By Jody Long One word comes to mind when the words “Trade Shows” comes up: Opportunity. If this isn't the first word that comes to mind when you think of your company attending trade shows, take another look. Why you should attend as an exhibitor: · Because everything is starting to go digital, and there is still something to be said for in-person meetings, and shaking the hand of a potential client. Wouldn't you be more likely to do business with someone you've met in person, rather than over email, social media, or phone call? · Because people like to feel, hear, touch, and try out your product. What better way to do that than to give them a demonstration at your trade show booth. · Because there is an unlimited potential to the amount of trade show attendees. You're placed in a room with tons of potential clients. You've heard of the phrase "like shooting fish in a barrel", right? The opportunities for networking at trade shows are beyond what you can imagine! Trade shows are where real relationships happen, and start to grow. It's also where current relationships are maintained. · By attending, you're showing that you're committed to your customers and the industry. · Simply put, if you don't attend...your competitors will soak up all of your potential business. · You'll learn what's coming next in your industry, and what's hot, if you don't already know. You'll meet the experts, see the products, and educate yourself and your employees. Planning for the trade shows: Make sure you're choosing the right shows to attend. Keep the following tips in mind when planning, and budgeting for, upcoming trade shows for your company to attend. · Attendance: This is the most important thing to consider, especially if you're on a budget and strategically planning your shows for the year. Contact the person coordinating the trade show, and see how many attendees were present last year. They will most likely have it broken down for you by day, attendee certification or designation, and more. Also try to track down if this year looks like it will be well attended, too. · Location: Is the trade show being held in a city that you're looking to attract new clients, or are you saturated in that market already? · Competitors: Will they be there? This is often a huge factor for some companies; you don't want to neglect a show only to find out your largest competitor not only attended but made their presence known by sponsoring certain things at the show.