In 2017, the average business attended more than 14 national trade shows. How does your wholesale business compare?

Consider this: Some 91% of high-performing businesses place a greater emphasis on live events, such as trade shows, than average-performing or low-performing businesses do, according to a report from Event Marketing 2018.

Here are nine ways attending a wholesale industry trade show can boost your business’s bottom line.

1. Make new connections.

From independent sales representatives to importers, distributors and manufacturers’ reps, the people you meet at a wholesale trade show can open up new avenues of opportunity for your business. Review the attendee directory ahead of time so you can see who will be attending and set up meetings in advance.

2. Stay on top of trends.

One of the most valuable aspects of attending a wholesale trade show is seeing what other products are being exhibited. You’ll get a good sense of what products are popular, which can give your wholesale business a huge advantage — especially if you sell products, such as home decor, apparel or specialty foods, that are highly subject to trends. Even if your primary focus is your booth, be sure to build in some time to walk the show and take in all the sights.

3. Learn new things.

Wholesale trade shows aren’t all about the booths: You’ll also have chances to attend workshops, presentations and panel discussions on hot topics in the industry. So you don’t miss out, plan ahead and sign up for the sessions you think will be most valuable for yourself and your team.

4. Promote your newest products.

The attention you’ll garner by exhibiting at a tradeshow makes it the perfect launch pad for announcing new products you’re carrying. Build anticipation by teasing the launch ahead of time on your website and social media. Reach out to members of the media who will be at the event and invite them to come by your booth.

5. Build your brand.

It’s important to have a presence at industry trade shows so that others can see your business is thriving and active. Create an attention-getting booth display that’s in line with your brand image. Use branded tote bags or promotional products to spread your brand throughout the event. Take advantage of opportunities to promote your brand by hosting a cocktail hour or moderating a panel discussion.

6. Reconnect with current customers.

Sure, you stay in touch on social media and by phone, but nothing compares to talking to your customers face-to-face. Use the trade show as an opportunity to pick your customers’ brains and get ideas for ways you could better serve them. Set up meetings with customers in advance to be sure you get some face time.

7. Offload overstock.

Plenty of trade show attendees expect to enjoy discount prices when they place an order at a show. You can satisfy their expectations by selling overstock products at deep discounts or giving them away as premiums for booth visitors or gifts for customers.

8. Conduct market research.

Create quick surveys that trade show attendees can take at your booth in return for the opportunity to win a prize. It’s a great way to get insights that can help you fine-tune your product offerings.

9. Expand your network.

Are you looking for new product sources? Is 2018 the year you want to start wholesaling overseas? Going to a national or international trade show will expose you to a whole new world of potential partners and customers.

Are financial concerns holding you back from attending trade shows? Small business financing from Fundbox could help you get the funds you need for an attention-getting booth, show fees, airfare and all the other costs involved.

Attending a trade show is a worthwhile investment in your wholesale business’s future — one that can pay off exponentially.

Planning to attend a trade show this year? Here’s how to get the most out of attending.

Rieva is a small-business contributor for Fundbox and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting, and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.