


A large trade show usually also means you’ll need a larger trade show exhibit. If this has proven to be worthwhile in the past, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the budget for a display that has lots of colors and pertinent information to get the attention of attendees. Adding music to your trade show booth can also draw people to your table and make them more interested in what you’re offering. Of course, you’ll also need to make sure you have team members who aren’t afraid of large crowds to work at the trade show. Your employees will need to display the same amount of energy and friendliness to every person who comes to your exhibit, even though they’ll likely be meeting with hundreds of people throughout the duration of the trade show.


Company Goals


Think about the goals of your company when you’re coming up with trade show ideas for large shows as well. How many leads do you want to get per trade show? If you’re planning to sell products and services, a large trade show is likely the best choice. For smaller shows, people are more likely to “browse” and come to the event mainly to learn about various companies. At larger shows, attendees tend to be more prepared to buy from at least a few companies. When you’re clear on what you want to accomplish at the trade show, it will be easier to determine whether you should go to the next large event in your area.


After the Trade Show


When you return from the trade show, you’ll be able to better asses the tactics that worked, and which didn’t. Evaluating your performance after the show will let you know if you’re getting enough leads or are appealing to enough attendees with your promotional gifts, displays, and customer service.

Trade Show Customs from Around the World

If you’ve been attending trade shows in your city or region for a while and want to see if there are opportunities for trade shows in other parts of the world, it is important to learn the customs of these countries first, as opposed to simply having an elaborate trade show exhibit. Learning the etiquette that is required to make a good impression on international attendees and businesspeople can help to increase your sales and make your company more reputable.


Scheduling Meetings


If you want to attend a trade show in Israel or the surrounding countries and connect with professionals who you want to possibly partner with, remember that meetings should be scheduled between Sunday and Thursday. It’s not common to do business on Fridays or Saturdays since these two days are considered the weekend, as opposed to Saturday and Sunday in the United States. Also, Friday is seen as a preparation day for the Sabbath (Saturday) since Israel is primarily a Jewish country.


Professional Demeanor


Remember that your body language and displays of courtesy are very important when you are interacting with trade show professionals from other countries. For instance, if you are invited to a dinner or lunch meeting in Denmark, it’s considered rude if you don’t finish all the food on your plate. And, if you’re in Russia and someone approaches your trade show booth, smiling too much could come across as being insincere. In the United States, we’re encouraged to smile more to show attendees that we are warm and welcoming.


Business Attire


It’s very important that you know how to dress when you go to trade shows. If you’re setting up a trade show booth in Canada, make sure that you and your team are wearing business suits. This may be a little dressier than if you were having a marketing event in the United States. The same is true if you’re attending trade shows in Brazil. Remember to be cordial and well-versed on your products and services so that attendees will walk away with valuable information and a positive viewpoint of your business.


Giving Out Business Cards


There are a few things to remember when it comes to giving out your business cards as well. When you’re in Canada, the United States, and Brazil, it’s acceptable to hand out business cards with one hand. The same is true in countries, such as Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. However, if you’re in the Middle East, remember to give business cards with the right hand only in the United Arab Emirates, and to present cards carefully and, preferably, with both hands when in Israel.


Keeping these important tips in mind when you attend a trade show in another country can make a big difference in the way people see your company. This is also an effective way of exhibiting great customer service since people will know that you respect their customs, are open to learning new things, and are excited about having new experiences that will enhance your business.

How to Thank Trade Show Attendees

When you attend a trade show that goes well, it’s a great idea to send tokens of your appreciation to your attendees. You can also express your gratitude before people leave your trade show booth. Of course, this is an ideal way to display customer service and to make a great impression on people who will soon become paying customers. Here are some ideas for saying thanks that could make your company especially memorable. You can also make larger baskets that are designated for attendees who make large purchases or have visited your trade show booth at more than one event.

Gift Baskets

A gift basket is a thoughtful way to show attendees appreciation for taking time to learn about your company or patronize your business. You can have the baskets displayed at your trade show exhibit, so you can pass them out to attendees as they leave the table. If you’re planning on making several baskets, they don’t have to be too large but should include the items you’re well–known for. A small thank you card included in the basket adds a nice personal touch that will boost brand recognition and make the gift more memorable.


Once you get contact information from attendees, send a brief e-mail after the trade show to thank them for making a purchase or visiting your booth. Include your contact details so attendees can get in touch with you to ask further questions or buy a product or service. Be sure not to make the e-mail too “salesy,” and make it clear you appreciate the attendee taking the time to get to know a little more about your business.

Swag Bags

Swag bags in bright colors that feature your logo and contact information are also great thank you gifts for attendees. You can include samples of your products and even a few business cards or promo items from businesses you partner with to show attendees you believe in maintaining a sense of community. Remember to include practical items attendees can use regularly so they will be more likely to contact you when they need your services. Edible items that are best sellers at your business, as well as promo gifts, such as key chains and T-shirts, help to get your marketing message across without making attendees feel like they are obligated to purchase.

