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Trade Shows Without a Booth Don't have a booth? Don't worry. Check out these other ways you can benefit from a trade show without actually exhibiting at one.

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You don't need your own booth to make a trade show work foryour business. There are a number of other ways you can benefitfrom a trade show without incurring the time and expense ofcreating your own exhibit. Here are some you can try:

Be a speaker
Many larger trade shows have comprehensive seminar programs. Youcan exploit your expertise by participating in a panel or atechnical session. Look for ways to create a good fit. For example,an accountant might want to speak at a software developer'sconference to discuss how recent tax code changes will impact theirindustry. Similarly, a Web designer could speak at anaccountant's meeting to show ways CPAs could design effectiveWeb sites. Be sure to have copies of your presentation available,along with a stack of business cards, so members of the audiencehave a way to contact you. Be available after the speech forquestions and conversation.

Hold private meetings
One of the chief benefits of trade shows is that they concentrateyour buyers in a single area. You might want to consider arrangingmeetings with a dozen or so of your top clients and prospectsinstead of buying a booth. These meetings can take place at theExposition Hall, at a nearby hotel or restaurant, or in your ownhospitality suite (an unused part of your hotel room). You'llincur significantly lower costs -- just your hotel, meals andtransportation). Plus, your clients may appreciate the ability totake a break from the frazzle of the show floor.

Demonstrate your products/services at someoneelse's booth
Look for companies whose products complement yours. These could beyour marketing partners, your suppliers, your customers, or anothercompany. Then see if you can have space at their booth todemonstrate how your product works with theirs. For example, asoftware developer can demonstrate a new package at a computerdealer's booth. A home furnishings supplier can display pillowsand accessories for a furniture maker's couches and chairs.

Conduct research
It can also be worth your while to visit certain trade shows justto do research. They can be an excellent opportunity to learn aboutyour competitors, and see how they merchandise, market and pricetheir products and services. You'll also get a first-hand lookat how customers react to competitors' efforts. Or you can lookfor manufacturers of complementary products, and meet with theirexecutives to come up with strategies that will benefit yourrespective businesses. Finally, trade shows are excellent places tohook up with suppliers, distributors and reps, who are likely to beeither exhibiting or working the show floor.

The viewsand opinions contained herein are not necessarily those of AmericanExpress and are intended as a reference and for informationalpurposes only. Please contact your attorney, accountant or otherbusiness professional for advice specific to yourbusiness.

Copyright © 2002 American Express Company. All RightsReserved.

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