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Are Trade Shows Still Valuable in 2023?


During the pandemic lockdowns trade shows had to make a quick shift to virtual formats. But now that people are traveling again, in-person trade shows are back and growing. In 2022, big industry shows like SHOT, SEMA, and MRO Americas either sold out floor plans or expanded into bigger venues.

If you’re a B2B business with the opportunity to attend an industry trade show, they are worth making room for in your budget. Trade shows provide a unique opportunity for you to interact with a large number of qualified prospects who also get the chance to interact with your products.

5 Reasons Trade Shows Are Worth the Investment

1. Face-to-face meetings

There’s nothing better than a face-to-face meeting to build a rapport with someone. In-person sales meetings are powerful and often hard to arrange with busy schedules and dispersed teams, which makes trade shows a valuable opportunity to get some face time to build connections with prospects or help your customers problem solve and innovate.

2. Meet a lot of people quickly

Trade shows provide the opportunity to meet with a large number of prospects and current customers quickly and effectively. From this perspective, trade shows are much more cost efficient than sending your sales team on trips around the country to check on the same number of customers and prospective customers.

Another plus of having so many people together in one place is that often the people sent to trade shows are the company’s decision makers and those who have buying authority. This makes it easier to have a face-to-face conversation with the person in the organization you actually need to talk with to make a deal.

3. Raise brand awareness

For new businesses, attending a trade show can be a great opportunity to get your name and logo out in front of others in your industry. Just having a booth in the expo center can lend legitimacy in the industry and provides an opportunity for relevant leads to gain awareness of your brand.

4. A chance to let your product shine

Many products are more impressive in person than on a screen. Trade shows let your prospective customers touch and engage with your product in a more meaningful way and these interactions are a valuable sales tool. Additionally, if your product is complex or benefits from instruction, you can also have live demonstrations to better explain your differentiators. Unify your team’s messaging before you go to the show with microtraining videos about the proper way to discuss products with prospective buyers.

Trade shows are also great places to launch new products to your lineup as many attendees travel to shows specifically to see new products and innovation. A study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) found that 92% of trade show attendees reported they came to the expo looking for new products.

5. Less expensive to convert a lead

CEIR research has found that it is more cost effective and quicker to close a trade show lead versus one sourced elsewhere. According to their data, the cost of an initial face-to-face meeting with a trade show lead is $96, whereas without a lead, meeting a prospect costs on average $1,039 (which includes the cost for identifying the lead and making the in-the-field sales call).

Additionally, research suggests that it takes fewer sales calls to close a deal with a lead met at an exhibition. A CEIR survey indicates that 54% of sales that started at a trade show are closed within 3 or fewer sales calls.

In conclusion, while trade shows can be expensive and time consuming, they really offer numerous tangible benefits for future sales. If you want to impress at your next big industry exhibition, B&Y can help you hone your branding, messaging and booth design to get you noticed on the expo floor. Reach out to start a conversation today!