iMiller Public RelationsAttending the wrong industry trade show is a business hazard due to high travel costs, time away from your desk and missed opportunities elsewhere.  Your team can only attend a finite number of trade shows per year, so do your homework before booking a reservation.  Here are some top things to consider when evaluating event attendance:

Your target market:  You might be ‘gung-ho’ about a particular trade show because of the companies that will be attending, the keynote speakers or the luxurious accomodations.  But will it provide an opportunity to reach your target market?  Best practices call for knowing who will be there, why they will be attending, and what the other vendors will be offering in order to focus your presence in the mix.

Location:  Does the location suit your team and business needs?  The further you travel from headquarters, the longer you will be away from your desk.  Extensive travel and lodging for a large team may also incur a big blow to your company’s event budget, limiting your ability to attend, exhibit or sponsor at an event more beneficial to your bottom line.  Instead, try to attend trade shows within driving distance that offer the same take-aways with fewer detractors from business-as-usual.

Networking opportunities:  An event without dedicated networking time is a red flag.  Make sure that there is time to exhibit your wares and take meetings.  A great trade show will offer much more compelling business opportunities than just keynote speakers and presentations, including socials and post-event networking receptions.  To make sales, you first need to make contacts.

Other attendees:  Check whether the event will provide a fair market for your business before you agree to go; some trade shows are reserved for a select group of clients.  Standard vendor-to-customer ratios should be 70-to-30, or even 60-to-40 percent.  There should be a steady stream of customers who are actually interested in purchasing your products or services to justify spending money on the event.  Otherwise, it could be a wasted opportunity.