If you delegate the task of attending a trade exhibition or a networking session to someone else and you no longer go yourself then congratulations, you’ve reached a growth milestone in your business and you perhaps deserve a little celebration. However, the fact that you’ve identified the need which remains to send someone to represent the company at the latest trade exhibition you’ve perhaps received your annual invite to demonstrates that you’re on the right track as far as taking your business further and sustaining your growth trajectory. Although, you do need to set out a framework which ensures whomever you send achieves the identified objectives of having the company represented.
You really just want to land clients, don’t you? Brand recognition and awareness come as a standard part of the exercise – those are standard outcomes expected. In fact, most of the brands you’ll probably be exhibiting alongside are only really in it for the brand awareness, so if you’re going to be networking then don’t waste too much time interacting with these.
The brands you should be looking to establish communication lines with are those which are in business areas that don’t really focus too much on the branding. Therein lies your opportunity to land new clients, both directly and indirectly.
Landing clients indirectly
Consider an exhibiting company such as a braid manufacturer, all kitted out with their branded exhibition material at the trade fair. Do you reckon these guys are there to land clients who are going to buy their cords, ropes and braids or do you think they’re rather there to perhaps talk to some retailers they can supply their products to? It’s probably the latter, or they may even just be looking to formulate business relationships with any other business whose operations are located further down the supply chain, not necessarily with the retailer servicing the end-market.
This is how you land clients indirectly – you liaise with other exhibitors whose offering is aimed more at someone who sees that offering as a set of “raw materials” which have the potential to go into many subsequent end-products.
Landing clients directly
I’m pretty sure I don’t have to go into any detail about landing clients directly at a trade exhibition, as that is probably one of the primary reasons why any company or business would choose to take up the offer to exhibit afforded to them. It’s business as usual as far as that goes.
Since everybody is probably vying for the same attention as you’d be looking to get however, you need to find a way to stand out if you’re going to land clients directly at a trade exhibition. Again, we look towards a well known braid supplier for some inspiration as they approach this task in the best way possible if one is indeed looking to land direct clients. What they do is present finished solutions to anyone who happens to catch sight of their exhibition setup and even invite prospects to effectively try out the solution.
You basically need to have prospects either being able to walk away with a complete solution they might have bought on the spot or they must be able to interactively imagine what it is they can do with whatever it is you’re offering.