An ever-expanding amount of commerce and business takes place remotely. More and more people and companies conduct their business online, from the convenience of their home or office. To some degree, this limits the value of face-to-face salesmanship that once dominated all aspects of business. Although more businesses than ever before derive a majority of their sales from online shoppers, traditional in-person sales are still relevant. The circumstances under which in-person sales are taking place, though, are changing.
For example, while an emerging business is more likely than ever to eschew traditional brick-and-mortar retail sales, trade shows and similar events are thriving. Perhaps this is because there is still a certain percentage of businesses and customers who feel the need to experience a product or service before purchasing it. Trade shows are also much more egalitarian than retail outlets; there are many less gatekeepers and barriers to entry that prevent someone with a good product from physically reaching out to their potential customers.
The Right Approach
Trade shows are further beneficial for businesses in that they provide a business with a pool of people who are predisposed to taking an interest in the product, as most trade shows are specific to a particular industry. In fact, trade shows are such an effective way of both selling and marketing that many normally aggressive small business owners and operators tend to rest on their laurels a bit in the presence of so much interest. To maximize the business growth potential of a trade show, businesses need to approach a trade show the same way they approach any potential business change or opportunity—with a focus on efficiency. Here are some ways to do so.
Planning ahead, with respect to a trade show, means planning ahead in multiple ways. In one sense, planning ahead means planning to maintain effective time management. At the beginning of a trade show, it can seem like there is an endless amount of time and opportunity to achieve sales and marketing outcomes, but that can be a mindset that leads to wasted effort. Perhaps the best way to manage time at a trade show is to first plan ahead with respect to the goals that one has. A business can come into a trade show with quantitative goals, such as number of sales or sales leads generated, or more qualitative goals, such as brand development or honing a presentation or pitch. Each business will have a unique set of desirable outcomes prior to a trade show, but as the adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.
How a business plans ahead is just as important as how much time it spends planning. As mentioned previously, a business should develop either quantitative goals, qualitative goals or a combination of the two. No matter the nature of a company’s goals, it is important to manage expectations prior to the start of a trade show. Many businesses set quantitative expectations too high, and become disappointed and lose energy when the sales goals are not met. In reality, certain businesses may be better advised to focus on more abstract goals such as networking, marketing and brand development that are harder to define but possibly more conducive to long-term, sustainable growth and success.
Having The Right Equipment
One reason trade shows have ironically maintained and even grown their popularity in the digital age is the increasing prevalence of technology at the events. In order to get the most out of a trade show, a business can invest in a tradeshow scanner that makes it easier to scan barcoded trade show badges and track the leads that are generated at the event. Not only does this aid in time management on the day of the show, it simplifies the crucial process of following up after the show concludes.