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      April 2015

      Small Business and the Importance of Trade Shows

      Trade ShowsIf you’re the owner of a small business, you might’ve heard about something called a trade show. These are shows that essentially allow you to get your business out there and introduce who you are, what you do and what you’re all about to people in attendance. They are great ways to self-advertise your company, however, before jumping right into one it is recommended that you first understand how one works.

       

      Go to a trade show and walk the floor in order to grasp and understand how trade shows operate. Things you’ll want to pay close attention to are how the most popular booths do so well, and is there anything that you would be able to do yourself to emulate that. Making appointments to speak with specific vendors might also be a way to benefit your future showings as well. Most importantly, attending these shows first will give you the opportunity to scout out and keep an eye on your competition.

       

      Not only will this be a learning experience for you, but it will also allow the opportunity to network with other exhibitors and potential customers. Once you make the decision to exhibit your own business, getting all of your goals and strategies in place would be a great next step. Put together needs like staff that will help run the booth, the hours and breaks the staff will receive, materials you will use to promote your business like brochures and business cards, and finally the hiring and transportation of your booth.

       

      Doing a little research and putting in some effort will go miles in terms of promoting your business. The only thing left to put into motion is where you will promote and a trade show is the perfect place.

      Trade Shows: Tips for Getting the Conversation Started

      conversations trade shows

      You’ve set up your trade show booth using your portable trade show display system, but that’s only half the battle. What to do next?

      Once people start to walk around, you need to have a game plan in place in order to get their attention and engage them in conversation. This tends to be one of the greatest challenges of trade shows; getting people interested in what you have to offer. You can make your opener weird, creative, flattering, startling, or even a mix of these.

      One approach is to be completely upfront with the crowd. You could say something like “Just give me a minute of your time, and I can show you how ____ can ____.” This tells them that if they aren’t interested, all they lose is a minute of their time so really, what do they have to lose?

      You can try to establish some common ground by asking questions like “What do you think of the show so far?” Or “What’s your favorite booth so far?” Not only will this seem less sales-y than some other approaches, but you can even get some feedback on what other booths do correctly.

      Another approach is to be indirect with the person. “Can I ask for your opinion on this?” or “What do you think about ____?” are good ones to use.

      Consider a more hands-on approach. Ask a passerby if they would help demonstrate your product. Not only will that person get the full demo, others will see someone using it and become more interested in the product.

      Let’s face it, people love prizes and giveaways. Reel them in with a question like “Have you entered our contest/raffle for a free ____?”

      Comment on their behavior. “I see you’re checking out our products, are there any questions I can answer for you?” Always remember to be helpful and patient with customers. Some will be familiar with your product and some will have no idea what it is!

      Lastly, another approach is to keep it open-ended. “Are you familiar with ____?” or “Have you used ____ before?” or “What’s your favorite part of ____?” are some ways to keep it open.

      Starting conversations don’t have to be difficult. You may find a handful of approaches work best for you, so stick with those. Try out a couple and see what kind of reactions you get.
       
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