Best Tips for Surviving Your First 3D Printing Trade Show!
Trade shows are amazing opportunities to see the latest and greatest developments in your field with your own eyes. That goes for practically any industry, including 3D printing. You can find both well-established big players and exciting newcomers at trade …
Trade shows are amazing opportunities to see the latest and greatest developments in your field with your own eyes. That goes for practically any industry, including 3D printing.
You can find both well-established big players and exciting newcomers at trade shows. For example, we at Solid Print3D recently attended the TCT 3Sixty event. We saw plenty of familiar faces — but also many completely new ones.
This show inspired us to bring you this guide to surviving your first 3D printing trade show. Read on to learn the best tips on how to get the most out of these events.
What Are Trade Shows?
In case you’ve never even heard of a trade show before, let’s quickly go over the basics of what these events are. In summary, trade shows are one of the best ways for you to grow your business.
A trade show is an exhibition that brings together both product manufacturers and their clients. At a 3D printing trade show, you can expect to find printer and filament producers, manufacturers showing off the innovative ways they’re using the printers, and other associations and organizations related to 3D printing.
Because of this breadth of visitors, additive manufacturing trade shows give you a glimpse into the future of 3D printing. You get to see cutting-edge technologies and the most innovative developments in the field.
What Are the Benefits of Attending Trade Shows?
You sometimes hear people say that trade shows are irrelevant in the internet era. But that’s simply not true. Attending trade shows can bring your business huge advantages. At a trade event, you can:
- Meet Potential Partners in Person: Whether you’re looking to sell or buy, trade shows are great places for meeting your next stellar business partner or customer face-to-face.
- Network with Customers: Trade shows aren’t just about meeting new people — they also let you say hello to your current clients and build rapport.
- Build Your Brand: A well-designed and eye-catching trade show stand will get people talking about you and can direct more traffic to your business website.
- Scope Out Competition: If you’re at a trade show, your competitors will probably be there too. You can check out their stands to see what they’re doing — and get ideas on how to run your business better.
- Educate Yourself: You get to learn all about the latest developments and newest technologies, and how to apply them to your business.
- Get Feedback on Your Business: It’s a good idea to ask anyone visiting your booth for their honest opinion on your products or services. Even if the feedback were negative, you can learn valuable lessons from it.
8 Tips for Your First 3D Printing Trade Show
Attending your first trade show can be a great experience, but you need to be prepared to make the most of it. These tips will help you stay comfortable and meet fantastic business partners, whether you’re exhibiting or only visiting.
1. Make Yourself Comfortable
Nothing ruins a trade show faster than sore feet or a grumbling stomach. Before the show, have a filling breakfast and bring a well-sized water bottle with you. You’ll be on your feet most of the day, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
2. Bring Enough Business Cards
This may seem like a self-explanatory point, but we can’t stress this enough — bring a lot of business cards. If you think you have enough, bring a few more just in case. Trust us, you don’t want to run out halfway through the event.
3. Create an Event Plan
You should have a solid plan on who you want to meet and talk to, whether you’re visiting stands or setting up your own stand. Check the event’s website before attending, note down all companies you’re interested in, and learn the event hall’s layout if maps are available.
4. Rehearse Your Presentation
Be ready to tell people about your business at the drop of a hat. If you’re exhibiting, try to imagine what questions visitors might ask you. Learn the ins and outs of the products or services you’ll be showcasing so you won’t be caught off-guard by an in-depth question.
In case you’re a visitor, you should prepare a list of the questions you intend to ask interesting companies. Of course, your conversations may naturally veer off-course, but it’s good to always keep the things that matter to you in mind.
5. Talk to Everybody
Trade shows are there for you to meet people — make the most out of it. Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone willing to engage with you, even if you don’t expect to do business with them. You just might learn something valuable or find a surprise partner for a future endeavour.
6. Pick Your Stand Location Carefully
If you plan to set up a stand at a trade show, pick the location very carefully. Reserve your spot well in advance and try to locate your stand in areas that will see a lot of traffic. There are a few good places to keep in mind.
In case major companies are presenting highly anticipated products, being near them can be a good way to get some extra visitors to your booth as well. Event halls often have few restrooms, so being near one will put on the route of every attendant. Finally, at multi-hall events, it can be a good idea to locate your stand near the connecting hallways or passages.
7. Design Your Stand Carefully
Your stand should have an eye-catching design, but colours and logos aren’t enough. Add stand features that give people a reason to come to you. For example, chairs and small refreshments are always a great choice — you can give visitors a chance to rest their feet while you talk to them.
Make it easy for visitors to view and get more information about your products. If you sell services, display pictures and email addresses of key persons potential clients should contact. Should you have the space and budget, short presentations and lectures can also attract an interested audience.
8. Contact People After the Show
It’s important to promptly get in touch with the people you met after the trade show. They most likely talked to dozens of people during the event, so you don’t want them to forget you. But you need to do your post-show contact the right way — don’t just send a pre-written mass email.
In your post-show email, refer to the discussion you had with the person and bring up any significant details you want them to remember. Try to tailor your email to the individual’s personality. Checking their profile on LinkedIn might give you good ideas on how to approach them.
Meet Solid Print3D at Your Next Trade Show
Now that you know how to survive a 3D printing trade show, start preparing for your first event! You can only learn the best trade show attendance or exhibition practices through experience, but these tips will help you have a great time at your first trade show.
Take a look at our TCT 3sixty 2022 post event video above!
To help you ease into the world of 3D printing trade shows, you can always start by popping over to a Solid Print3d stand and saying hi. We’re always excited to meet new people and existing customers, and our friendly representatives can even give you further tips on how to get through the day. And you can check out our latest 3D printer offerings while you’re at it.
The easiest way to see which trade shows we’ll be attending next is to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. We’ll always update you on our future trade show plans. We hope to see you there!