There’s nothing like a good car show. The roar of the motors, the displays, the demonstrations, the chats, the fumes, the fun. It’s all go when it gets to car shows, and you won’t find yourself going in reverse. The latest models need to be gawped at, the latest developments need to be awed at, the newest technology needs to be gawked at. There’s a lot to do at car shows, even if you’ve set out your own stall for your business.

Yes, car shows are a place for business to take place, leads to be generated and deals to be done. Despite the smoke and the petrol and the cars and the hype, there is a layer of serious business underneath. Everyone from car manufacturers, to video game developers to insurance salespeople have a stall at a car show, so anyone who can find an angle to relate their business to cars will likely make an appearance. Anyone with a target audience that revolves around an interest in cars might find it beneficial to lay out a stall at a car show. However, if it’s not done right – a business might not hit fifth gear and fly out of the show with leads and sales; it’ll be stuck in neutral with big costs. We’re here to help though and business minded petrol heads should seek out a car show if they have something to offer.

Car shows cost money to attend. This means that you need to set a budget and stick to it while you plan for a show. Plan for every expense and see what you can do to recoup sales at the event – if you can sell something there and then, you might make your costs back, or at least dampen the blow of the costs of attending. Anything you can do to bring a bit of cash in during the show will be a great help, but your budget is there so you do not overspend. It’s a crucial part of planning. Spend time planning to ensure you know what you’re going to do, where you’re going to be and what you are going to sell. Organizing in this manner ensures that you’ll be ready for the event and be able to hit the floor running when the time comes for the show to start. That’s when the real work begins.

You cannot do this alone though. You need a good team behind you. This is to ensure the stall is always working and that people can get a good break through rotation. Events are stressful work, so organizing a good team can help share the load and ensure the weight isn’t just on one single pair of shoulders. If you’re a sole trader, maybe think about hiring some car show girls to act like a big business. At the very least get some sort of help on board. This could be friend, or it could be hired help – just make sure you are not alone.

Now, work the room. You need to ensure that you’re building relationships with potential clients, customers, and collaborators. Think of that as the three c’s that will lead you to a big s: success. If you can generate leads here, you’ll not only increase your workload, but also your chances of success. This is why a good team is needed, so you have the time to do this and get involved with a show and do everything that you need to do to get the most out of an event. An event could lead to sponsorships, deals, sales and collaboration – all opportunities not to be passed up.

Once it is all over, and you are packed up – it’s time to get to work all over again. Follow up with all the leads you made (ideally you grabbed their details!) and ensure you build the relationships needed to make and create repeat business. If you don’t do this, not only have you wasted an opportunity, but you have wasted time, effort and money. That’s not good form for a business and you do not want it to become any sort of trend at all.

The rules for a car show? They are like any other sort of event. Plan, meet, talk and follow up. If you don’t do any of this, you’re putting it all to waste – you won’t get repeat opportunities to waste time like this, so make the most of your time at a car show and make it a win for your business. With a bit of hard work, you might host your own one day!

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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