How to use trade fairs to drive sales

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Karen Cutmore, Sales Manager at TFH Gazebos explains how SMEs should be using trade fairs to attract prospective clients and customers

Trade fairs are a great opportunity to gain exposure, network with other members of the industry, scope out the competition, and develop your customer base. To make the most out of your trade fair experience, here’s what you should be doing to maximise sales.
Increase visibility and brand awareness

Creating a presence for your business takes time and money, but it’s well worth the investment. Remember, a well put together display shows that you’re invested — plus, the banners, flags, and other promotional materials you choose to get printed can be reused at many different events.
People at trade fairs often don’t have the time to visit every stand, so it’s important to tempt them away from your competitors with an enticing display. It’s also crucial to make sure they can get enough information about your company at a glance and remember it, even if they’re just passing by.

Take the time to design your display before the trade fair to ensure it prominently features all your marketing messages. Focus on your logo and decorate your stand or pop up gazebo in complementary colours, then generate sales leads by making sure your email, telephone, and social media links can be clearly seen.

Perfect your engagement techniques

The path to perfect engagement begins before you even get to the trade fair. Show your excitement for the upcoming event and get your customers excited, too, by creating a social media buzz. Be sure to include plenty of behind the scenes posts and get your customers involved in the preparation by asking them what they think of your stand design and having them decide what freebies to give away.

It’s also a good idea to email the attendees that you’re most excited to meet ahead of time to introduce yourself and invite them to pop by during the fair. On the day, be memorable: as an SME, it’s better to concentrate on getting noticed first and refining your image later. Make eye contact, have your elevator pitch ready, and generate interest with fun giveaways, stunts, and plenty of humour.

Offer something your competitors can’t

Get a head start on your competition by researching who else is coming and what they’ll be bringing to the fair; you can use this information to make sure you stand out from the crowd or provide certain features and services that you know they’ll be lacking. If the trade fair is outdoors, having a roof and a heater can help bring customers into your gazebo.
The benefit of being an SME at a trade fair is that you’re something new and exciting. If you haven’t had the chance to make a name for yourselves yet, now’s your chance. The best stands are ones that showcase your company’s creativity and innovation, so think about what it is that makes you unique and how you’re going to get that across.

To summarise, think about what makes your business different from your competitors and use your display to articulate what you can bring to clients and customers. With these tips, you can increase engagement with your stand at trade fairs and drive sales.