In todays business climate, dollars are more important than ever, making decisions on attending and preparing for trade shows more and more difficult. Everything you read, tells you that show traffic is down, travel costs are up and trade shows might not be the best place to spend your marketing dollars.
In reality, new business opportunities abound on the trade show floor. While traffic may be down, the people you see are probably higher echelon decision makers for the companies attending, in some cases eve owners. Keeping with this idea, with less traffic, you also have more time to spend with the people who do visit, allowing you to qualify leads better, develop better rapport with your visitors, and quite possible even close business that you might not have otherwise been able to close.
Of course, none of this will be at all possible if you don't go to the show or don't make a concerted effort to look your best while on the trade show floor. Attending a trade show if definitely an investment, but for the same reasons that companies are making decisions to incorporate trade show marketing in their mix, show organizers are much more willing to make deals for floor space, making it more affordable to attend.
It is also fortunate that there are many new, value based exhibits available that afford companies the opportunity to look professional and different from other competitors on the trade show floor, for a fraction of the cost that exhibits sold for just a few years ago. Portability, low cost printing methods and reusable hardware, all make it easier for you to attend shows without the pain of high investment.
In conclusion, don't give up on trade shows as a valuable method of increasing sales in your business. What appears to be a possible poor investment, just might turn out to be your cash cow!