shaking hands at a trade show event
By Matt Stoffel on 08/23/2022

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Why In-Person Trade Shows are Still the Best Way to Build Connections

Are you skeptical about the advantages of an in-person trade show? 

With all the time and energy that go into exhibiting at an in-person show, many may be left wondering if it’s really worth it. You might feel overwhelmed and stressed about planning your exhibit or perhaps just dreading leaving your sweatpants for a nice pair of slacks. 

Whatever your case may be, we’re here to provide the advantages of an in-person trade show experience to help your company maximize its potential. 

For over 25 years, Showcraft has helped clients through the seemingly intimidating process. We specialize in going above and beyond while making the process as stress-free as possible. 

We’ll break down some of the specific qualities that make in-person trade shows the most effective resource for building good partnerships, and how you can use them to your best advantage. 

Building Trust

A successful business is built on healthy relationships. But while having relationships is imperative to your success, creating those relationships can be a slog.

Over the last few years, technology has transformed how we communicate, helping us form and maintain relationships in new ways. But there are still aspects of relationships, like trust, that are best strengthened person-to-person, face-to-face.

Trust is the foundation for building and sustaining good relationships. This is a connection made between people, not businesses. You can trust a company, but only as much as the people who make it work.

Connecting face-to-face develops a level of trust between people that virtual interactions simply cannot. In-person trade shows are the perfect setting for new introductions and reconnections with the people who represent their business.

Forming Hands-On Memories

A huge advantage that in-person trade shows have for building good relationships is the trade show itself! Your exhibit is a representation of your company, goods and services, and future goals. 

In-person product or service demos allow people to interact with physical objects, which psychologically is known to produce a better memory of that product or service.

The Association for Psychological Science asserts that “Exploring objects through touch can generate detailed, durable memories for those objects, even when we don’t intend to memorize the object’s details.”

When someone is building a relationship with you, they are also building a relationship with your product or services. Having tangible items present can help create trust in your product or services and build a stronger relationship overall. 

Finding the Right People

In a world where voicemails go un-listened to, emails often sit unread, and professionals at all levels of the workforce are switching companies, figuring out who the best person to connect with can be a huge challenge.

Most in-person trade shows host exhibitors specific to a certain niche, making it easy to know who is going to be in attendance. Picking the right show has the potential to put your team in front of more right-fit customers in an afternoon than they might connect with in a month.

Giving your salespeople a pre-screened audience to form bonds with can be a huge step up from pounding the phones. All you have to do is go where the people are!

Understanding Your Competition

The famous line, “keep your friends close but your enemies closer” applies heavily in the trade show industry. Exhibiting at an in-person trade show usually means you’ll be surrounded by industry competitors. 

Even from a distance, in-person trade shows allow you to build good relationships with your competition. Building a good relationship doesn’t always mean chatting it up and closing deals, sometimes they are completely silent.

By simply observing, you can create an understanding of their new products, services, or goals. This will let you pivot your products, services, or goals in a way that will set you apart from your competition. 

Putting Your Best Foot Forward 

When getting ready for a first date, you probably want to shower, dress nice, place a reservation, and put some thought into what you’re going to talk about, right? Just like building any good relationship, in-person trade shows give you time to prepare properly and ensure a strong first impression.

Planning for an in-person trade show should start up to 12+ months in advance. This gives you plenty of time to strategize about your relationship-building goals. 

Having clear goals and measures of success will help your team know how to prepare. Everyone can row in the same direction. 

If you find someone you are interested in meeting with during a show, plan to reach out early to create a time to connect. In-person trade shows typically span three days, which is not a lot of time once things are rolling. 

Expanding Geographically

Trade shows are held all around the world. Despite this, most that attend in-person trade shows are not locals. 

The top three trade show locations in the United States are Las Vegas, Orlando, and Chicago. These trade show hubs are perfect for connecting across the country and even internationally. 

Attending an in-person trade show allows exposure to a geographically diverse group of people, allowing you to build unexpected relationships that you might never have had the chance to form otherwise.

Although the internet is a geographically independent space to build relationships, the person-to-person, face-to-face experience that forges strength in an encounter is lost. 

Next steps

In-person trade shows don't have to be intimidating, overwhelming, or stressful. Knowing the advantages that will come as a result and having the right exhibit partner by your side will make for a seamless journey. 

Showcraft has helped thousands of clients through every step of the process. We’re reliable and trustworthy industry experts. We know how difficult trade shows can be, which is why our job is to make them as stress-free as possible. 

If you’re looking for guidance with your in-person trade show, or just have a question that needs answering, connect with one of our trade show experts.

And don’t forget to download our free 4 Steps to A Stress-Free and Effective Trade Show Checklist to ensure your next trade show runs as smoothly as possible. 


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