8 Trade Show Tips for Business Owners | Fora Financial Blog
8 Trade Show Tips for Business Owners
June 10, 2019

8 Trade Show Tips for Business Owners

As a small business owner, you’re always looking for new ways to reach customers and build partnerships. Trade shows can be a great way to accomplish this!

In a single event, you can gain customers, meet new suppliers, network with other business leaders, and understand what your competitors are doing. These shows can be especially important for online business owners who don’t get to regularly interact with their customers.

In this post, we’ll explain eight tips you should try if you’re going to attend a trade show to promote your business!

Everything You Should Know About Attending Trade Shows for Business Owners

1. Understand Your Goals

Trade shows are a big commitment — both in time and financially. Before you decide to attend a show, you should outline your goals and objectives. What do you want to accomplish at this trade show? Do you want to sell a certain number of products, get new leads, build partnerships, or find new suppliers?

To get the most out of the event, write down your goals and ensure they’re measurable. Then, plan how to attack each one and strategize to ensure maximum success.

2. Start Preparing Early

It’s important to start preparing for the show early, especially if you’ll have a trade show booth or station at the show. Make sure you get your business card and other collateral materials prepared in advanced and gather any giveaways.

In addition, you should order pens or other small promotional items to handout to attendees. If you order them early, they’ll be cheaper because you’ll be able to avoid express shipping charges.

3. Develop Your Elevator Pitch

At trade show conferences, people are hopping from booth-to-booth and may only have a few seconds to chat with you about your business. Before you arrive at the event, develop a 30-second elevator pitch about your business and how your products or services can help potential customers.

If you only get a few seconds per customer, you need to make it count and knowing exactly what you’ll say ahead of time is the best to maximize your time.

4. Consider Sponsorship Opportunities

Depending on the size of the event, not everyone will be able to stop by your your booth because there are so many exhibitors. Sponsorship opportunities give you more exposure and could provide you with the chance to get in front of every attendee.

These opportunities could range from an ad in the conference brochure, to sponsoring a dinner, or being the title sponsor. Every business conference has a list of sponsorship options, so you can see what works for your budget.

5. Advertise on Social Media

Before you attend the trade show, advertise on your business’s social channels that you’ll be attending the event. Also, you could offer a discount or prize for your social media followers that visit your booth. This gives you a way to connect with your customers and potentially make extra sales.

6. Dress to Impress

Business advisor Carol Roth says that the way we dress impacts the way others perceive us. If you want to give a good first impression, you should look professional, clean, and tidy. Showing your customers that you care about your appearance will help them trust that they can be confident in your products and/or services.

7. Research Other Attendees

When attending or exhibiting at a trade show, there will be many other business owners and potential customers. Who knows who you’ll meet!

Before you attend, research the other attendees, make a list of who you want to network with, and try to contact them beforehand. Make sure to give them your contact information so that you can meet face-to-face at the networking event. By doing this, you may develop a partnership or find a new supplier. The possibilities are endless.

8. Follow-up After the Event

You’ll most likely get many leads from attending a trade show, so you should follow-up with them after the event. Be sure to collect their email address and/or phone number and send them a message within two days of the trade show. You should also follow-up with any other business owners you met who you could form partnerships with.

Conclusion: Choose the Right Event

Before committing to a trade show, make sure the attendees line up with your desired customer base. There are likely several options for trade shows you can attend, and you should only spend your time and money on events that can give you a good return on investment (ROI) and help expand your brand. Prime Concepts Group suggests reviewing the history of each show and so you can understand the audience before making a commitment.

Have you recently attended a trade show to promote your business? Post your tips in the comments section below.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].