Project “Trade Show”: If you do it, do it good

(continued from previous article)

Trade shows are not a form of entertainment. Trade show participation is a business investment, which is expected to pay off in full and earn profit. Investment comes first though – financial commitment is needed now to reap the benefits later.

A very simple and basic indicator of financial resources trade show requires is an amount of additional sales company needs to make just to cover the cost of participation; these sales have to come via leads from the show only. For example, if company has a profit margin of 10% it would need 70000EUR of additional sales just to cover basic costs of DIY participation (basic costs defined here); staff salaries, time for preparation and time for following up the leads are not included here – every company has to calculate those separately (the amount of additional sales needed would double or triple as a result). The question raises itself again – is it worth it? Does it make sense to participate in trade shows at all then?

Our opinion on this is straightforward – if you do it, do it good; if you can’t do it well enough, then don’t do it at all. Quality of your actions always takes priority over quantity.

Such questions and calculations emphasize the need to take participation in a trade show seriously, especially when representing a company in a foreign trade show. In case of Germany, there are over 700 various trade shows taking place in the country each year, where thousands of companies present their products and services, and thousands of them go unnoticed. Germany is a huge market with huge potential, but in some ways very conservative; for example, potential business partners would normally want to meet you in person and make sure your company is reliable enough before even thinking of possible joint ventures.

Conclusion – unless you have better than average knowledge of the way business in Germany is done AND you can have people in your booth whose German is close to perfect, it is strongly recommended to refrain from DIY “packages”. It might be better to invest the funds into other sales improvement methods (e.g., a new website or sales staff training), as they have better chance to be effective.

On the other hand, if you know Germany at least a little and you have visited some really big trade events here, we believe you would not consider the described DIY route to be worth a thought. Nevertheless, you might have noticed how many companies are in fact doing just that – going for the cheapest space, cheapest (if any) booth design, standard layout, etc. All of it costs money, but the prospects of getting any return are grim.

We hope by now you have no doubts that an efficient, well thought out strategy is vital for getting results from participation in a trade show, in addition to sufficient financial commitment. Entire project “Trade Show” should take at least 6 months to complete. To make things easier we have divided it into 5 major stages:

  1. Goal setting;
  2. Planning;
  3. Preparation;
  4. Participating;
  5. Follow up and Evaluation.

Each of them is described separately in other articles – please explore “Project Trade Show” category in “Articles” section.

When reading all this please have in mind that we are here to help you with all aspects of public relations and overall presentation of your company at German trade shows – take a look at our service list here or contact us to discuss your requirements.

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