There are more than 10,000 trade shows held in the United States every single year. Picking the correct show that will yield you the best benefit from your investment of time and money can be a difficult task.

Start off your search by looking for trade shows that fit your brand and sector of business. There are many directories available on the web such as www.tradeshowbrief.com . Many of these sites will list trade shows across the country as well as various show data. Another resource for finding out about shows is your industrys trade association. Industry groups sponsor many shows and conventions. Your local Chamber of Commerce or Convention Bureau may also be able to help you find out about smaller shows happening in your area.

Here are some additional tips to help you make the right choice:

Dont only follow the numbers

A big trade show can be a waste of effort if the shows focus is unrelated to your business key functions. Search for shows that will include buyers and prospective customers from your industry. Search for statistics and data of past shows to decide whether or not the show fits your company s agenda.

Ask your customers for help

Talk to your customers to find out what trade shows they will be attending. Shows that meet their needs will likely be attended by other prospects. Also reach out to your competitors to find out what shows theyve found most the most useful.

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Check it out ahead of time

The best way to evaluate a show is to take a first-hand look. Before you sign up, go to the show as an attendee. Is the show exciting and engaging? Are the visitors walking the show floor potential customers? What sort of other exhibitors are there and where would your product/service fit in the mix? Talk to people and keep your eyes open. ?

Evaluate it carefully

?Once you have a list of show possibilities, use these questions to determine if the show is the right one for your business:

Is it a large enough show to create a buzz without directly competing against the giants in your industry?

Is it in the right place, geographically, to attract your customers -- whether they are local, regional, national, or global?

Is the timing appropriate? When you can service the new business you ll attract and follow up on leads?

Are the shows promoters reliable and does the management have a proven track record of success?

Get Involved Early.

Most of the more popular shows will fill up fast. Wait too long and you may find yourself on the waiting list for the next event. Signing up early offers more choice in matters such as finding a great location for your specific exhibit.

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