Trade shows are powerful business development tools. Yet, some people are hesitant to attend or exhibit at them because of aversive misconceptions. Are you one of those people? You won’t be for long; after clearing up these common misconceptions, you’ll be at a trade show at no time. Let’s get started.
1. Waste of Time
Some opt to avoid trade shows because they believe that trade shows are an excuse for everyone in the industry to get together and party. In reality, having industry professionals get together has benefits beyond being entertaining. Networking is crucial for professional development. The connections built in a fun environment, like an expo, can still be powerful. Additionally, SAGE, a company of business advisors, pointed out that “54% of trade show attendees go because their competition is going.” This shows that the motivation to attend is business driven rather than only entertainment driven.
2. Anyone Can Staff the Booth
Many exhibitors believe that any staff member who volunteers can man the trade show booth. It’s important to have the booth representative be someone who is enthusiastic and engaging. Yet, even this is not enough. The best booth staff is personable and able to read people well. These staff members will be able to gauge what booth visitors want and sell products or services is a natural way. Those staffing the booth should also be well informed on the company’s goals and services. They must be able to answer any questions that visitors have.
3. Too Expensive
Some are scared away from exhibiting by the initial cost. Yet, the customer leads gained from the trade show might cover the cost of exhibiting. Aside from the immediate leads, companies might gain customers in the future as they are increasing brand exposure at the trade show. The monetary returns make exhibiting worthwhile. Just like with other forms of advertising that companies are willing to invest in, the benefits are likely to outweigh the costs.
4. Exhibit at One and Be Done
All trade shows are not the same. Different types of attendees will be present at each one. The key to success at a trade show is tailoring your exhibit to the audience. When exhibitors have the misconception that trade shows are the same, they stick to a narrow marketing strategy that they have used before, or they don’t attend at all. In doing so, they limit their opportunities to broaden their consumer base. Just because you’ve exhibited at one doesn’t mean you can’t grow your business by attending another.
5. Nobody Actually Wants to Buy
Aligned with the first misconception, companies sometimes think that attendees go to trade shows for entertainment. In fact, the Trade Show News Network points out that “92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products.” Additionally, “81% of trade show attendees have buying authority.” This means that the majority of attendees are willing and able to be customers. How creatively companies approach their potential clients will dictate whether attendees buy or not, then.