Here it comes again. It’s Trade Show season in Europe and in other parts of the world.

My business Exportia is involved in six major trade shows between August and December, representing clients from a broad range of industry sectors including welding, safety, education, leisure vehicles and trucks.

Most Australian businesses at some stage will consider whether they are going to invest or not in a trade show. But if you choose the right trade show, you can get immediate sales.

When I take an Australian company to a new country, I always ask prospective clients or end-users which trade show and conferences they attend. You must make sure the trade show you pick is visited by your target audience.

Yes, it can be expensive in terms of budget, but here are five key reasons why you should seriously consider trade shows as part of your marketing strategy:

1. If well prepared, you can generate hundreds of leads

A trade show is a leads generation exercise. Once you have chosen the right show, then prepare it as a leads-generation exercise. You need to build your list of target clients, and distributors and do a comprehensive campaign before the show.

2. It positions your business as a major industry player

Trade shows can give an excellent exposure to your business. One of my clients, a small business, has invested in a professionally designed booth, that is adapted to each show we exhibit at. It is a small booth, quite cost effective, but it looks so professional that clients always think this business is bigger than it really is. And that opens many doors.

3. It fast-tracks access to major players

How many times did I get the right contact person on a stand in a few minutes? Hundreds of times! If you exhibit at a trade show and you choose a specific target, let’s say a major distributor, or a large multinational, then I can guarantee with the right approach you can get in front of the right person during that show. Or to a bare minimum, you can get their details and somebody is going to introduce you. It saves a lot of time!

4. You make friends and allies with your industry peers

I know it sounds funny, but I realised I always meet very interesting industry veterans at trade shows. And they know the industry I target inside out. I am genuinely interested in what my peers say about their industry and which distributors they do good business with. And reciprocally, I am happy to share information with them (of course not sensitive info). This is important in the longer term when recruiting a new team member, maybe that person I can recruit her/him down the track? Maybe they are aware of sales agents? How is that distributor going for them?

5. You show support for your distributors

When you exhibit at a trade show, you generate leads for your distributors. And they can see that your product is in demand, it shows them where else they can sell. It introduces them to new accounts and they usually love that! It will push them to focus more on your product.

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Also, Trade Shows are a great leverage to your presence online.

Creating the buzz about your presence at a trade show is a way to generate more following online. You can post photos and short videos about your clients, the visitors the show itself.

It is a great way to publish more content and reach a new international audience.

These are some of the major reasons, we strongly push for our clients to exhibit at trade shows and have done so for the last 11 years.

Well prepared, it generates sales and helps to build strong relationships with distributors.

Even in this online world, trade shows remain a great way to boost your international sales and build your brand in overseas markets.