If you try doing a Google search for “are trade shows dead?” you will find pages of articles discussing the relevance of a face-to-face event in a world where the internet provides all the information you would ever need to know about a product or service.
Contrary to the pundits, I still believe that Expos remain one of the best means of connecting with new and existing customers. It also provides the opportunity to talk to industry leaders and create evangelists for your brand. Where else can you experience so much new technology and quickly learn about industry trends?
I’ll be attending the upcoming annual Vermont Chamber of Commerce Business Expo on Thursday, May 25th at the Burlington Sheraton Conference Center. With 150 exhibitors and an average attendance of 2,000 this is a marquee event for the local business community.
This year’s exhibitors have been locked in for months but there are plenty of other business events to consider all during the year. Here are some of the benefits to consider when exhibiting at a business trade show:
Recruit job candidates. Expos offer a great opportunity to interact with potential job candidates in your industry. Your next star sales representative could even be the exhibitor next door.
Stay abreast of industry changes. Expos help bolster awareness of changes to industry regulations and compliance guidelines.
Enjoy personal meetings with prospects and customers. Business expos allow you to personally meet with multiple customers in the same location. You can pack a lot of personal contacts into a day and not waste time travelling.
Meet with prospective vendors and influencers. Chamber Expo exhibitors have access to a web-based matchmaking platform that makes it easy to schedule brief informational meetings with the vendors and consultants who may recommend you.
Keep an eye on your competition. You can stay up-to date with your competitors by checking out their latest activities and offerings. They often only bring their new options to feature at an expo.
What if you don’t want to display at the Expo? Should you visit anyway?
Yes, this is still a great opportunity to be part of the business community and network with other people. If you are in the market for any of the goods and services on display, make sure to go armed with a list of specific questions to ask. This can provide a quick litmus test of how competitors approach the same product or service.
How to get the most out of an Expo as an attendee:
Don’t walk down the center of the aisle. Exhibitors are there to inform you and aren’t looking to make an immediate sale. They have sent their best representatives to answer questions and demonstrate features. Even if you aren’t interested in every booth, eye contact and a “no thank you” will be much appreciated.
Put your hands on new products. Ask vendors what is new with their business in the past year. Industry leaders frequently unveil new products during business expos, providing you with a firsthand opportunity to try them.
Obtain insider information on future trends. Stay ahead of the game in your industry by getting the inside track on upcoming products and trends.
Attend educational training sessions from top industry professionals. Expos frequently offer valuable seminars about emerging topics that are facilitated by industry leaders.
Ask questions. Even if you have done thorough research online an interaction with an expert will be very helpful.
We always welcome the opportunity to learn more about tech headaches and company goals. Today’s research may lead to innovative new services that will increase productivity and security. So enjoy the Expo and stop by our booth–we’d love to meet you!