Discounts and Promotions

If you can offer free or reduced-price services or products to attendees, this will help you make a great impression and will show your gratitude for attendees who showed interest in your company. In your promo package, include a coupon with a discount code attendees can use online when they purchase from your website. It’s also a good idea to include a thank you card in the package along with a short summary of your business so attendees can get more information on your company that you may not have been able to relay at the trade show exhibit. An additional thank you e-mail once an attendee buys a service can also deepen the impression and increase the chances the attendee will become a long-term customer.

Avoid These Habits When Generating Leads

While you’re planning for your next trade show, you’ll need to come up with effective trade show ideas that will help you to generate leads. This helps to make trade show attendance worth your while since you’ll have contact information for people who are likely to become customers. Here are some habits you should avoid if you want to generate leads that will contribute to the future success of your company.

First, don’t start a conversation with an attendee without being clear who you’re speaking with. Ask the person for his or her name and the role he or she plays in his or her company, so you’ll know if you’re getting information for a lead or a business contact. If you’re talking to a customer, make sure you know whether the attendee is looking to make a purchase at the trade show, or wants to know more about your company before buying anything. This will keep you from sharing too much information at one time, just in case the attendee is from a competing company.

It’s also a good idea not to be careless about your body language when generating trade show leads. Your body language sends messages your words can’t. You want to make sure you’re welcoming and inviting at your trade show booth. Avoid crossing your arms or looking away when you’re talking to an attendee. If an attendee approaches you with a question or concern, don’t start moving toward the rest of your team members out of nervousness, since this could give the impression you’re not interested in engaging in conversation.

Make sure you don’t badmouth the competition when you’re at trade shows as well. This is unappealing to attendees and could make it appear your company’s team is immature or insecure about your products and services. Don’t talk about how inferior your competition is to make your business look good. Simply focus on your services and products and the benefits of them and choose team members who are thoroughly educated about your business to speak with attendees.

Giving away too many written marketing materials is another way to turn attendees of when you’re trying to attract leads. Don’t overwhelm your trade show table with pamphlets and white papers about your company. Choose a few marketing materials that will immediately get the attention of potential customers because of clever wording, detailed information, and colorful graphics. Give attendees just enough to make them want to learn more. Too many marketing materials can be expensive when you’re putting together a trade show budget, and people aren’t likely to keep all the materials after the trade show.

Finally, remember to use language attendees will understand. Don’t include too many technical terms in your explanation of services and products. This can come across as pretentious and may make attendees feel you’re hiding something and are using big words to sound more qualified than you are. While you may have to explain some terms, be sure to do this in a way that is both friendly and professional, so you can both get and maintain quality leads.

Does Your Trade Show Booth Need Music?

Which Team Members Should Attend Out-of-Town Trade Shows?

As your team gathers to put together trade show ideas that will make your next marketing event successful, you’ll likely be putting a plan together for trade show travel. You’ll need to know which hotels are best for accommodations, and how far those hotels are from the trade show site. You should also get information about additional networking or social events that will help you to make a great impression. Of course, you’ll also need to decide which team members will attend your out-of-town trade show. Here are some factors to consider that will help you narrow down your choices.


Think about the personalities of your team members before you decide who will be at your trade show booth. Employees who are naturally friendly and don’t mind talking to others are ideal choices for trade shows, especially if you’re going out of town and likely won’t be familiar with many of the businesses and individuals there. It’s also best to choose team members who are well-versed in certain areas of your company so they will feel especially comfortable talking to attendees about the benefits of your services and products.


The team members who will attend the trade show may depend on how far the trade show is from your home office. If you have employees who need to be close to home to care for small children or ailing family members, keep this in mind before you make your selection. If you took certain employees with you the last time you attended a trade show out of town, consider taking new employees this time. This is often a good idea if you have a small staff and everyone is equally familiar with your marketing message.


Think about how long you’ll be out of town when you’re organizing your trade show exhibit. If the trade show is a one-day event, you can bring your top team members, since they won’t have to miss too many days tending to customers in the main office. On the other hand, your best team members may be your top pick if the trade show will last a few days since you want to make a great impression at the event and ensure attendees are getting accurate information about your company. If you must stay a few nights in the city where the trade show will take place, you should also take team members who get along, since they will either must share hotel rooms or be lodging in close proximity to each other.


Finally, think about the experience each team member brings to the table. Employees who have been with your company for the longest amount of time will likely be more experienced and at ease when talking to attendees about the history of your business and your overall mission. Team members who are both accurate and articulate in the information they provide will give your company a great impression and this could lead to future long-term sales for your business.