This article was written by Jens Chrzanowski, Regional German Director at FCA regulated broker Admiral Markets UK.
Last Friday and Saturday I attended the “Invest” expo in Stuttgart. This, the 18th iteration of the event, was host to many investors and traders from all over the world. In my view, this is one of the two most important expos in our industry to be hosted in Germany, the other being World of Trading (WoT), which is held in in Frankfurt in November.
From time to time you hear people saying things like, “expos are old school, they’re for online suppliers. There’s no point in visiting them”. In light of such comments, this week we’ll be taking a look at the pros and cons of visiting trading expos as a broker.
1. They allow you to show your face, to show that you’re real and that you have something to say!
So many brokers don’t show their face or have a voice. How can trust flow and a good reputation be maintained if you have nothing facing the outside world but a website and advertising? Clients still want to see real people, real faces—especially when money is involved.
2. Press reports.
Many newspapers and TV channels also visit expos and report on what they see there. That can be free marketing for you, as long as you have something to present!
3. Receive direct client feedback.
Finding out if people like your offer or not, or if they prefer product A over product B is a difficult thing to find out online. One thing that helps is a direct presentation of your products, engaging with the expo audience.
Top tip: don’t just speak, speak, speak. It’s also very important to listen at an expo! Find out what your clients and potential clients are looking for.
4. Meet the competition.
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the competition. But, this is business, so you should always act accordingly – speak to them as you would a friend, not an enemy. Business is hard, business is challenging, but you are also sometimes ‘in the same boat’ as your competitor. Exchanging knowledge about internal industry news is never a bad idea.
5. It’s not all about leads!
Most expo visitors take a look at many different expo stands, so it’s not usual to see real accounts being opened at an expo (anymore). Increasing brand awareness and reputation is your main goal. If people know about you, saw you at an expo and got some information, they will most likely visit your web page and open an account. They may even tell their friends about you.
1. The costs.
Yes, visiting an expo is expensive! For a two day expo like Invest, depending on the size of your stand and the additional actions you perform there, it can be very pricey. The same kind of money could pay for a lot of online advertising, from which you’d see direct lead generation.
2. The time.
You don’t only spend time going to the expo for one or two days, there’s also all of the preparation and management of the whole operation, from presentation to logistics. You need to set aside a minimum of three times the length of the expo itself for planning. So a two day expo can take at least six days to prepare for.
3. What do you have to say?
As an online supplier, you may worry that you don’t have a lot of material to present face-to-face, because your service is online.
4. Will all of your visitors be friendly?
You may be concerned that some clients will visit the expo and complain about you, perhaps because they didn’t like your service, or maybe they have something against brokers and trading in general. This could potentially happen, but in my long career in this industry I’ve visited many expos and I’ve not heard of a single such experience. But if something like this did happen, I’d suggest acting calmly and politely, listen to the complainer and try to offer solutions to their problems.
So, heading to that upcoming expo or not? As with any decision that you have to make, there will always pros and cons. Bottom line, I suggest that you visit one of the bigger trading expos, wherever you offer your services, at least once per year. Expos are the perfect ‘Marketing Mix’. Okay, they may not deliver you hundreds of leads, which perhaps an online advertising campaign at the same cost could bring you.
But, on the flip-side, you cannot ignore the reputation and brand awareness that these events can bring you. Such attention will help you gain clients much more easily throughout the rest of the year. People buy what they know… So show your face once in a while!
See you next week!
Do you have feedback, concerns, requests, maybe even compliments? I’d love to hear. Please contact me via: [email protected].
Trading on margin carries a high level of risk, and this article should not be seen as advice or solicitation to buy or sell. It’s written for informational purposes only.