Working trade shows (Part 3)

February 26, 2013


So you’re at the trade show. What you do now?

First, take care of your business, the reason you are there. You do not desert your booth or exhibit space to check on your competitors unless you have someone else, a qualified person, covering it.

Second, think out your approach. What is it you are trying to find out?

  • Is it the presence of new competitors? If so, carefully go over the show catalog and plan to work the aisles where new competitors might be housed, particularly if the show is organized by type of product or service.
  • If your concern is new potential competitors, you have to allow more time. Review the ads in the show catalog. Do any of these sound like they are attacking your niche? If so they deserve attention.
  • Are there key suppliers of yours at the show? If so, you should visit them to keep the lines of communication open. Also, that is a great time to find out from them if they have been contacted by any of your competitors. It does not help you gain new business if one of your key suppliers suddenly switches allegiance from you to a competitor.
  • If your concern is new products from existing competitors, then you’re going to have to focus your time on going to the exhibits of each of your existing competitors and making careful notes of what is going on. When you go there, if you can, take pictures. Do not be shy. You are not doing anything improper.
  • If you can, you, or another member of your team, should circulate through the venue at the very beginning, so that you can pick up copies of all merchandising, product, and capabilities materials at every key stand. Remember, the longer you wait the more likely it is that something that could be critically important to you will no longer be there.

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