I recently picked the brain of John Riddle. John is a trade show veteran and has some excellent advice for anyone in the events and trade shows industry.
1. In these economic times, what is one piece of advice you would give to someone in the trade show or events industry?
Full disclosure. Put out the facts with the intent of helping all involved manage their expectations. In the trade show industry both the exhibitor and the attendee need to know what they can expect to see and ultimately achieve by coming to the event. Additionally, you have to be honest with yourself about what the event is going to do financially and adjust your budget accordingly. I think you spend money where you are going to get the best return on your investment, which is always the case, but in these times this is critical.
2. What elements do you think make a successful event or trade show?
When all parties come away with what they came for. Managing expectations helps achieve this goal. To present this in another way, you should make sure that what the attendee is looking for is available. You should also have attendees who are coming to see what your exhibitors are selling. You do this with good research, matching a buyer and seller is the key element to any show’s success. If you do the proper research and find the attendees’ needs then you have documented proof as to why an exhibitor should participate. We call this selling with reason, not making calls just to make a call.
3. What are some tips to getting more attendees and exhibitors to attend trade shows when budgets are being cut everywhere?
Giving them what they want and need to grow their respective businesses. We think education is a key reason people come to a trade show. We also think the right education is a motivator. The trade show floor is any industry’s largest classroom. Promote the value of face-to-face meetings and live demonstrations. Promote the fact that this is the ONE place where the industry can see, touch and feel the equipment. This affords them the opportunity to see what is being offered so informed buying decisions can be made. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a demonstration is worth a million words. Being able to compare demonstrations is PRICELESS.
You can find out more info about John and his company by going to www.jriddle.com
Joshua Gair – Impact Entertainment Services