We’re at the Remodeling Show in Chicago this week. There’s been a lot of internal debate over the value of attending or exhibiting at a trade show, and we haven’t reached any conclusions. They’re expensive—that’s just reality. Months ago, when we started strategizing on how to make this one count, we spent time researching our previous performances and what experts (or self-proclaimed experts) thought we should do. Our main “take away” from all of that work was this:

The greatest area of focus should be on substantial lead generation and networking. Both of these goals may be quantified in a manner that “name recognition” and “visibility” cannot.

Now, believing in this concept and actually putting it into practice are different things. It takes a lot of work to sit down with all involved parties, come up with a strategy, implement our plans and hold ourselves accountable. For some, this was easy. For others, it was uncomfortable. What really pulled us all together as a team was the idea of delivering captivating content that demonstrates our value.

We think your content should promote an experience that people want to be a part of—something that is both comfortable and educational. Attendees should conclude that working with you will be greatly beneficial to them. This doesn’t mean that the entire emphasis should be on the numbers; customers should leave understanding the entire value of your company.

We concluded that this type of content should not be disseminated with flyers. Although this may have been a comfortable way to self-promote in the past, it is far too impersonal. Anything on a flyer can be easily put on your website and/or blog—and by tracking those viewers, you have a way to reconnect with people after they leave your booth!

One modern way to distribute content is with a tablet (you don’t have to give a bunch of them away to prove you’re valuable, either!). This technology allows your sales team to directly deliver your value proposition more interactively. The tablet may be used to show potential customers presentations, or simply introduce them to the website or blog. It may also be used to collect business contact details. Don’t sell yourself short by handing out a piece of paper with your sales pitch instead.

Ultimately, we sent an iPad with our sales team in Chicago and believe it will enhance their sales process. Next step: track the results.