How to use trade events and conferences to increase your sales

Trade events and conferences can be highly valuable to your small business, helping you to primarily increase sales – while also allowing you to meet key people, interact with potential customers, and increase your business’s exposure.

Create awareness, attract key decision makers and increase sales

It can be difficult to get meetings with key decision makers when they’re at their place of work. However, at conferences and events they:

  • Are more accessible.
  • Can be met and greeted in a social setting.
  • Will be more open to building a relationship that you’ll want to lead to future sales.

Meet them at a conference or event they’ll likely attend and be sure to follow up with them at a later date.

Entice potential customers to come to you

It’s important to be where your potential customers are going – and trade events and conferences should probably be on your business’s itinerary. You’ll get vital opportunities to meet customers, suppliers, distributors and other business owners.

Successfully growing your business means increasing not only your sales, but also your networks and exposure. It’s important to enhance your reputation any way you can, and trade events and conferences are a great way to achieve that.

The positives of exhibiting

Your business will gain awareness and credibility by being visible and putting its name out there. You’ll also get valuable feedback and advice from a whole spectrum of people.

The benefits of meeting potential customers at a conference or trade event are:

  • Building an authoritative voice. If you’re able to speak at a conference you plan on attending, you’ll have the opportunity to win greater credibility.
  • Reduced costs. It’s better to save costs on travelling to visit each customer by having a large number of them come to a highly regarded conference or event.
  • The location. By getting your potential customers out of their offices or workplaces in a more social environment, you may increase your chances of selling your business’s goods or services.

Tactics for presenting your products or services

Trade shows are a great way to gain new networks, customers and product ideas. You’re looking to get as much as you can out of exhibiting at a trade show, so try to:

  • Demonstrate your products or services. Whether you find yourself in front of a crowd who was close to purchasing your items or amongst people who haven’t heard about your business before, demonstrations can be an effective tool for turning observers into buyers.
  • Contact potential customers in advance. Set up appointments through your customer database or send out email invitations.
  • Advertise trade specials at the show. Special deals only available on the day will often get people across the line – just make sure you inform them beforehand to expect great deals.
  • Come up with a unique hook to build interest. Create intrigue and awareness with some intelligent marketing to get potential customers to your event.

Test new products or services

Trade shows and conferences are great places to trial new products and services, and to determine if there’s a demand for them. Your business will have its allocated space or time slot where you’ll be able to use all your skills of persuasion and tricks of the trade to entice interested followers and buyers.

By exhibiting, you’ll also be able to introduce any new goods or services to a large group of potential customers over a relatively short period of time.

Keep a close eye on your competition

Take advantage of the fact that your competitors will also be at some of these events. Make the most of their presence by:

  • Learning what you can about how they operate.
  • Discovering any innovations they’re working on.
  • Finding out what new products or services they’re introducing to the market.


Networking with other small business owners can put you in direct contact with future clients and even your competitors. Set up a simple way of collecting the names and contact details of new connections, then:

  • Call or email them, soon after your event or conference.
  • Advance those relationships, by arranging a meeting or offering a deal.

An example of how you could get a large number of contact details is by offering free samples at your trade show booth in exchange for business cards of interested parties.

Access key decision makers

If you’re targeting business customers, find out who really makes the decisions. Learn about their internal politics and how you’ll be able to build relationships that lead to sales – and hopefully long-term connections.

By introducing yourself to key decision makers, your chances of having a successful conference or trade event will increase.

Next steps

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