Wholesalers: How to Prepare for a Trade Show
January 10, 2019
Ever wonder what a trade show could do for your wholesale business? You should! 2019 offers many opportunities to grow your business and to invest in the community.
It’s not a just a snooze fest to camp out at. Every moment is an opportunity to network and set up conversations with potential supply chain links and business partners. First impressions count, for better or for worse.
Every moment is an opportunity to network and set up conversations with potential supply chain links and business partners. First impressions count, for better or for worse.
Before commiting, you should determine your goal and ideal outcome. Whether it’s exposure, brand recognition, answers to pressing questions, lead generation, partnerships, or simply emercement within the industry. Whichever it is, you need to be very specific, or else risk being overwhelmed.
Ask yourself what you hope to gain from the experience, who you need to seek out, and what connections your company can benefit from.
Research the Trade Show
If possible, you should experience the trade show before making any commitments. Many wholesalers and manufacturers suggest doing a walk-through prior to registration; however, because of the planning involved, your registration will be put off until the following year.
It’s worth it. Trust me. A solid understanding of your audience and neighbors can help you figure out how much to prepare.
Many wholesalers and manufacturers suggest doing a walk-through prior to registration; however, because of the planning involved, your registration will be put off until the following year.
If available, print out a map and any other resources from the trade show’s website that will help give you an idea of other businesses that will be attending. You don’t need to love thy neighbor exactly. But you should at least know them.
In terms of dress, you should wear what you’d wear to work normally. It depends on the trade and who you expect to relate to. But remember, you are a presenter and a representative of your business.
Marketing might not be every manufacturer or wholesaler’s forte. But you’ll need some great methods to promote familiarity.
Let your audience know you’re coming and how to find you. Contact your clients and potential clients to draw them into the event.
Promote your attendance on social media as much as possible. Paving your trade show attendance will help with brand recognition, interest, and a willingness for attendees to learn more about you.
Spread the word. Don’t be a stranger.
Get Informed, be Informative
Once you’ve decided on a trade show, you’ll need to budget. Unless you’re a fan of tossing stacks of cash into the wind, you should start laying out your expenses and preparing accordingly. If this is your first trade show, it’s best to make a checklist of what to cover. On top of your other responsibilities, you’ll have a lot to do in a small amount of time.
Prioritize your finances in terms of demand. First up are registration, travel, and hotel fees. Hotels and flights fill up fast so make sure you’re covered. Of course, booth fees fluctuate according to size and location. You should book as early as possible to secure a smart and effective location.
When it comes to choosing staff, you’ll need your most informative and outgoing team members to help sell your brand, both drawing attendees in, answering questions, and hooking them up with contact information.
Consider additional materials and resources you’ll need in your budget. The small stuff stacks up, from photocopies to taxi fares.
Aside from the obvious banners, signs, business cards, name tags, and laptops, there are a million little details you could overlook. Bring paper, pens, folders, paper clips, and the most essential, promo items (i.e. goodie bags).
And then there’s staffing. Whether you’re hiring outside staff or bringing experienced members of your team, you’re handing out some hefty training hours and additional flight and hotel costs.
When it comes to choosing staff, you’ll need your most informative and outgoing team members to help sell your brand, both drawing attendees in, answering questions, and hooking them up with contact information. How’s your HR and sales team looking? Who’s able to travel for a couple days?
Eye Candy: Displays & Technology
Ensure your display is eye catching and not in a bad way. You should plan out what you’ll need for your booth well in advance. That includes the size, decorations, information pamphlets, additional lighting and building materials, furniture, product displays, outfits, and roles.
Smart attendees won’t stop for their first walk-through. They’ll take notes in passing about booth of interest and return later on. So if your business is relevant to them, you’ll have to stand out from the competition (and the rest of the crowd). That’s hoping you’re on the main route, or close to it.
If you’re traveling to the show, you won’t want to lug excess materials for your booth. It’s not hard to keep it simple, comfortable, and appealing.
Get to the point with your displays. After all, your potential investors, buyers, and sellers are all arriving with similar goals; they know what they want and are hunting for it. Get your essential information out there, and follow up with further online information. Your online presence must, therefore, be up-to-date and accessible.
Technology can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If your main resource relies on a faulty HDMI cable, you’ll be kicking yourself. Bring a backup plan. Know your technology and practice your setup and tear down routine.
Consider including a presentation either projected on one or across several screens. People’s eyes tend to follow moving objects. Ever been in a bar with a friend with a TV behind you? Impossible.
You need visuals. Based on the various ways people learn and focus, you’ll need a variety of attention grabbers.
Instead of lugging around hefty signs and their platforms, you could incorporate an interactive mobile app or QR code linked to your webpage. Think on the side of convenience.
That said, technology can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If your main resource relies on a faulty HDMI cable, you’ll be kicking yourself. Bring a backup plan. Know your technology and practice your setup and tear down routine.
In the trade show’s mad rush of business traffic, you’ll have limited time to talk with potential buyers and sellers to expand your supply chain. You’ll have to exchange information so have it on hand. Schedule meetings with potential buyers and sellers to get to know them better, but give them as many opportunities to get to know your business as possible.
Expect a rush. But remember, it doesn’t end there. When the show ends and you’ve returned home, consider the connections you’ll need to keep, order forms, invoices, and payments.
There are many resources to help you stay in touch. That’s up to you. But when it comes to tying it all together, Veem can help.