Trade shows are, for almost any industry, one of the best ways to introduce your consumers to the product or products, or even services, that you have to offer to the industry. They’re a very common place for businesses to come to show products that they’re going to have to offer, especially if the product isn’t quite finished yet, but will be finished in the near future.
Now, just because you’re going to be seeing a lot of products, some finished, many at various stages along the curve of product development, this doesn’t mean that you should believe that everything you see, that each of the trade show displays you encounter are actually going to come to be a finished product in the future. The reality is that any time someone shows off something that isn’t in a completely finished state, there’s a chance that it could wind up being cancelled, no matter how far along it is.
Now, if you’re a business that has come to this trade show and rented your own trade show booth or even trade show booths for the multitude of products that you have to sell to the somewhat captive populace at the expo or trade show, how do you turn a product into a profit? Well, there are a few ways that you can do so.
To begin with, you need to have a product, and to have a product that can compete. To paraphrase a lot of people, you can polish a turd, but at the end of the day, it’s still just a polished turd that you’re trying to unload on people, and they probably aren’t going to be all that interested in what you have to offer them. In general, people know a quality product from a rip off, and they’re going to rail against the rip off any time.
Alright, so, now, you have a quality product (we’ll assume. I don’t really want to advise you if you don’t have a quality product, because that’s a very difficult thing to do), so what are you going to do to get attention to your product and your booth? You’re going to need to have some way of getting people to come and see your product or products, and some way to entice them. There are a couple of ways to do this
To begin with, you’re going to need to get them to actually come up and talk about what you have to offer them, and doing this means you need to have put some thought into the design of your trade show booth. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can just put up a picture that says something like ‘come here, do business with us’, that isn’t going to work. You need to advertise your booth tastefully, and make sure that it’s in keeping with the tenor of the event that you’re at. If you’re at a closed industry event that is centered around trying to sell things like medical supplies and equipment, you’re probably not going to want to be showing your product off with the use of lovely buxom booth babes (this isn’t to say that booth babes don’t have their uses and all that, but they’re not really appropriate in that sort of scenario. In general, the way tot ell if something is appropriate or not is to look around and see if, on day one of a conference or trade show or expo, you’re the only one doing it. If you are, you’ve probably stepped over a boundary). You need to not only be showing off what you have to offer, you also need to have something to offer the people at the show whether they buy or not. For a lot of booths, this is something like swag (no, not like the kids say it); swag is ‘stuff we all get’, also known as the free pens, shirts, sweaters, bags, etc. that you see given away at every conference ever. Once the people come for the free stuff, then you at least have an in with them, and if they take the swag, they’ve got a constant reminder of the show and the things you have to offer in their pocket.
Just remember, the point of a trade show isn’t just to attempt to make a sale then, but to garner interest in your product, your business, and what you’re going to be offering in the future. The best thing that you can do at a trade show is network, and to get name recognition with people in your industry.