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Trade Shows: Networking Amongst Equals

published March 05, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
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( 5 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
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The primary function of those who participate in trade shows is to show off the products in an enticing manner to attract customers and to eventually affect a sale. However, for astute networkers, a trade show can become even more meaningful. In addition to offering the opportunity of meeting and selling customers and prospects, the trade show offers the people "working" the show the opportunity to network with the other exhibitors - including competitors.

There is also the opportunity to network with people at your booth who may not be customers for your products but who could be valuable contacts in other areas. So attending any trade show that particularly relates to your business or profession offers unending possibilities for networking.

As we thought about people who seemed to take maximum advantage of networking at trade shows, the president of a highly successful scientific instrument company came to mind.

Networking at trade shows for public relations is extremely important. Companies who sell through direct mail do not have representatives, dealers or salespeople. Their only contact with their customers on a personal basis is at the shows. Hence there are varied reasons why public relations network trade shows. It showcases their products to the outside world and establishes their existence shows that they are in fact a real entity. Moreover, it gives a chance to customers to see and examine the products on their own and often in reality see them in actual operation.

Trade shows also give the manufacturers an opportunity to study the market and see how their products are being perceived in the market. It enables them to research the market for potential customers and make possible changes and developments in the products to suit market mood and requirements. Trade shows are a great forum for introducing new products and gauging the public's response to them and to receive feedback, both good and bad, for their products and services.

Trade shows also provide the opportunity of finding out what your competitors are up to and what their plans are for the future. Sometimes one finds out that they have beaten you to an idea and save you from embarking on a journey that would have cost you a lot in terms of investment of time and resources.

New Products And Idea Generation

Aside from using trade shows for these reasons, PR enjoys two other major networking benefits from participation in shows. The first is that they are always on the lookout for new products. Since public relations does not have salespeople visiting labs, the company misses an opportunity for customer feedback regarding suggestions for new products or changes in current products. Trade shows offer PR the opportunity for encounters with customers who want to come to them and say "Why don't you guys make...?" or, "Know what we need...?" This is how many of their new products come into being.

Secondly, public relations publishes a cartoon calendar which depicts humorous situations in the lab. Since the calendar is an in-house effort, they need all the suggestions they can get for situations to be drawn along with as much critical review and input as their visitors to the booth will give them. The net working contacts that they make at the shows are great for this project.

Networking With Exhibitors

Networking with fellow exhibitors is a great way of gauging the mood of the market and a great platform for an interchange of ideas. Moreover, since the exhibitors are all experts in their respective fields it is possible to have meaningful conversations with them and understand what public relations is all about what the company's purposes and expectations were regarding the particular show.

An example of how networking with exhibitor's works is that during conversations, with one of the exhibitors, one lady exhibitor was invited to dinner by the two men who were in the booth next to her. They were the corporate head and the international marketing manager of that particular company. It turned out that one of the corporate head was from New Jersey and that the international marketing manager was an Austrian now living in Paris. The lady ended up doing a project for the latter and was instrumental in setting up a trade show for her fellow exhibitors - not only was it a great learning experience but something she would have missed out on had she not networked with her exhibitors.

A Reunion

This was not the end of their collaboration. A couple of years later, while the lady was doing a major show in Cleveland, she looked down the aisle and saw her old friends coming toward her booth. They had called the PR office found out where she was - and so here they were. They got together for a reunion lunch.

While at lunch she learned that one of them had a sixteen-year-old daughter who wanted to come to the US for a summer of work and an opportunity to improve her English. She agreed to help and the child spent two summers with her. From all of these contacts, initiated through networking from her original contact, she became a partner in a new company which was started in the United States and connected to a major Swiss precision screw machine parts manufacturer.

Just imagine, from one show, one contact during a trade show - and networking - she ended up with all of these exciting experiences plus good business contacts in England, France, Switzerland and Germany.

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

published March 05, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 5 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.