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Select Trade Shows for Success
By Mark S. A. Smith   Printer Friendly Version

The first step to show success is to only attend shows that attract people who will buy what you sell. Here are six strategies to select shows that will work for you.

Take a hard look at every show
Review the shows you go to every year. Are they still attracting enough of the right buyers? Shows can change over time, drawing buyers that aren't interested in what you sell. Don't be afraid to abandon a show you've traditionally attended.

Customers know best
Ask your customers, and people you want as customers, which shows they attend. The shows that work best are those that they attend when they want to make a purchase decision or want to see what's new.

Check associations
Many associations hold trade shows in conjunction with their conventions. To which associations to your customers and prospects belong? Consult an association directory -- check your local library -- to get information about their regional and national conventions.

Check show directories
There are a number of trade show directories available. Ask the reference librarian at your local library. Directories list shows by market and geography, useful when you want to reach a new market. When you find interesting shows, call for an exhibitor kit.

Ask friendly competition
Everyone has competition that calls on the same market, but doesn't compete head-to-head. Ask them which shows they like and which they avoid. But don't go to a show just because you competition goes. It may not be a good show for you or for them.

Think about a reverse show
At which trade shows do your customers exhibit? Consider attending to sell to their competition. A reverse show is where you target the exhibitors, not the visitors. Selling is different, with your staff working the show floor, inviting exhibitors to come to your booth when their shift is over and during slow periods.


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