Trade and consumer shows are an important source of new customers, especially in tough economic times. While attendance at shows is generally down, those who do attend are serious and ready to buy.
Trade shows and consumer shows require different approaches, promotions, and follow up. Here’s specific strategies to succeed at each type of show.
People attend trade shows to review the latest developments in their industry or association, make future buying decisions, and meet with other industry colleagues.
Buying or writing shows are a special type of trade show that purchasers attend to order inventory for their businesses, shops, and chain stores. These shows happen at regular times of the year tied to consumer buying patterns.
Exhibits are often large and complex, with companies spending lots of money to buy position and prestige in their industry.
The exhibit staff tend to be sales and upper level management. Many peer-to-peer meetings occur — CEO’s visit with CEOs arranging business deals. Visitors expect access to high-level decision makers and want to speak with people who can make commitments. While some sales are closed at the show, most of the closing is done after the show is over.
Consumer shows are a collection of temporary stores, like a bazaar. Vendors present their goods and services for sale, and are looking for consumers of what they sell. Examples include home decorating shows, sports shows, and Chamber of Commerce expos.
Exhibits at consumer shows are often no larger than a single booth, only going to larger sizes if there are many products to show, such as an appliance or furniture company.
At consumer shows, you’re probably talking to the buyer, or a person who has direct and powerful influence on the buyer. You only have to impress and persuade the person you’re speaking with to make the sale.
Visitors don’t need to speak with decision makers, and expect to speak with a sales person. At consumer shows, you should be selling and closing as much as possible.