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How To Sell At A Trade Show

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💡 In this guide, you will learn how to sell at a trade show. Ready to get started?

There are various advantages to participating in a trade show, from direct selling, interacting with current clients, to meeting new audiences. Still, depending on factors like the effort, time, planning, and finances used, some firms tend to benefit more than others. For adequate preparation and a greater return on investment, it may be best to find out how to sell at a trade show. Whether it’s the once-in-a-year event for you or the fifth in the year, the rules of the game don’t change.

Learn The Steps Of How To Sell At A Trade Show

Set goals

By that, we don’t mean estimates; you need to set clear and measurable objectives so that you can make yourself accountable when the convention doors are closed. For instance, do you wish to sell thirty of your latest products or thirty sales leads are a priority? Compute the expected return on investment too. As they say, you can’t find what you are not looking for, so aim first. Is it brand awareness? Is it gathering an adequate contact list or business cards? Only you can tell!

This way, you can easily establish your strategies and align them with the consumers’ wants. In pretty much every trade show, all attendees wish for various items, products that can enhance their lifestyles with new ideas and information, interesting products, and dislike a pushy seller!

Find the right show

You can participate in as many shows as possible, but you are better off without them if they are not right for you. Remember, it’s not the number of events that count but the one perfect event. You have to determine the businesses and people attending to make the best choice. Are they your target market? So, be sure to find out from your trade show promoter about the estimated number of attendees, their demographics, and their jobs. Because if you want more sales, you have to ascertain that buyers make up most of the population. Target major industry players and CEOs if you wish for valuable partners and investors. It doesn’t end there if you prefer buyers. What type of buyers are they? For instance, if it’s a home, lifestyle buyer, can they be a home décor purchaser or a personal accessories buyer, perhaps? Are they consumers, wholesalers, or retailers? If wholesalers, or retailers, what are their prices?

Trade Show in Florida

Book the right venue

Unfortunately, while you try to make everything right and perfect, those around you influence if you will sell more or not. What a cruel world! Your neighbor’s offerings will be used to judge you and your products. So, if they have unattractive stuff, yours may not cut it; they will be seen to have similar value. And if you are situated next to the industry leaders and known brands, you may even sell more than you expected. It is advisable to research who will be attending. Your promoter may be kind enough to give you more details about those who will be selling with you, and better yet, who will be next to you.

Utilize marketing and sales materials

First, you need to ascertain you do a pre-show promotion. It can be sending emails to your existing customers before the show, a week or few days to, and during the opening. Social media is everything these days, so take advantage of it and steal the show from your competition. Additionally, from flyers, brochures, media kits, spec sheets, media kits to anything you can contemplate, bring them all! Besides, do you want to know how to sell at a trade show? 

Catalogs and price lists are a helpful addition. For items like business cards, plan on bringing 50? Add 50 more! Although you and your team can handle the questions well, your materials can do the talking for you by answering queries like:

How much is the latest product? If the buyer is a wholesaler, what’s the minimum product number? Can you ship? What is the cost? What are the payment terms?

Don’t forget about the promotional items as well. These may include branded pens, tote bags, even candy could do the trick. You don’t have to overthink, but ensure you attract visitors to your booth.

Have a reasonable budget

If you are curious about how to exhibit at a trade show, the budget is undoubtedly a great place to start. More often than not, businesses surpass their budget, so it’s essential to set a reasonable one, but detailed enough to avoid last-minute expenses that could strike the tag even higher. Even when you are tempted to add one more tech or whatever, don’t give in!

Factor in the following in regards to the aspect:

  • The exhibition space
  • All the promotional items, including the rented ones, to the refreshments
  • Transportation cost of the display and other materials in general
  • Overtime expenses for the employees if the show extends to the weekend or beyond regular work hours.
  • Travel and accommodation expenses of you and your team

Invest in a good display

Hold on, before you can start contemplating how to sell at a trade show, you have to earn a good score with your display. First, you have to book the exhibition space in advance to get a good spot on the floor and know the exact size to help you design your booth. If you can get one near the entrance, you can ensure that you won’t have to meet the attendees once they have been through several sales pitches. Also, find out if your trade show promoter has any restrictions; for instance, some fairs don’t provide internet access, and if they do, you must part with some more money for access.

