The Value of Attending Trade Shows to Find Wholesale Suppliers
by Claudia Bruemmer, Guest Blogger for Via Trading
If you are a wholesale buyer or a business owner, you can’t underestimate the importance of attending your industry’s trade shows. It’s where you can find out what new products are being introduced and learn all the latest industry trends. It’s also an opportunity to learn what products sell best and how to sell more product. Another advantage is meeting your suppliers and competitors in person and networking with people who can help you grow your business – not to mention the celebrities and parties. There’s no doubt about the value of attending trade shows, but how can you get the most from your attendance?
There’s a bit of preparation necessary for attending a trade show if you want to do it properly. Actually, it’s hard work. However, the benefits make it worth the effort. Start by ordering your business cards ahead of time and get lots of them. Prepare a little “elevator speech”— a quick summary of who you are and what your company does.
Ask yourself: whom do you want to see, and whom do you want to be seen by? Make a list of these people – two separate lists. Try to set up a meeting with them in advance, but don’t lock yourself into a rigid schedule; trade shows operate in an informal manner.
Always carry business cards and company literature with you when you are walking the aisles of the show. You never know who you might run into. Be prepared to work hard and wear comfortable shoes. Bring along all the necessary business tools: business cards, company literature and a camera.
Your most important asset when representing your company is your knowledge. One of the best ways to improve your worth is by increasing your knowledge. Trade shows are a display case of knowledge. Everywhere you look, you see opportunities to learn about the latest developments and meet the movers and shakers in the field. Trade shows are also a great place to showcase yourself and your company. There are three ways you can take advantage of the trade show opportunity:
1. Work the floors so you can see who and what is on exhibit. No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll come away from the show with a full understanding of who does what in manufacturing, marketing or service and what the latest trends and developments are.
2. Sign up for the seminars. Most trade shows also have a conferences that feature leading industry speakers. When preparing your agenda for the show, be sure to include one or more conference programs of interest. Introduce yourself to the speaker and ask him or her for a business card.
3. Networking. The knowledge you’ll gain from meeting colleagues and coworkers away from the office setting can be priceless. This allows you to catch up with who’s doing what, and it also gives you a chance to network in an informal environment. At national shows, you’ll meet the kind of people you might not have a chance to meet elsewhere.
Another great benefit of attending trade shows is the opportunity to improve visibility for yourself and your company. No one will ever know about your company unless you put it in the spotlight. Be prepared to impress. Practice your elevator speech before you attend the show so you can put your best foot forward.
Sign up for or collect as much information as you can. Later, you can sort it out and discard any unnecessary literature. Get copies of all trade publications and fill out subscription cards. Some companies don’t hand out literature, but instead ask for your card so they can send literature later by email or postal mail.
Don’t spend a lot of time engaging in long conversations. Introduce yourself with your elevator speech. Exchange business cards. Write some notes on the back of the cards you collect to remind you about the points of conversation and move on.
If you meet someone important or someone your boss wants you to connect with, use your camera to take a picture of the two of you together. Everyone loves to have his or her picture taken, and it could prove to be a door-opener in the future.
When attending the seminars, go to the room early and stay late. Make it a point to meet the presenter and engage them in a brief conversation. If you have a special interest, ask to follow up after the show.
Introduce yourself at the Show Management booth. Share your opinion of the show and its programs. Volunteer to be quoted, and have a photo taken of you working the show.
When you return to your office, write a summary of what you saw and learned. Distribute copies to those who could not attend the show and to your boss.
Last, but not least, have fun!
Upcoming Trade Shows
ASD/AMD – February 27-March 2, 2011 – Las Vegas, Nevada
National Hardware Show – March 10-12, 2011– Las Vegas, Nevada
Claudia Bruemmer Bio
Claudia Bruemmer was the first Managing Editor of ClickZ (1998-2001) and Editor of Search Engine Watch (2007-2008). Claudia’s articles are published on iMediaConnection, Search Engine Guide, BruceClay.com and TopTenWholesale.com. She authored a Fundamentals of Search Engine Marketing course for the Search Engine Marketing Organization (SEMPO) and edited SEMPO’s Advanced Search Engine Marketing courses. Claudia is currently Chief Editor of the TopTenWholesale Newsroom and also freelances in writing and editing online at www.claudiabruemmer.com.