If you own a small business and you think it’s time start boosting your sales as well as your profit margins, then look no further than business exhibitions. In today’s competitive market, it’s vital that you make the effort to get your brand name out there. This guide will tell you exactly how business exhibitions can transform your small business and its future, helping you move towards those profits and sales you always dreamed about.
Of course before you read on it’s important you know there are a few setbacks to exhibitions, all of which are expenses based.
Image by US Mission Canada / Flickr
The first of these is the cost of entering your stand into the exhibition, which is generally a fair amount (however it should come within your marketing budget). Secondly, you may be charged for overheads such as electricity, Internet and phone lines, as well as expenses like shipping products and display material to the convention centre. Don’t let these costs intimidate you though, exhibitions are great for small businesses, and here’s why:
Sample and promote a new product/service
If you’re entering a new product or service onto the market, sampling is of a high priority. Finding out what people think about it, what’s good? What’s bad? How can it be improved? Whilst you are asking people to sample your products, you are also marketing your product and your business which is why it is so important to make a good first impression.
Discover new leads
Business is all about communication, and communication can come through many different mediums. With exhibitions you have the opportunity to communicate with many new potential customers/clients, and creating these contacts for your company is vital. This is true especially when searching for new customers, as well as to aid growth and expansion. It is also important to replace those customers that over time have drifted away from your business, helping you to keep a strong customer base.
Chase after your new leads
It’s all well and good talking to people and taking business cards at these exhibitions, but what’s more important is the following up process. In this sense, exhibitions will provide you with an assist towards your main goal of making long-term contacts. With these new relations you can build further links “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”. But you MUST follow up; don’t leave those business cards gathering dust. You need to know from these new leads which ones are likely to buy soon, and which ones may buy in the future. Qualify them, and follow up, tailoring your approach for each one accordingly.
Meet powerful people
Sometimes everyone needs a little dose of inspiration and incentive; try achieving this by talking to influential figures at exhibitions. This will help you to gain some perspective and insight towards your outlook – a few words of wisdom can go a long way. So push aside any feelings of nervousness, feel confident and put the success of your future first! Plus you never know when you might need some powerful contacts in your industry…
Receive media coverage
The media has become such a prolific part of today’s society that most media attention you can get is (normally) good marketing. With the current rise in just Social Media alone, you will find plenty of opportunities to receive media coverage for your small business at numerous commerce exhibitions. But remember, you need to contribute to this – use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on to publicise your presence at an exhibition. And have a press kit handy, in case you get a chance to speak to any journalists.
Practice makes perfect
As your company grows, you as a boss will need to do a fair bit of public speaking to important people such as investors or new clientele. Whilst you have the opportunity to do so, carry out some pitches at exhibitions to build your poise and self-belief in talking to powerful people. It’s a much smaller audience, but they’ve most likely come over to your stand because they’re interested in what you do, so it’s an excellent opportunity to practise. Another thing to remember is you may do some paid speaking in the near future, so get some free training in early whilst the chance is on the table!
About the Author: Astro Exhibitions are a firm of exhibition stand designers based just outside Manchester. They have built custom exhibition display stands for companies from all round the world for events across Europe.