Sell Yourself at Trade Shows

Sell Yourself at Trade Shows


If you’re thinking of getting involved in trade shows, it’s for only two reasons: to promote and expose your product or business to a wider market, or to source new products and/or suppliers for your existing market! Let’s assume here you’re promoting your business…

So, you’ve managed to start a little business, and it’s holding its own in the big, bad world of commerce, and you want to make your little empire more visible to more customers, maybe even outside the country, but you don’t have megabucks to splash on a global supply chain or an international multimedia advertising campaign… What do you do?

Well, one of the most cost-effective ways of increasing awareness of your product, or service, or whatever, is to show it off at a trade exhibition. But not just any trade exhibition; it’s got to be the right one; a trade show that incorporates your product or service in its industry ambit.

SAITEX as a platform

It’s no good exhibiting your newfangled, super handheld weed-pulling device at a plumbing industry trade expo; likewise, it’s not a smart idea to demonstrate your solar-powered toilet seat heater at a bridal expo…

Actually, now that I think about it, there is an ideal show where you can promote your weed puller and butt-warmer toilet seat – SAITEX!

The Southern African International Trade Exhibition – we call it SAITEX for short – happens to be one of the shows my company, Exhibition Management Services – we call it EMS for short – hosts every year, and it’s growing at a phenomenal rate!

SAITEX is a general goods trade show, meaning just about any product you can imagine has a place. Clothing, furniture, office supplies, pool equipment, car accessories, cosmetics – like I said, just about anything. It’s like the whole world all under one roof!


Last year there were 479 companies from 32 countries exhibiting at SAITEX; over 6 100 people from 54 countries visited the exhibition! That’s a 16% increase in visitors, a 30% increase in exhibitors, and a 57% increase in exhibiting countries over 2010’s SAITEX… Now, that’s a successful trade show!

Incidentally, EMS also produces AB7 – that stands for Africa’s Big Seven – no, it’s got nothing to do with wildlife. Actually, AB7 is a food and beverage trade exhibition; seven shows in one, hence the name!

It’s the biggest food and beverage show on the African continent, if I can boast just a bit! From farm produce to the meat industry, bottled water and the liquor trade, fast food, restaurant business, catering equipment, supermarket retailing, bar code systems and baking equipment, packaging, bottled water – everything that’s good to eat (and drink) is at AB7.

By the way,EMS also produces a few industrial expos focusing on areas like the oil and gas industry, mining and power, the petroleum industry, the water sector, and so forth. SoEMScovers quite a wide spread of markets that cater for a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs out there!

Okay, once you’ve identified the most appropriate expo for your product, there’s a lot to do to get it on display and selling! But that’s a whole new game of blackjack!

I’ll tell you about it in my next blog! Until then, think ahead!

P.S. SAITEX and AB7 take place at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand from 15 to 17 July! If you’re not exhibiting, at least visit these shows; you never know what you might find!

For more information on the show, visit

See you at the show!

John Thomson
Trade show guru John Thomson established Exhibition Management Services nearly 30 years ago and has pioneered the development of trade exhibitions in African countries. Born in Malaysia and schooled in Britain, Thomson has travelled to over 85 countries and organised over 200 events in Africa. He is the longest-practising practitioner in the exhibition industry in South Africa.