How to Apply to Trade Shows

Trade Show

There are a variety of reasons why you should consider getting your product exhibited at a trade show. One of the major reasons is that you can generate leads from interested consumers and business networking partners that you might not otherwise come in contact with. Additionally, exhibiting at trade shows provides you with the perfect opportunity to cultivate and continue to build your brand so that your product becomes more widely recognized.

Trade shows have been commonly utilized as the main way to introduce a new product and this still exists today. Finally, you will have the opportunity to see what your competition is doing with regard to innovation, product development and brand marketing. This will help you to adjust your own strategies regarding these factors. This article will address how you can apply to get your product exhibited at various trade shows.

See Also: 5 Things You Should Avoid Doing at a Trade Show Exhibit

1. Find Your Trade Show Niche

Once your product is ready to be marketed at trade shows, you need to begin the process of applying to exhibit it by first finding your trade show niche. For example, if you wanted to market a technology device, you wouldn’t exhibit it at a garden show. There are three basic types of major trade show groupings.

  • Consumer – focuses on exhibiting to prospective customers and new clients.
  • Industry – focuses on exhibiting to industry individuals and it is closed to the public.
  • Both – focuses on exhibiting to both consumers and those individuals in your industry.

Once you figure out which of the three major groupings of trade shows you’d like to exhibit in, you then need to ascertain your niche. For example, consider some of the following types of trade shows.

  • Publisher Trade Shows
  • Restaurant Trade Shows
  • Home & Garden Trade Shows
  • Arts & Crafts Trade Shows
  • Salon Industry Trade Shows
  • Technology Trade Shows

Make a wise decision on where your product should be exhibited, because you do not want to waste your valuable time or money on making a poor choice and exhibiting at the wrong type of trade show.

2. Choose a Trade Show Venue

Once you have ascertained where you should exhibit your product, you need to choose a specific trade show venue to exhibit at. There are some factors to consider when applying to exhibit at a specific trade show.

  • Cost – Carefully consider the cost of renting a booth space and whether or not it fits within your budget. Analyze the potential return on your investment by researching the general consumer or industry traffic that you should receive passing by your booth. Additionally, consider the costs with regard to purchasing an actual exhibit display booth as well as any travel costs that might be involved with traveling to the location.
  • Plan – Research the type of preparation that you will need to complete before getting to the venue concerning what you’ll need to bring. When applying as a vendor, you need to ascertain whether or not you’ll have adequate lighting and if you need to bring more. Also, some venues require vendors to pay for any electricity that they use. You need to inquire about the size booth you are allotted and whether or not they include any tables of chairs. If not, you need to be prepared to bring your own along.

3. Complete the Vendor Contract

Every trade show venue has a different application process for vendors to follow. When you decide on the venue, visit the website to look for instructions regarding the application process.

  • Contact – It is important to be informed on all aspects pertaining to the vendors so that there are no unwanted surprises on the actual exhibit day(s). Be sure to speak to the trade show representatives directly on the phone, in-person or at least via email. Make a listing of questions you have before you speak to this person so that you don’t forget to ask anything important that would negatively impact your vendor experience.
  • Booth – Make an informed decision on which booth size that you decide to rent. You don’t want to get to the trade show and have made a mistake on the booth size that you’ve chosen. Speak to the representative with any questions that you have.
  • Contract – Thoroughly review the vendor contract before signing it. Be sure that you completely understand all the fine print and if you have any questions, ask the trade show representative. Once you have completed a comprehensive review, sign the contract and return it to the trade show office with the required vendor deposit.
  • Rules – Ask the representative to direct you to the rules and regulations information for vendors. This may or may not be included in the contract. Don’t skip over this part, unless you want to get caught unawares by any surprises. For example, maybe all vendors are required to pay for electricity. If you didn’t ascertain this information prior to getting to the event—you can be in for a rude awakening; especially if you need to use their electricity. Additionally, ascertain whether or not the trade show venue requires vendors to carry insurance coverage for participating in vendor events. Also, inquire regarding the clean-up regulations and what you’re responsible for as a vendor.  
  • Finalize – Make sure that you send in the final deposit on time so that you secure your vendor booth location. Inquire about the finalized vendor set-up and tear-down schedules for all exhibit booths. Make plans to arrive early to ensure proper set-up.

See Also: Getting the Most Out of Trade Shows

Exhibiting at a trade show can be one of the best marketing tools that you will utilize toward expanding your brand image and getting your product name recognition. Have you ever exhibited a product at a trade show? How was your experience? Your thoughts and comments below please...