Own a Small Business? 4 Advantages of Exhibiting at a Trade Show

Every small business owner should invest time and energy in exhibiting at trade shows. The cost setting up a booth is minuscule compared to the payoff. Attending and participating in trade shows is an intimate and effective way to boost almost any business. The following are four advantages of exhibiting at trade shows.

Face-to-Face Interactions with Customers

Exhibiting at trade shows gives small business owners an excellent opportunity to interact with potential customers in person, building rapport and establishing a connection between the business and its customer base. People are far more likely to invest money in a business that they believe cares about them and their communication. Never underestimate the value and importance of connecting with customers in person. This will help customers feel as if they are an actual part of a small business’s operations. The goal of any small business owner should be to build a community around their business. This can be achieved by showing up and personally meeting the very people who comprise your collective of customers and target audience. But if you don’t have time to do this yourself, consider investing in promotional modeling, or assign one of your assistants or employees to be there.

Gauge Customers’ Needs and Interests

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, getting to know the people you are trying to sell products or services to will help you to better gauge their interests, desires, and individual needs. Your customers are far more likely to give you feedback in person rather than take the time to respond to survey questions. When you’re visiting with them, be sure to actively listen to their responses. Take note of the things they tell you, and implement their ideas where possible.

Effective Platform to Launch New Products and Services

Trade shows are perfect places to try out new products and services. As a small business owner, you will be able to see, in real time, all reactions to your new products and services when you test them out at a trade show, rather than jumping straight into marketing and selling them. This method of previewing what a business has to offer is time-tested and will allow you helpful analytic data before investing time and money into innovations that won’t work so well.

Networking

Trade shows are attended by people from all facets of business, marketing, and various other industries. Making friends at these events opens opportunities for your small business to reach more people than ever, and the friendships made at trade shows will, undoubtedly, supply you with fresh resources and means to market and sell your business more effectively and on a larger scale. No small business can succeed alone. It takes an entire team to reach any real level of success.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Making the Most Out of #Business #Networking Events

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The Internet has made it easier than ever to build up networks and connections with new people and audiences. But the truth is, it only gives you so much. The nature of the web platform makes it too easy to be fickle, and that means a lot of work involved just to keep attracting your core support. There is, however, a better way of building solid relationships that last – and that’s by getting out there and meeting people face to face.

Today, we’re going to discuss how you can make the most out of attending business networking events. If you want to create a solid foundation for your business, you have to get out there and meet people. I appreciate it can be tough – particularly if you are a quiet type who prefers dealing with people online. But the simple fact is that human interaction will create far stronger bonds than any blog post, social media update, or cute picture of a kitten.

With this in mind, here are some ideas on making the most out of your business networking. Take a look and see what you think.

Attend everything

The idea behind networking of any kind is to forge new or stronger relationships. So, if there are industry events – such as awards ceremonies or trade shows – attend them. You never know who you might meet. If you supplier invites you to a new product launch, go – even if you are unlikely to use the product. Every time you interact with another person, you have a chance of striking a deal or being introduced to an interested party.

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Hold your own events

Nothing is stopping you from staging an event yourself. It could be for a product launch, or you might decide that industry events in your location are underserved. Not only is it a great way to get a name for yourself, but it’s also a chance to meet other industry faces. And, as the organizer of the show, you will enjoy a lot of respect – assuming the event goes well, of course.

Always be ready to sell

Make sure you stock up on business cards, flyers with product information, and anything else you can lay your hands on. Networking events can be busy occasions, and no one will remember everyone they meet. Sticking a card in someone’s pocket might trigger their memory later on, and gives you a better chance of reconnecting. It’s also worth being ready to make a sale. Something like a PayPal credit card reader is easy to set up, and you take orders wherever you are. However, there is one thing to bear in mind. While you should always be ready to sell, networking isn’t only about selling. Get to know people, and build relationships. Sales will come if people are interested – but you will make a bad name for yourself if you are pushy.

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Seek out partnerships

Finally, use your networking events to find complementary businesses to your own. If you can create a relationship with another local business, you will be able to offer your customers a far stronger offer. If you are a web copywriter, for example, then finding a web developer to work with could provide great dividends.