Imagine me standing in front of you right now as I explain the seven undeniable benefits of exhibiting. We’d probably have a much stronger connection than what’s happening right now. By reading this online, you probably won’t remember my name—It’s Cameron, nice to meet you—and you certainly won’t recognize my face.
Don’t get me wrong, reading a blog is fine and good, but if we were having a real conversation, it’s much more likely that these points will be remembered. Plus, we will have noticed some interesting things about one another that could be important down the road.
But you may be thinking that’s nice, but the price tag of exhibiting at trade shows is still high. What’s the actual value of my company’s participation?
Well, here you go.
#1 There is no better opportunity for sales and lead generation
Everything you do, all of your marketing efforts – the ads, email campaigns, direct mailers, etc. – and the budget allocated toward those efforts are for one purpose: to get the chance at a face-to-face meeting with a prospective client.
Trade shows are in-person, face-to-face meetings. The show floor is electric with activity, filled with prospective buyers searching for the solution to their specific needs. In a business landscape where, for the past two years, face-to-face communication meant a Zoom meeting, trade shows provide a valuable opportunity for direct connections with customers and prospects.
Naysayers may counter that many attendees are just window shoppers there to kick the tires. However, trade show attendees paid to attend either on the company’s dime or their own. Most likely, a trade show attendee is there with an agenda.
Research from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) found that most trade show attendees – 81% – have buying authority. Granted, this is a pre-pandemic study, but there are signs the percentage may be even higher after the COVID-19 lockdowns. Reports from trade shows throughout 2021 indicate that attendees hit the shows ready to make deals.
Purchasing decisions occur on trade show floors. If your company is not there, you missed an opportunity.
#2 Lead conversion is cost-effective
According to the CEIR report, “The Cost-Effectiveness of Exhibition Participation: Part I and Part II,” the average cost of an initial in-person meeting at a trade show is $96. However, the cost to schedule an initial off-site appointment with a prospect is $1,039. That amount includes $443 to first identify the candidate and $596 for the field sales call.
An in-person meeting at a trade show saves your company an average of $943 per prospect.
The CEIR research also found that closing a trade show lead is, on average, $2,188. That cost includes the initial $96 and $2,092, which is the average cost of 3.5 sales calls. The calculation uses 3.5 because the report found that 54% of sales initiated from a live event require three or fewer sales calls to close.
However, without an initial meeting at a trade show, it costs $3,102 to close a sale. That figure includes the initial $1,039 and the average cost of 4.5 sales calls, which is $2,659. The report found that 61% of sales from sources other than a live event require more than three sales calls to close.
On average, closing leads discovered at trade shows will save your company $914 per sale.
#3 Build your brand
Trade shows and conferences put your brand in front of an engaged audience that is ready to discover and learn and has invested time, money, and effort to get to that trade show. According to CEIR research, 78% of trade show attendees travel more than 400 miles to attend a brand experience.
Combine that with the fact that 45% of attendees visit only one trade show per year, and every trade fair your company visits places you in front of a national audience where nearly one in two prospects is a unique visitor.
#4 Launch new products & services
According to Inc., an overwhelming majority of trade show attendees – 92% – attend live events to see new products. Not only is this currently the number one reason that people attend trade shows, but it has been the number one reason for a quarter of a century.
However, most product launches take place outside of expos. This means, by launching a product at the show, you will not compete with a series of other announcements for attention.
#5 Build industry relationships
At trade shows, a substantial number of companies related to your industry are brought together in the same building. It is an excellent time to network and create connections. You may even find new opportunities to improve your workflow.
Even companies that are in direct competition need to establish connections. You never know when a paradigm shift may occur that could turn a friendly rivalry into a mutually beneficial relationship.
Set aside some time to peruse the show floor and meet the neighbors. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about businesses across your industry.
#6 Strengthen relationships with current clients
You tend to bump into existing clients at trade shows (especially when you let them know you’re attending and the location of your trade show booth). Trade fairs are an ideal opportunity for you to gather current clients together and strengthen your existing relationships. Some possibilities include hosting a mixer at your exhibit, an after-hours happy hour, or an off-site dinner.
Don’t let your competition be the only presence they see.
#7 Receive customer feedback in person
Your customers want to be heard and appreciate the freedom to speak. Trade shows are the perfect opportunity to ask for and receive honest feedback about your company and how customers interact with your products and services.
You will gather invaluable, real-time insight into the customer journey and how your company can improve products, outreach, and marketing efforts.
Want to learn about specific strategies for improving ROI on your trade show marketing program? Start with this video on Selective Attraction or contact an expert below.
The Trade Group is a full-service trade show and event marketing company. We will work with you to create an exhibit or an event that brings in leads and helps you achieve your business goals. Contact us here or give us a call at 972-734-8585.