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Why Trade Shows Need to Be a Part of Your Business Strategy
January 31, 2023 Eugene Uhm, Business Development Specialist

Trade shows have been an integral part of conducting business and networking with potential customers for over 146 years. Here are some of the first trade shows conducted in the United States:

  • 1876, one of the first World Fairs was hosted at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. This trade show showcased Alexander Graham Bell and the introduction of the telephone.
  • 1889, the International Industrial Fair was held in New York City. This trade show became the largest franchise expo in the country. Today, over 400 of the top franchise brands attend this event.
  • 1893, Chicago hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition. This significant event introduced the world’s first Ferris Wheel, which inspired the current attraction at the Navy Pier.

In 2022, Trade Shows continued to provide a huge lift to businesses.

  • 88% of businesses participate in trade shows to raise their brand awareness.
  • 83% of businesses attend trade shows to increase their sales.
  • 72% of exhibitors have a presence at trade shows to get new leads.
  • 92% of attendees visit trade shows to learn about new products and services.

Even with all these positive statistics, only 3% of small businesses in the U.S. rely on trade shows to grow their business.

Perhaps it’s the fear of the unknown or a reluctance to invest in exhibiting at a trade show. With the proper planning, you can maximize your ROI on the next trade show you attend.

Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Develop a pre-show strategy

    Simply showing up is not enough. Scheduling meetings prior to the trade show, promoting your booth (if you are an exhibitor), utilizing social media, and creating content that matches the trade show theme will help maximize your trade show ROI.

  2. Optimize your booth

    Having a booth at a trade show is a great way to network, make new connections, and showcase your products/services. 81% of trade show attendees are decision makers. 78% of these attendees travel over 400 miles to attend, providing you with a diverse national audience. These are the contacts you want to turn into leads for follow up after the show ends.

  3. Follow Up Promptly

    Once the trade show concludes, the real work begins. Following up with contacts and leads is essential to maximize the potential ROI from attending a trade show. On average, it takes 1 less sales call to close a lead from a trade show compared to a lead that came from a different source.

Once you’ve made your connections and established new export clients, EXIM is here to assist in your exporting journey. For nearly 90 years, EXIM has protected U.S. companies from the risks of nonpayment with Export Credit Insurance and unlocked cash flow to fulfill additional sales order with Working Capital Loan Guarantees. To learn more, click here for a free consultation with one of EXIM’s trade finance specialists today!

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.