Trade shows are designed to let entrepreneurs meet many potential customers face-to-face in a brief period of time inexpensively.
"A trade show can significantly help your business," comments Barbara Kimmelman of Sellit Inc., marketing and trade show consulting firm in Santa Monica, California. "Qualified buyers in your category are congregated in that city for a few days. Not only can you make an impression, but you can captivate them."
Trade shows help level the playing field for smaller firms, since booth space is generally inexpensive, and even small companies can usually afford attractive displays. With creative marketing and booth design, small businesses can actually appear as substantial as much larger corporations.
The Trade Show Bureau reports that of the firms exhibiting at business-to-business
shows, 44% have fewer than 50 employees. Sophisticated exhibitors do
well at trade shows no matter what their size, while the naive and inexperienced
can waste thousands of dollars and countless hours - and possibly do
more harm than good. Using trade shows effectively takes only a little
effort and planning.
Because business-to-business shows typically do not allow selling on the show floor, generating sales leads is the most common reason exhibitors participate. Many companies use trade shows as a primary marketing vehicle for introducing new products and services. Another popular reason for exhibiting.
It is possible during the course of one trade show to personally meet most of your important clients and suppliers, making shows a good way to establish and reinforce relationships.
Common reasons for exhibiting include: