Are Trade Shows a Good Way to Build Your Business?

Leave it to Kelli and Steph to ham it up and make standing at a Trade-show booth a bit of fun!

The quick and not helpful answer would be: depends on your business.

Last night It’s  Your Time participated in the Entrepreneurial Success Network’s (ESN) Trade-show in Richmond.  The crowds were a little thin compared to when we had attended at the River Rock Casino and my guess is the $20 parking and the lack of other entertainment.

As a business person my immediate thoughts were “was this worth it?” “will I realise a return on my investment?”  and it’s easy to jump to a negative response when  the crowds are thin.  However, this morning as I sit with my notes and business cards from fellow exhibitors and attendees that I spoke with I realised those thinner crowds gave me an opportunity to connect a little deeper than one would expect at a trade-show.  In fact, the answer might turn out to be a bigger “Yes” than had the crowds been thick.

One of my networking tips was recently quoted in BC Business as it received so much feedback from other members of the LinkedIn Group.  Basically I suggested listening to people, asking questions, finding out what they do and care about.  I think this tip holds true even if you’re standing behind a booth at a trade-show.  Yes, you’re clearly there to sell – you’ve even paid money to do so; but that doesn’t change the fact that people like to work with or buy from people they like.

Because of the laid back energy of the ESN Trade-show I had ample opportunity to get to know the people that stopped by my booth (or whose booths I stopped by) and I am feeling rather positive that the seeds of great relationships have been planted.

I guess this makes my rather long answer to the question are trade-shows a good way to build business a qualified yes. Unless you’re hocking hot-dogs you need to treat trade-shows like any other networking event and actually speak with people and listen to them so that you have a platform from which to follow up.


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