Ways to Get Clients to ‘Show’ Up

Announcing _____________________ Event! (fill in the blank with your firm’s name)

If your facility were a trade show and your clients were to attend, what part of the show would they find most interesting? Would that interest provide a direct benefit to your bottom line—and to theirs?

I have attended many trade events, and I have designed, marketed and installed even more. The exhibition vertical is undergoing change but, in the end, a trade show or similar industry event still offers a few interesting points of discussion and comparisons to the way you run your (no longer print-centric) printing business.

First, printers love trade shows, not in large numbers as they once did, but the industry’s main shows are often crowded events teeming with new products, services, introductions, smoke and mirrors, commentary and sometimes controversy.

Understanding that the purpose of most trade shows is to present a neutral arena of ideas, services and products to interested attendees, here is a key question: If you were to present your services and skills at a trade event, how would you rate your shop?

In the current economic downturn, I don’t know many people who visit shows for the sake of the show. No, people attend shows to learn, gain knowledge and expand their ability to thrive in their current or next job. I attend for other reasons, i.e., to identify trending ideas, understand what works and what does not (lately it’s more about what does not work than what does), and often to measure the levels of trade show dialogue and engagement, without which the exhibition is likely to fail.

Please take a moment to consider these questions:

  • Does your shop offer interest, information, knowledge, dialogue and engagement as the main exhibit?
  • Can your client reach out to the manufacturers of printing equipment and request information on the latest non-digital press technology and applications?
  • Can your client call upon one of the digital press manufactures and request the insider’s view of what is considered trending in the digital print arena?
  • Can your client contact a paper manufacturer or paper merchant to learn about the latest in substrates?

Chances are, only a small percentage of your clients or prospects will make these contacts. And how much will they actually learn?

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