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Five Tips For A Successful Exhibit At Your Air Cargo Trade Show
Advice for an effective, beneficial air cargo trade show experience.
- Malcolm Gilvar, Executive VP of Sales & Marketing, The Trade Group

If you are looking for a new, fresh way to market your products and services, while at the same time increasing your company’s visibility and client list, look no further than trade show events. While most industry trade shows are just starting to wrap up in the fall of 2011, some of the Air Cargo's largest trade exhibitions are just getting started.

For example, on November 2-4, 2011 in Miami, Florida, the Air Cargo and Sea Cargo Americas industry trade show?the largest air cargo and sea cargo trade show that is held in the Americas?will be hosting over 5,000 international aviation and maritime executives. Also still to come in the next year is the IATA Air Cargo Forum, being held in Kula Lumpur, and Air Cargo Europe and Air Cargo China, which are organized under the auspices of the Transport and Logistics show?the largest transportation trade show in the world.

Air cargo trade show

However, that is not all that is still to come for air cargo trade shows. One of the biggest trade shows of the business, the Air Cargo Forum, will be held in Atlanta in late 2012. This overwhelmingly popular trade show event, which is organized by The International Air Cargo Association, only comes once every other year and is rotated between shows in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Meaning, if you miss out on this next trade show, you won't get another chance to attend until 2014 when the show will be hosted in South Korea.

Given that air cargo is an $80 billion industry worldwide, growing at the rate of 5-6% each year, these trade show events are a great way to reach out to other key players in the industry and truly show off your products and services. Creating a customized exhibit at a trade show event for your company can not only help to grab the attention of a wide-spread audience, but it is also a more effective marketing tactic than other products such as billboards or magazine ads.

Trade shows are also a solid investment for your company to make in terms of return on investment and gaining qualified leads. According to The Center for Exhibition Industry Research, the second-quarter results of their index research report showed that the exhibition industry outperformed the overall US economy during the first half of 2011. This report just echoes why trade show events are still worth the time and money invested by your company in the long run.

However, like with every business venture that your company makes, the key to a successful trade show event is preparation. If you plan on exhibiting at one of the upcoming air cargo trade show events, be sure to follow these five pieces of advice for a successful event that pays off in the end:

Create A Strategy

In order to have a successful, beneficial trade show exhibit, you first need to determine a marketing and sales strategy for your company. Are you more interested in connecting with consumers and suppliers in the air cargo industry, or would you rather spend your time focused on meeting with potential clients? How many leads do you need to collect in order to consider the event "successful?" Having a set strategy prepared before the event will help to provide a measuring stick to whether or not you should continue these types of events in the future.

Train Your Booth Staff

The results and success of your trade show event is directly tied to the performance and effectiveness of the staff members who work in your booth. All staffers?even veteran sales members of your company?should receive some kind of training before you head to the trade show. This training should include information about key VIPs in attendance, your marketing message and business plan, your overall goals for the event, how to handle competitors, etc.

Training your booth staff will not only ensure that you impress attendees, but also that you improve your overall return on investment for the event. To further expand your results, you should also come with some engaging questions for your booth staffers to ask which will help them to rank and filter prospects on the trade show floor.

Connect With Attendees Before The Show

Many air cargo trade show events will put together a booklet of businesses and attendees that plan on attending the event and send it out to all in attendance before the show or publish the list online. This information is a gold mine for companies to screen the types of businesses and industry members that will be in attendance of the event, as well as a chance to reach out and connect with them before they even hit the trade show floor.

Talking with clients beforehand will not only get your name and message into their minds, but it also gives you a chance to jump right into your marketing strategy the day of the event to seal the deal. You could also consider creating a pre-show promotion to bring your target prospects to your booth. A high end giveaway (such as an iPod, iPad, etc.) could be just the thing to lure those companies you are not currently doing business with today.

Identify Qualified Leads

While it may seem great that your company talked with one hundred or two hundred people at your trade show exhibit, the only thing that matters is whether or not these connections are people who may actually turn into prospective customers. If not, then there is no point in spending ten to fifteen minutes selling your products to them. In order to determine if an attendee is a potential customer, you first need to qualify them. Do this by asking questions that answer who they work for, what their role is at that company, and whether or not they have a need for what you are selling. If so, then continue with your strategy.

Follow Up After The Show

The most important part of the trade show?more so than talking with a bunch of attendees or handing out information packets?is following up with your qualified leads once you are home from the show. If you decide to take a break after the hectic show is over and not contact your leads right away, you are essentially handing money over to your competitors. In order to ensure that your company gets the most out of the leads you collect, have a set follow-up plan in place before you even head off to the show. That way, you are ready to take care of business the day you get back.

Air cargo trade shows are a great way to connect with your manufacturers, distributors and retailers, while at the same time also connecting with attendees and gaining more leads for your company. If you follow these five tips, you can ensure that your trade show exhibit catches the attention of a large audience of attendees, and also produces a positive ROI for your trade show event.

If you are looking for more great information and advice for a successful event and getting the most out of your trade show exhibits, be sure to check out The Trade Group's blog, which features information on giving a successful trade show presentation, putting together the best booth for your company, and seeing your leads through to the end. The Trade Group also offers great resources for trade show exhibits, installation and dismantling services, and international support. Contact them today at 800-343-2005.

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