Trade shows are a great way to find new products, cheaper products, and establish new business relationships with other business owners and suppliers. Almost any week of the year in any big city, you can find trade shows or trade fairs.
How do you choose which trade shows to attend if you are a buyer, and how do you save money doing it? Here are eight tips to help you choose trade shows and make the most out of the ones you do attend.
1. Leave Family at Home
One important tip is to leave your family at home. It can be tempting to take along family to trade shows and combine work with a little vacation. However, you will get the most out of a trade show if you focus completely on it and work to achieve the goals you set.
2. Choose the Right Trade Shows
As mentioned, trade shows happen almost every week in some city around the world. Gather information about the trade shows that pertain to your business or industry. Choose the ones that are economically feasible for you to attend and enjoy the most benefits. It may mean foregoing the trip to a Paris trade show in lieu of attending one in Toronto, Canada where most of your current suppliers will be attending.
3. Take Advantage of Free Samples
Trade shows are not complete without a plethora of free samples from suppliers. Take advantage of the free samples and offers to find the right products at the right price.
4. Go Directly To The Source
Trade shows and trade fairs are usually organized by industry leaders and professionals. Often you will find manufacturers attending trade shows. If you can establish a relationship directly with a manufacturer and eliminate the middle man, you can save money on the supplies or materials you need.
5. Plan Your Visits
Rather than wandering, look ahead at the exhibit list and choose only the ones which are of the most interest or pertinent to your business needs.
Buyers often find themselves dragging tens of pounds of brochures back to their hotel rooms each night. At the end of each day, organize the materials you picked up from the different trade booths. You may wish to utilize manila envelopes to categorize the most promising sources to the ones that are far-fetched. This will ensure that you can easily contact the manufacturers or sellers that are of the most interest to you when you return home.
6. Look for New Innovation
Frequently, you will find new products being introduced at trade shows. Be on the lookout for new innovations that you can use in your business and deliver to your own customers right away.
7. Meet Your Regular Suppliers
If you know that a regular supplier with whom you do business will be attending a trade show, make an attempt to meet and say hello. If you can let them know ahead of time, a supplier may often treat current buyers to a meal or even a banquet with other buyers where you can network. Don’t be afraid to take your suppliers out for a meal as a business-related expense as well. This can all go a long way in strengthening your relationships.
8. Learn To Say ‘No”
You will have an abundance of sales people at trade shows making a lot of pitches. Ultimately, you must be able to say ‘thank you but no thanks’ to most of them. Knowing your needs and meeting those needs is your goal. Avoid the temptation to overspend on products or services you do not need.