skip to main content

My Top Tips: How to Survive a Trade Show

Mid Fab Exhibition Stand Post Exhibition Drink

13 Mar 2018

I must confess I have never been very keen on trade shows.  They always seem expensive and drag people away from the office for days on end, it all seems pretty counter-productive to me.  Indeed, when I speak to others, my impressions are invariably reinforced.  So, I was not enthusiastic when my marketing team suggested taking a stand at the Southern Manufacturing show at Farnborough in February.

To be fair, we have recently invested in some exhibition material, brochures etc.  Also, we have recently had some success from a website upgrade and our social media activity so I finally decided to give it a go. We agreed our budget, took a small stand at the show and spent some time designing the stand; arranging brochures and case studies; planning a scheme to ensure we captured all enquiries received and organising travel and accommodation.

The opening day dawned and the opening found us suited, booted and wondering what we had let ourselves in for. We need not have worried.  The event was busy and so were we.  Despite being located slightly non-centrally we were very busy.  During the show, we met more than sixty companies, new to us; we doubled the size of our marketing database and are now working our way through an enquiry flow we could only have dreamed of previously.

Icing on the cake, we have just received our first order from a company we met at the show.  Not a huge order but we can see others following and our sales funnel is pretty-full.  So, although we haven’t done the final analysis we certainly judge the exercise as a pleasing success.

So, we are pretty pleased with this, our first tradeshow. We have been reviewing the event and how we performed so we improve next time.  As a result, here are my top tips on how to survive a trade show and, more importantly, make it pay!

My Top Tips:  How to Survive a Trade Show

Plan the event.  Give yourself plenty of time.

Set clear objectives.  How many meetings; how many leads; etc.

Set a realistic budget including travel, accommodation, brochures etc.

Watch your branding.  Make sure it reflects everything you have on your stand including your people.

Have something eye-catching on your stand

Keep clear records and contact forms concerning who you met; their interests and how to follow up. 

Be sure to review the event and evaluate success against your objectives

« Back to Blog