How to Get Prepared for a Trade Show

How to Get Prepared for a Trade Show

The modern business environment is highly competitive. It is not enough for a trading company just to sell products. It should present the goods in the best possible ways and take part in different exhibitions and trade shows. Participation in a trade show requires some special preparations for the goods to look attractive to customers.

This essay describes the process of preparation for the trade show and strives to prove that a properly designed trade booth with high-quality table cloth and custom vinyl banners is a key to any company's success.

Researching Relevant Shows

As is stated in the introduction, trade shows are very important for a trading company, which wants to increase the level of sales. However, this fact does not mean that an enterprise or a firm can take part in any trade show. As it is stated in 7 steps to prepare (n.d.), the fact that watching sports and drinking beer are two interrelated processes does not mean that a company, which sells sports goods, should take part in a beer trade show. It is a duty of a marketing agent to follow the schedule of trade shows, which are organized on a certain topic. This schedule is available on the Internet in most cases (7 steps to prepare, n.d.). He or she should also objectively evaluate whether the company is prepared to demonstrate the benefits of its products to the public.

Analyzing Budget

It is clear that participation in any trade show costs money. “It’ll cost a minimum of $5,000 to put on an exhibit that attracts attention.” (7 steps to prepare, n.d., para. 4). This sum of money includes the payments, directed at the preparation for the show, designing an attractive booth, and choosing a place for a booth, which will be noticeable and will attract attendees’ attention. Gibson (2016) states that it is unreasonable for a company to try to save money on trade shows and offers to follow the principle of “monkey see, monkey do.” When during an exhibition people see that many attendees are gathered around some of the booths, they will definitely go and check its stand. It is important to prepare packed products, samples, and demo versions of some services or programs to warm people’s interest in the enterprise. It is worth paying the company’s employees to be present during the show, to be dressed like usual people, and to participate in a crowd scene.

Hiring a PR Company

A company, which plans to participate in a trade show, should objectively evaluate the professional level of its marketing agents. These workers may effectively perform their routine activities but may lack the creativity to develop a remarkable image of a company at a trade show. In such a case, it will be useful to hire a PR company. It is stated in 7 steps to prepare (n.d.). that some PR companies are real veterans of trade shows and are capable of properly organizing all stages of the process. PR company representatives will teach the employees of the participating enterprise how to behave during the exhibition. Gibson’s advice (2016) is to “give your guests a little bit of generosity and they might just give some back.” (para. 13). The author states that an exhibition booth should be treated by its representatives like a real home and in such a case the attendees will feel its warmth (Gibson, 2016). Therefore, PR managers can play an important role in providing successful participation of a company in a trade show.

Evaluating and Contacting Attendees

The process of evaluating and contacting attendees of a trade show is very important for any company, which is going to participate. These activities should be performed by marketing agents beforehand. The organizers of a trade show usually post the lists of the participants a couple of days before the show starts. If a marketing agent of a company cannot find this list, he or she can ask the show makers to individually send it (7 steps to prepare, n.d.). When a marketing agent receives the list, he or she can schedule some appointments with other participants at the booth of his or her company or just send them some greetings, informing them of participation.
A special focus on this issue should be placed on the best company clients. Gibson (2016) states that if the clients do not confirm their presence at the trade show, the company should buy tickets for them. These clients will feel that they are respected by the company and their presence is important and highly evaluated. Their appreciation may return in the form of investments (Gibson, 2016). New possible clients should be also warmly welcomed before the show and during it and should be presented with all the innovative products of the company.

Preparing a Trade Booth, Products, and Vinyl Banners

The stage of preparing a trade booth is the most important stage of getting ready to be a participant in a trade show. The first step to make in this aspect is to discuss a number of questions with a show promoter. A marketing agent of a company or a corresponding PR firm should ask him or her to demonstrate the exhibit layout and discuss the variants of the booth location and their prices. Secondly, it is important to ask a show promoter about how much a company can change the area around the booth (textiles, paintings, benches, and other issues) (Setting up a booth, n.d.). Moreover, it is important to ask the assigned specialist about how the company’s booth can be protected from the participants of the show, who may simply approach it and stand close to the samples or prospects of their products, distracting the attendees’ attention (Setting up a booth, n.d.). Therefore, all preliminary issues about locating a trade show booth should be coordinated.

The design of a trade show booth is essential to impress the attendees. It is important to discuss the choice of colors and the methods of presenting goods and services with the hired PR company or designers. An important element of a trade show booth is a tablecloth. As it is stated in Setting up a booth (n.d.), “When using tablecloths to cover your tables, use cloth ones, not plastic.” (para, 8). Plastic tablecloths look cheap and do not add the feeling of coziness. Tablecloths, curtains, napkins, and other accessories can be rented for s show or individually ordered if the company has this article in a budget.

Another important element of a trade show booth is custom vinyl banners. They are the first thing, which attendees see when they approach the booth. Banners should be made in the same colors and design as the general trade show booth presentation is prepared. Banners should be ordered beforehand. Many companies fabricate individualized vinyl indoor banners and it is easy to make an order. Gibson (2016) offers the readers to examine the example of a trade show booth of a dental clinic, the banners of which represent all the services offered by the company. Other enterprises may follow its example and order colorful custom vinyl banners. It is important to remember that banners, located on a trade show booth, are accompanied by business cards, brochures, and handouts, fabricated in the same style and located on the table.

Follow up Process

The fact that a trade show has finished does not mean that the work of the company, which prepared a trade booth for this show, is also stopped. At the end of the show, it is possible to organize some competitions or to give small gifts to the attendees. The representatives of the company should not be the first to dismantle the booth as the last customers may still approach them. The final impression, that the visitors have of a trade show booth, is not less important than the first.

To establish stable business contacts, it is necessary to follow up with the clients of the show. The representatives of a company usually have many business cards, which are left by all the attendees of the booth. There is no sense to wait before contacting the owners of the cards. Gibson (2016) recommends waiting not more than one day before sending some greetings and additional information to the email addresses indicated on the card. Moreover, it can be very useful to answer some questions, which were left unanswered and some propositions, which were made by the guests 7 steps to prepare. It will be useful to comment on them in some time to increase the attention of potential customers.

To conclude, it is worth noting that trade shows are important and festive events for both business owners and their clients. Different companies have a chance to present their goods and attract more customers. It is essential to properly prepare for a trade show and devote special attention to all preparatory procedures. A creative trade show booth is a clue to the successful representation of a company. This fact is the reason why an enterprise should hire some skillful specialists to organize everything, starting from the location of a booth and ending with the design of its tablecloths and custom vinyl banners.

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