Too expensive, old-fashioned, inefficient, and overtaken by virtual events. If you ask opponents about it, you will hear these arguments, but are they justified?
Of course, everything we do is subject to change and evolution. When there was no internet yet (yes, many of us experienced that time, it is not that long ago), we got our information from the Yellow Pages or advertisements from newspapers. Also, we advertised extensively through billboard media or television. And finally, we went to a trade fair to meet new and old customers and suppliers. It was the only place, where you could find and see the latest developments.
But with the evolution of internet things changed.
The internet has accelerated the evolution in how we live and act in numerous directions. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to keep up with what is being announced on social media. Companies who want to do product launches no longer have to wait for the trade fair, in 5 months. Once the marketing strategy has been determined, it will be put up on the internet in the next minute. But does this mean that the role of trade fairs has diminished?
That role has weakened in some areas. We have all been able to observe that. Yet there are still many trade fairs. And with that many have continued to embrace in person contact. How much better can you get that direct response from a potential customer than at a trade fair? You can track dozens of customers on the internet, but it does not mean that you will get a direct personal response.
And in fact; if anything has become clear from this period of Covid-19, with all its lockdowns, it is how much we actually appreciate personal contact. The loss of personal contact has lead to the fact that we no longer know what we are doing. Zooming, Teaming, Meeting, it’s all there, but we’re less enthusiastic and more exhausted from the digital communication we do.
In the many conversations that Expo colleagues had, it is actually the wish of our customers (the exhibitors), to come into contact with their customers “live” again. Virtual trade fairs are also not yet fully embraced by the public.
Participating in a fair contributes to achieving business objectives
However, you look at it, ultimately the aim of a trade fair is to achieve results in the short or long term. Socializing is fun, but your ROI is decisive. The metric for results can be a high turnover, new contacts, launching a product or recruiting sponsors for social causes.
You need a good proposition to achieve that. A clear message. Because why should a visitor have to choose for your company from all the other offerings? What makes you stand out from the comparable competition. Try to be unique in your message or trade show presentation.
A fair remains an ideal place to come into contact with new and existing customers. In addition to the healthy social tension that exists at exhibitions, the fair visitors are also highly motivated and in the right mood. For the visitor, it is often a pleasant day out as well instead of another day at the office. Gaining new knowledge and seeing new solutions also gives visitors impulses to further develop their own company.
A good conversation at the fair with a lead always provides opportunities.
Learn directly from your target group during the fair
So you will immediately receive a response from interested parties at a trade fair. Positive and negative. You must and can do something with both of them. You can find out what works and what doesn’t. And you can learn a lot about both products and marketing strategies in a short amount of time.
You quickly learn from your target group what is going on! Do you receive questions about your product / service that might give your ideas for further development? Your conversation partner can also bring up ideas that you had not thought of yet. By continuing to talk to that person, you create a bond and at the same time take advantage of their ideas.
You also see how your competitor presents itself to customers. Any company can build a beautiful website, but you will not find out how the company really works and what their deeper strategies are. At a fair you can meet your “opponents” live and see how they “sell” themselves to the target group.
At trade fairs you can find out your competitors’ objectives and what their latest developments are. Again, the old saying that sales often precede marketing still applies. When there is a development, it is often impossible to wait from a technical point of view to lift the tip of the veil. And the trade fair is a great platform for that. Use it to your advantage. Gain knowledge!
Increase your brand awareness by exhibiting at a fair
Switching is scary. People are not likely to do business with companies they do not know. For that you have to be visible. An older study has shown that a potential buyer must have had a contact moment at least 7 times, before he or she thinks about trusting the brand. The company name must first ‘land’ and confidence must grow. Exhibiting at a fair contributes to this, because exhibiting at a fair still gives a company a certain status. “You don’t just go to a fair.”
So you can safely say that visibility at a reputable trade show strengthens your reputation. And that in turn increases the confidence that people have in your company. Your organization is serious, reliable and shows leadership. You can strengthen this even further at a trade fair by sponsoring workshops and sessions.
Just like with an impressively built internet site, you can pretend to be bigger than you are at a trade fair. Of course, you do that to gain confidence. And make sure that it is correct at the back. Impress your visitors with an impressive build exhibition stand (or buy and build one yourself) and present yourself as a strong (new) party. It’s all about the first image. A good story and an impressive exhibition stand are absolute must-haves for a good result.
Increase your turnover with an exhibition participation
“I’ll think about it and will let you know, thank you for the presentation.” If you let your lead walk away like this, you will probably never see him or her again. An impulse purchase is based on feeling and a good salesman removes as many barriers as possible.
As already described, visitors to the fair are highly motivated. They came especially to the event and often are in a good and positive mood. Then use it. Try to sell directly when people are in the right mood. If the amount is too high or if visitors at the fair don’t have the power to make decisions, go for follow-up appointments for the period after the fair. Be on top of it. Sales is topsport.
Tip. The follow-up after the fair is extremely important. This must be done consistently. Unfortunately, it still does not happen consistently enough. And there there are so many opportunities to stay in touch with your lead. Do what you promised to do during the trade fair meeting. And in time! If you don’t do what your promised, you create unnecessary barriers for yourself. Also connect via social media. After the fair, contact them for an appointment. Don’t let your attention fade. You may miss a golden opportunity.
Exhibiting at a trade fair remains incredibly valuable
Selling from scratch is rare. You should be happy with the so-called lucky punch, but you cannot depend on it. You must first gain trust with people, who do not know you or your products and services. It has already been mentioned a few times above: at a trade fair you increase your visibility and authority, so that people seriously consider you and eventually decide to buy.
Visitors are enthusiastic and looking for solutions. Make a lasting impression! Proper implementation of the complete event strategy makes your exhibition participation extremely valuable. Which works to your long-term advantage.