Trade Show Networking Strategies - Competitive Intelligence at Business Events

To succeed in today’s aggressive and fast-changing marketplace, companies/organizations need to continually identify their competitive advantage to both hold and increase market share.  They also need an in-depth understanding of the competitive dynamics of their market.  Beyond an opportunity to showcase an innovative product or a new custom trade show display, conventions and trade shows are an excellent forum to research and collect information from current and prospective customers.  From here, you can learn about your competition.  Here are some important things to consider when researching your competition as well as potential and current customers.

If you are exhibiting in a show, there will no doubt be a competitor presence, and it’s important to stand out to attendees whether they are current or prospective clients.  Take the time to introduce yourself to the competition find out what they are offering and how they are presenting their product/service.  Walk the show floor and take mental notes of just what your competition is doing, they may just tell you something of interest that will be beneficial to your business.  Observe where they are on the show floor and determine if it is a competitive advantage.  Is their booth crowded, and yours is not…why?  How long has your competition been in business and what is their reputation in the eyes of the marketplace?  Learn everything about their products/service and come up with ways your product/service is better - give the buyer a reason to switch.  Just what is it that differentiates you from your competitor and does it matter to the consumer?  A very important question to ask yourself is what your competition strengths are and what are their weaknesses.  Make sure your competition’s buyers know the difference between you and “them.”  These buyers may not be aware of just what you can offer them!

Lastly, remember the 80/20 rule.  Listen 80% of the time and talk 20%.  Ask good questions of your booth attendees - particularly if they buy from your competition!

To take market share from your competition you first have to know all about them. From there you can use your competitor’s perceived advantages and beat them.  You’ve been given ways to best your competition, now go get ‘em!