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The five key reasons why trade fairs can benefit businesses:
1. To increase sales
This tends to be the most common goal: you attend to display products or details of your service in an attempt to boost sales. If this is your main motive the best way to determine the viability of the fair is to calculate a simple break-even point.
Doing something different
A business that had attended a trade fair for several years decided to pull out in the current year and do something different from all their competitors. They instead invited a number of clients, guests and prospective clients to a function held at a convention Centre. The clients were offered drinks and snacks and shown a brief presentation on the latest products which were then demonstrated. Everyone enjoyed themselves. The business had no other businesses competing for attention and had complete control of the proceedings. Best of all, the cost was only half that of attending the trade fair, and the proceedings were over in a couple of hours.
2. To gain brand awareness
In this case, the only reason you are attending is to promote your business name to your prospective customers. This is fine if it’s your main motive. New businesses may wish to try this tactic, or existing businesses trying to gain new customers or expose themselves to a new market. Again, consider what else you could do with the investment to gain the same amount of awareness.
3. To get contacts and names
Your prime aim in attending a fair may not be to make an immediate profit. Often getting names for further follow up is the best you can expect from trade fairs. If you do this properly, then a trade fair can offer you great value. If this is your main motive, then make sure you have some efficient means of collecting names, such as a list of all the people that have expressed interest in your stand. You should then contact these people within one week after the fair has finished, either by a telephone call (this is best) or a letter. You can also gather another list of names from people that may not stop to talk.
4. Researching the competition
Trade fairs and exhibitions are wonderful places to research the competition and pick up all their promotional material. If you’re not known to them, you can do some direct research by talking to them, or you can send along someone else to pick up the information. No doubt they’ll be doing the same to you!
5. Making new contacts
There is a fifth, more intangible but still important reason for attending trade fairs. Most business people who have exhibited at trade fairs will tell you that they offer good opportunities to extend your business contacts: both of potential customers or clients and suppliers. The networking at such meetings is hard to quantify in dollar terms, but can pay off in the future in all sorts of unexpected ways.