By Franklin Alli
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) has targeted over 1,500,000 visitors from within and outside the country as the 2009 edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair,Â kicks off tomorrow.
A source from the Chamber, Tuesday, told Vanguard, that each year the fair attracts more than 10,000 visitors per day (estimate from tickets sold), and hundreds of exhibiting companies, stressing for the ten days we anticipate 1.5 million people to visit the fair including businessmen, investors, consumers, top government officials and representatives of Nigeriaâ€™s important trading houses and those seeking joint-venture partnerships.
Dubbed as the â€˜biggest and the bestâ€™ trade expo in the country organisers said that the fair offers a unique exposition for manufacturers, suppliers, buyers and users of a wide range of goods and services as well as opportunities for investment and trade promotion.
The source further disclosed that although, the LCCI has acquired a new siteÂ for future hosting of the annual fair, yet the fair will still be holding at the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Lagos-Badagry Expressway in Lagos, until work is completed at the new site.
However, trade fair experts say trade shows are one of the best ways for companies to get in front of their customers .
â€œExhibiting at a trade show offers companies one of the best ways to get in front of a lot of customers and prospects in a relatively short amount of time. Trade shows give firms the opportunity to not only show their product or describe their service, but also create that all important first impression,â€ According to a Simmons Market Research Bureau study, 91 per cent of respondents ranked trade shows as â€œextremely usefulâ€ as a source for product purchasing information. This was higher than any other source, including on_site visits from reps. Also, nearly half of the respondents had purchased products or services at the trade show.
At a typical national trade show, with 10,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors, a firm can realistically have 200 visitors per day.
If you were making sales calls, you could not even approach that number. Granted, you donâ€™t always have the opportunity to go into as much detail in your presentation as you would like, but it opens the door for future communications _ a door that sometimes is very difficult to get your foot into.
So for most companies, trade shows are worth the effort.
In fact, before a company decide wether or not to attend a trade show it is worthwhile to pounder about what that might say to your current customers who expect to see you there.
This is especially damaging if your company has been through recent staffing/management changes, mergers, acquisitions, or other changes your clients may have caught wind of. Your competition will use your absence to their advantage. This doesnâ€™t mean you canâ€™t ever stop attending a show, but just be sure you think about whom you see there and what your companyâ€™s absence may lead them to believe. If necessary, send a post card to your primary clients that you know attend that particular show, and explain your decision to attend show B rather than show A.
Before you even start looking for shows, you need to set your goals. To help you do this, there are four questions you need to ask yourself: Why are you exhibiting?
Are you trying to extend your relationship with existing customers?
Introducing a new product? Positioning your company within the market? Generating qualified leads for new sales? Countering a competitorâ€™s claim? Who is your target audience? What is the message you want to convey?
What do you want to get out of the show? Do you want to bring home leads, sell your product/service, or create/improve/build upon your company image? You need specific, measurable goals if you want your trade show activities to succeed.