We’ve been doing newsagent trade shows since I started this company in 1981. (Australian newsagents being our key vertical market.) We usually do three each year, sometimes four or five – depending on whether there are national events.
I reckon we’ve done at least 130 newsagent trade shows over twenty four years.
That’s a lot of trade shows.
I like trade shows not only for the sales opportunity but also to see what our customers think about us. In our marketplace customers will tell you if they are unhappy – often after they have told others. By presenting at trade shows you invite comment on all manner of things. It’s an ideal temperature check and the challenge is to be honest and thorough in analysing the feedback.
I can recall a couple of trade shows some years back when we spent more time resolving problems than selling. There were few smiles and our tiredness at the end of the shows was more to do with what we were doing wrong than the sales success of the show.
In recent years, this weekend included, the trade show floor feedback has been excellent. Most encouraging for our unrelenting focus on customer service.
You know you’re doing something right when existing customers bring their colleagues to your stand and point them at your product and urge their colleague to dump their existing technology and go with our system.
We overstaff our trade show stand so that we can give everyone enough time and so that we can get the feedback we need. We see the trade shows as an opportunity to ask questions and learn. It works. We come away with plenty of suggestions – well thought out suggestions which we have been able to discuss face to face and therefore finesse prior to putting them to our development team.
We see our relationship with our customers as one of collaboration in pursuit of better business outcomes for our customers. The trade shows are a key element in pursuit of that goal.