Are You A Sheep At Trade Shows?

I was visiting a trade show yesterday in London, and it was good to see so many people in a positive state about their businesses. We listen to the news and hear about the recession, but this show was full of businesses looking for customers, and they’d got up off their a###s, spent some money, and done something about it. The Earls Court Exhibition Centre was crammed full of car enthusiasts, attending the ‘Top Gear Show’, and whilst there were lots of people simply looking, there were plenty of sales being made. Some stands were busier than others. Typically these were the low-purchase items, but I could also see some serious buyers on the luxury car stands.

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I was intrigued by the smaller businesses that had decided to attend, and had bought stand space around the edges, mostly selling gadgets, super waxes, state of the art polishes, magic-stuff to stop your wing mirrors from fogging up, radio controlled cars, etc, etc. It made sense for them to be there. The room was full of potential customers, car lovers, drooling over the display models, and they appealed to their inner need to spend by giving them a low-cost-option, that was automobile related, and it worked. They were all busy.

And then I saw a company, that had applied some lateral thinking. They’d thought outside the box, and decided to not be a sheep.

They were a firm of solicitors.
They were the only legal team at the show (no competition then), and were really busy. There was a steady flow of people walking up to them for a chat, taking a leaflet and leaving.

What were they selling at a car show?
They were advertising the fact that they can help car drivers with legal advice when they got into difficulty with the law, and highlighted some specific areas: Drink driving, Points on Licence, Speeding, etc, etc.  They had a range of simple pop-up banners detailing the areas a typical driver may need help in, and that was pretty much all they’d done.

Apart from thinking outside the box!!!
I bet there’s loads of legal teams attending trade shows on legal matters. There they’d be, all crammed into the same space, competing against each other, whereas this team had the whole room to themselves. The only thing I thought they’d got wrong was that they weren’t using promotional gifts, simply leaflets.

In my opinion, they should have been giving a simple low-cost budget item to anyone who passed by their stand, something like this, our business card shaped magnifying glass, which they could have had personalised and printed with the phrase, ‘leave the small print to us’, or ‘the search is over, we’ll take care of you’. Simple, effective giveaways that will make people smile, and because they have a use, will be kept for years to come. Having said that, I was just impressed with their vision.

Does your business think outside the box?

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4 Responses to “Are You A Sheep At Trade Shows?”

  1. andybolton Says:

    Yes it was busy I was there… Valid comments and yes I was surprised at the amount of people at the ‘buying’ stage.
    Staying positive is essential…
    Thanks … Andy
    🙂

  2. Thanks for that Andy. I know its a cliche, but us Brits are very good at talking ourselves into a problem aren’t we?

    I’d also add that the legal profession has additional challenges.
    Am I right in thinking that they aren’t allowed to cold-call? Are there any other restrictions on how a legal team may try to promote their business?

  3. Mike Thimmesch Says:

    What a creative way to choose a trade show, and then make their message relevant. Awesome!

  4. Cheers Mike – it caught my attention too

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