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Department for International Trade –

For some products and markets having a stand at an international exhibition can be a good way to access customers, analyse the competition and assess demand for your products or services.

It can be costly to have a stand at an international exhibition. You might want to go to your first trade show as a spectator. It will give you a chance to see the show and your competitors first hand to prepare you for your first experience as an exhibitor.

Plan trade show logistics

Being well prepared for a trade show will help you make the most of your time and money.

There’s a lot to organise. Having one person to manage all of the logistics can makes things easier. Think about:

  • the location of your stand before booking
  • the facilities at the trade show (electricity, water, loading area, wifi)
  • how to present your stand including signs, banners or furniture
  • printing promotional material like brochures, flyers or business cards
  • having an enquiry form on the stand to collect potential customer or partner details
  • creating a rota for who will manage the stand during the show
  • whether you need to ship products or printed material and any permits needed
  • visa requirements and booking travel and hotels

Make the most of trade shows

Setting objectives will help you measure the success of the trade show and the return on your investment. Decide what you want to achieve and quantify it. Your objectives could include:

  • a number of confirmed sales
  • a number of new clients
  • finding new agents or distributors
  • finding out about competitors

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve you’ll need to market your presence at the show. Common marketing activities include:

  • a profile in the trade show’s marketing material
  • printing brochures, flyers and business cards
  • emailing current relevant customers
  • calling potential customers
  • putting adverts in the local press
  • competitions or give aways to attract attention at the show

Be ready to network. Think about how you’ll talk to potential clients or partners about your business, product or service. Remember to get contact details and give out business cards.

Get help with trade shows

You may be able to get a grant to attend overseas trade shows through the Tradeshow Access Programme.

Your local international trade adviser can offer advice on getting ready for a trade show.

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