What do leadership skills have to with trade shows?

Trade shows always seemed like a great potential venue for my marketing and promotion needs, but I had never quite gotten around to finally attending one.

I wanted to see just how much you could benefit from the experience, and if it made sense to continue investing time and money into it.

Finally, during the first couple of months of 2012, I exercised my leadership skills and made an executive decision.

I decided to try out trade shows to see if the whole costs associated with this marketing adventure really were worthwhile.

Trade Show Networking

Basically, as the leader of my company, I wanted to see if trade shows would help me increase our sales. I was also very curious about how the whole trade show thing worked.

Fast-forward to the end of the year. Having been going to trade shows for some time, I definitely learned a few leadership skills from the whole experience:

  • Always preregister and lock down all possible details to be sure of having a place at the show. It’s no fun traveling to attend an interesting new trade show only to have your booth in the wrong/bad location, not enough power for your displays, or other preventable issues.

 

  • Reserve all your travel and hotel details well in advance. Doing this saved me a lot of headaches in the days right before the shows themselves. Many times there are several events going on at the same time in the host city so hotels and flights sell out well in advance of the events.

 

  • Plan exactly what you want to accomplish well in advance. Gather as much information on each trade show as you can; examine who will also be attending, who is sponsoring the event, and what kind of business contacts you can make.

Using this advice, once I arrive at any trade show, I’d quickly get busy with the work of taking care of my defined goals: networking with the people I really needed to meet, looking for sales opportunities, and setting up meetings.

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After the important trade show business is taken care of, I relax, explore, meet people, and network like a pro.

A few tips learned from my own networking experience:

Leadership Skills and Business Cards

Don’t be shy about giving cards to anyone you chat with or do any sort of business with.

Most people interested in your products or services will happily accept them and your card is especially likely to be remembered if you also give a rehearsed 15 second elevator pitch that tells people why, what, and how you do what you do.

Network As Much as Possible

Attend as many of the seminars, conferences and other events that you can. Going to these events will give you more opportunities to meet people, get acquainted with them, and create connections based on real mutual rapport instead of just a quick pitch.

Final Practical Tip

I’d also recommend that anyone who decides to try their own trade show based promotion keep in mind the value of productively using their time.

Going to these events makes it easy visit and get lost in the whole atmosphere, but the purpose is to promote your products and services and get a reasonable return on your investment from being there.

Overall, my 2012 trade fair experience was great. Not only did I really build an incredible list of potential buyers, I made a lot of friends.

I managed to not only increase my sales, but actually expanded the scope of opportunities for new business ventures.

Have You Been to a Trade Show?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Adarsh Thampy
Adarsh is a career expert and blogs regularly at the Jombay career guidance blog- focusing on fresh graduates and experienced job seekers choose the right careers. You can follow him on Twitter @ConversionChamp.
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