Are trade shows worth doing them? My very first experience with selling BPA free bottles by Green Bottle at a trade show and the outcome
Last year in September I did my first trade show (Top Drawer) in London Olympia and it’s been quite a challenge. Getting everything ready for the stand plus spending three days in a row staying in your stand as well as talking to a lot of people is exhausting. My panels, plinth and info material arrived just in time during the week before the show started. I was frightened that something might not be ready in time. What, for example, should I have done if the plinth would not have been ready? Finding an alternative in just a couple of days would have been very tricky as I got a customised one to fit all the 24 different designs of my stainless steel water bottles I’ve got. But it arrived in time. There are many other things that can go awry as I was about to find out though.
I went to Olympia a day before the show to get everything set up. When I got there, the walls were lying in my stand and the name board was missing. I had to run around and find the organiser to get everything fixed. Fortunately, this worked. When I finally got started with my stand, I cut the skin of my finger when setting up the plinths and had to run around to find a tissue to stop the blood dropping onto my display panels. Finally, I managed everything, went home and tried to relax before the three full days of staying and chatting.
Picture of my stand at Top Drawer September 2011
Not bringing a chair was one of the mistakes I did on the first day. So the next day I was carrying my wooden chair through train and undergrounds stations to have a little bit of comfort in between standing up. People where probably thinking why is she carrying a wooden chair, but I didn’t mind… maybe they thought I was a newspaper lady J
The other mistake I made was not asking my potential customers for their business cards. I always wrote down the name from their name tag but couldn’t find half of them afterwards online. Another exhibitor was saying to me she’s never giving out her info material if people don’t leave their details. An eye opener… the next show will be better J
During the show there have been many people who were interested in our BPA free bottles by Green Bottle but there have also been many people just passing and not even looking at the stand. In those moments I often thought: “Is this worth doing a three day session in the first place?” In the end you never know about the outcome until quite a while after the show when you suddenly generate business through a contact you made at the show. Everyone was also telling me that you have to visit the shows regularly over a certain period to make people aware of your business and to show them that your business is still there with attending year after year.
So what’s the outcome of my first trade show? Some new customers, plus some half written down contacts where I might catch up on if I can figure out their details and one Spanish company that found me on the trade show exhibitor website and they want to work together with me.
In any case, it was a great experience. I just filled out a form for this year’s Pulse trade show where I have every intention of attending a bit more prepared.
I hope to and see you next week.