As you set up the booth, ensure that there are no structures like tables at the entrance; those should be placed at the back for a welcoming feel. The space should make a statement of ‘come in, sit down, and let’s chat.’ If you have been in these events as an attendee, you know that an opportunity to relax your feet and legs is highly welcome, so a lounge area is a great inclusion. A carpet for the floor speaks volumes too, and if you are worried about the shipping expenses, you can rent it near the convention center. Renting the carpet can be costly, but it incorporates a luxurious touch, and your staff and attendees will surely appreciate it.

Additionally, get creative with the lighting, video, banners, posters, and colorful signs to grab attention. While incorporating fun is essential, so is maintaining a professional image. That said, you should have adequate staff who can easily have a bathroom break without leaving customers unattended. Although the many the better, ensure you have at least two employees all the time in the booth. One can invite the attendees, and another explains the products and services. Get your approachable charm at the entrance and the knowledgeable one at the booth.

Remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune on technology, but you can bet on being unique at these trade shows. Especially if it’s a top-rated show, it’s easy to get lost in the big companies with all kinds of tech. Instead, find cost-effective solutions like going monochromatic, displaying your products on the walls of the booth, and you will draw them in. However, ensure you don’t overcrowd the items in the display, or it will disorient the entire objective.

Ensure your product is sellable.

An essential fact on how to exhibit at a trade show is establishing if your products add any value to the consumer. So, do your research into the current market trends. This way, you can ensure what you bring is worthy of purchase. Answer the following questions to be sure: Is your collection on top of design? Is it competitively priced? Does it meet functionality and high quality?

Proper pricing

It is a critical aspect of how to sell at a trade show. Your products may be good, I mean, really good, but how you price them is equally crucial at the end of the day. As many people do, you may price your products based on the effort and time put into them, and that’s only fair, right? For instance, if you are selling a coat, you will factor in the cost of the materials from the fabric to how complicated or easy it was to bring it together. Then, of course, add a little profit, and you have the price tag. Unfortunately, pricing shouldn’t focus on value alone.

To put it into perspective, when a renowned brand makes a product and sells it for millions, it sells, and an upcoming brand cannot even bet on half the price to sell as much. Let’s drill it down further; if you make women’s bags, you may use the same materials, the same time or even longer than GUCCI’s designer, but they will sell a thousand more pieces than you and even run out of stock at a high price. Using all the factors to get the ultimate cost may not do you good either. But that doesn’t mean you undersell your product; you have to meet your bills too. Just know how to price them appropriately. 

Then do in-depth research. What are your competitors offering for the same product? Then get your pricing strategy up. Which is better? Is it selling the same, less, or more for an added value? Well, the call is yours!

Engage your clients before the pitch

Have you ever sold at a trade show? We must say that seeing visitors flooding at your competitor’s and none to maybe one or two attendees at your booth is heartbreaking, not forgetting the no return of investment. Ensure you approach clients appropriately, say hi, ask about their day to get them interested in talking to you, and when the chance comes, drop that sales pitch you have been cramming for days. 

Even with the best products, don’t let visitors look at items in your booth without having someone attend to them. Interested buyers want someone to make them feel that they are making the right decision and are not about to throw away their hard-earned cash for nothing. Besides, as a salesperson, you should work hard to ensure your clients don’t have a reason not to buy your products. Ensure you tell them if they can send them as gifts; some may appreciate the possibility.

Always follow up!

The trade show may end after two or four days, but yours shouldn’t! Hold a post-show follow-up. This way, you can convert the contact details into long-term clients. One way of how to exhibit at a trade show effectively is by collecting contact details and information so you can meet up with clients afterward. Also, keep in mind that a successful trade show isn’t about sales; it’s also about sales leads and getting valuable partnerships.

These Are Helpful Tips On How To Sell At A Trade Show

Having given tips on how to sell at a trade show, let’s see you at the next one! Most importantly, prepare well for a higher return on investment, and if it’s your first trade show, don’t let that intimidate you! With that, success!

Learn more about trade show best practices:

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