The third part of this three-part article examines the benefits of a trade show to the distributor.

Of course, the obvious advantage is the likelihood of uptick in sales following a trade show at which new products are introduced. But more than that, it’s a feeling of good fellowship; very little else beats face-to-face interaction.

“We cement relationships with our customers,” says Benson. “We are a local company for the most part, but we sell a national brand of products, so we show our customers that we are more than a mom-and-pop operation.”

Since distributors are the ones exerting the effort and expenses for the events, of course, they should benefit the most. However, it is no secret that customers enjoy the events, too.
“It gives them an opportunity to meet other people and talk about some of their challenges,” says McGarvey.
Some companies choose to do trade shows annually, but because of the cost and work involved, often they’re held every several years. For example, Maintex can go for about five years without a show, though they intersperse smaller, themed events in between.

Depending on how involved it will be, planning a trade show can take anywhere from a few months to an entire year, and it can be expensive. Plus, spacing them out a bit builds anticipation to the next show.
“If you make it really good, you leave them with a great feeling for your company and an understanding of what you do,” says Silverman.

Hilary Daninhirsch is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh.

previous page of this article:
Planning And Marketing Trade Shows