Building up relationships and your network is a key attribute to success.  An authentic relationship is based on truth, respect and mutual trust. A great relationship is also mutually beneficial. For you and your store that means connecting with people who can be mentors, who can share information and who can help create other connections. It’s not about selling, but rather developing relationships that can lead to sales, referrals or opportunities. The idea is to get to know people and allow them to get to know you. A great way to get to know brands is at a trade show.

What are Trade Shows?

A trade show can also be known as a trade fair, trade exhibition or expo. It’s an exhibition organised for people in a specific industry to showcase and sell their products or services. It allows your stockists, or you as a stockist, to see and feel the goods before you order and you are also able to place orders.

Trade shows are a great opportunity to see the trends that are developing for your sector and who is new to the market.

Prior Preparation

Don’t forget to have a pocketful of business cards whenever you’re out and about and this includes trade shows. You should be able to whip these up pretty easily based on all your branding. Remember to ask others for theirs.

Trade shows list who is exhibiting beforehand. Download that list and highlight who you really want to see. When you’re at trade shows in can become really overwhelming, and before you know it your on your way home and didn’t get the chance to meet that fabulous brand you spotted!

From our experience, and we’ve been to quite a few, trade shows are generally boiling hot with over-priced food and drinks. Try not to take too much with you, but do take a snack and a bottle of water or two. Oh, and wear comfortable shoes!

Follow Up

It’s great coming away with lots of contacts and you may be buzzing with excitement, so now it’s time to digest all you have seen and reflect.

Before you start placing orders, ask yourself:

  • Does that brand fit with the ethos of my store?
  • Does that product fit with the look of my store?
  • Do I have products that are too similar already?

If you’re happy, but need to ask a few questions, give your contact a ring. It’s a great way of starting to build that relationship. Just don’t be put out if you don’t get an immediate response, they’re busy after a trade show!

Where are Trade Shows held?

It’s worth attending trade shows, so we’ve have put together a handy list as a starter for ten. It is by no means exclusive so do have a search to see what’s happening in your sector and area.

Activity:  Browse our list of trade shows and do some research. Find a couple that are relevant to you and your store, get the dates in your diary and register. Make sure you check to see if there are any workshops or keynote speeches taking place at the show and register to attend those, too.

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