Marketing Mondays: When and Why Consultants Should Attend Trade Shows

Should consultants attend trade shows? That’s the question.

The answer is, it depends.

If you specialize in an area of consulting, attending trade shows for your industry can be a great source of new consulting leads. If you’re a ‘general’ jack of all trades consultant, attending a trade show could very well be a waste of your time and money. Here’s why…

A consultant that specializes in product development, branding or marketing for the electronics industry has several electronics trade shows to choose from.

Walking around and trying to meet people can work. Ideally, if you can afford a few hundred to a few thousand dollars (depends on the show) you can get a small space to setup a display.

If you’re specializing and focused, you can walk into a trade show one day and walk out later the same day with hundreds of leads!

Create a simple sign with a stand out headline that gets people’s attention. Think about it…if you’re targeting electronics companies, setting up a booth at an electronics show where hundreds or even thousands of people will walk right by your booth (and hopefully stop to talk with you) can be a great lead generator.

The more creative you get with your booth and concept the better.

Can you have a demonstration?

Maybe offer a prize draw?

Print t-shirts with your logo and tagline and hand them out.

There are countless ways to get people to stop at your booth. And that’s when you can connect with your target market.

Ideal clients. All in one place. All at one time.

If you’re specializing and focused, you can walk into a trade show one day and walk out later the same day with hundreds of leads!

It pays to specialize.

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  • Celia

    Really liked this article – reinforces how each market is different and that a good marketer doesn’t try to make all approaches to your market the same.

    • http://www.consulting-business.com Michael Zipursky

      Celia – thanks for the comment. Yes, specialization is key to many aspects of marketing and very much so when attending trade shows.

  • Mark Sener

    Wow – could this info be more basic and generic??

    • http://www.consulting-business.com Michael Zipursky

      Mark – thanks for the comment. It probably could. And it could definitely be more detailed as well. I’d be happy to write a more detailed post on trade shows. Let me know what would be of interest to you? Sometimes the simple ideas are the ones that many of us miss. The goal with this post was to help my readers give thought to when and if they should attend trade shows. From the replies in emails to the newsletter which included this post as well as Celia’s comment I think it’s achieved that…but I always welcome feedback on how my posts can be improved.

  • Wayne

    I would like to learn more as well. Have considered doing this but have no real plan on how to meet folks and pass out lit. as an attendee. The show I priced to be an exibitor was priced at $3800 just for the space, then there would still be hotel, food, travel, not to mention the handouts……I would like to hear from someone who does this and the steps they use to make it work.

    • http://www.consulting-business.com Michael Zipursky

      Wayne – great feedback and ideas. Looks like I’ll be putting another post together for you all soon :)

  • Rod Richards

    greetings Michael – yes a timely review for the value of trade shows. Another fundemental and often mistake is the expectation that trade exibitions are another selling opportunity- they usually are not. We engage 40 small business operators a month and many have great expectation and return from a business expo or trade show investment. Treat the exposure as an information giving exercise, being able to move a potential client one or two steps further along along the usual 5-6 steps buying process. Be sure your information is fresh and relevant and your website has reference to the show special offer – this will have your prospect at the end of the buying funnel -ready to phone for a price or better still engage your services. Be sure you put pen to paper and budget all the time and all the costs of attendance so your business makes “good marketing exercise decisions”

    • http://www.consulting-business.com Michael Zipursky

      Rod – these are great points. Especially important is your point on not selling at trade shows. The focus should be on relationship building, understanding the true needs of the market and prospects.

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