I am a supplier of trade events, in both Lead Retrieval services and Registration services. Thus, most often, I am on the other side of the counter serving attendees and exhibitors. Sometimes I am asked to exhibit, and sometimes I am asked to become member of some association or another.
In the case of membership, I always want to know the ratio of vendors, such as me, to potential clients looking for vendors. I do like meeting other vendors, so that when a client of mine asks about a service, I know where to find it. My company however, needs clients more than it needs other vendors. Thus if your association isn’t going to introduce me to potential clients, I don’t need you.
In the case of exhibiting, I am always interested to do, and will pay for a booth (no exchange of services). However, I do want to be able to offer my services of Lead Retrieval to other exhibitors who may be interested. I’ll benefit from the sale (what I’m there for), and they’ll benefit from gathering more leads (what they are there for).
Furthermore, if I am exhibiting my services at an event, and my services are not even being used at that event, what does that suggest to clients about my service? How do I tell attendees how good my product is, when I can’t name a single exhibitor in the exhibit that is actively using my service? Only if an organizer can show faith in me will they get me as an exhibitor, and every exhibitor should consider that.
Moral of the story: Any exhibitor that pays to exhibit, should first be shown how they will obtain a return on their investment.