Yesterday I attended the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) exhibition in Earls Court London. As I walk around the hall, the first thing that came to my mind was: what a big waste of money.

Probably 95-98% of the display boots had no clear sign clearly explaining what they were selling talk less of a clear offer.

I had to go to the reps and ask them what exactly was it that they did.

And after speaking to the reps, instead of trying to sell what they did, they were more interested in scanning my badge.

As far as the reps were concern, their job was to show you what they did and it was my decision whether I bought or not.

If you are sat home selling you products on eBay or Amazon, then that type of behaviour is acceptable.

However, when you are coughing out £3000 for space, which does not include staff cost, preparation etc. you need to do more than just show your projects.

The two days are costing many of the businesses a minimum of £5000 and yet they were behaving as those it was free to exhibit.

I was there with a client, my job was to play prospect with their competition to get as much information from them as possible to strengthen my clients’ offer.

The first competitor spent more than an hour with me, demonstrating the software capability without once asking me to buy. It was no different at the other two. They spent close to an hour each with me not once did they ask me to buy.

So I wasted their time and collected their trade secrets that I used to strengthen my clients’ offer.

Why were small business exhibitors not selling their products?

The majority of small business owners hate to sell. For them being stood there is equivalent to selling their products and services.

It’s like having a website. Most small businesses have a website just to tick the box that they own a website but the website is bringing no benefit to their business.

If you decide to spend your money to exhibit at a trade show, you first and foremost need to understand that the goal is to sell our product and services.

If your goal is to sell your products, you cannot go there without adequate preparation.

The first thing you need to prepare is your offer.

What are you going to be offering at the show?

The next part of the preparation process is the presentation of the offer.

How are you going to present the offer at the show?

How are you going to present the offer to prospects?

The next part is sell training. Most of the boots I visited had technical people with no sales training.

The business I spent more than an hour with had an MD with no sales training doing the presentation for them.

As a small business, your goal at a trade show is to sell your product and service or to at least generate leads.

If you do not accomplish any of these two objectives at the show, you have just wasted your time and money.


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