Successful Tips At Trade Shows (For Exhibitors and Attendees)
For the Exhibitor:
Ever wonder why people truly attend trade shows? For some, it may be a requirement of their job. For others it might be to make solid industry connections. For most, however, it’s to see what’s new. Whether it’s the latest innovative idea or product, attendees want to go back to their office and to their clients with the truly “unique”. As an exhibitor at a show, how do you then decide what to showcase?
Here are a few tips: Bring merchandise or materials that will allow the attendee to get a good indication of what your business is about in a short amount of time (i.e., as they are walking by on the show floor). You have a very limited interval to grab your audience’s attention (about 30 seconds). In addition, think about your most popular and/or best product or offering. The old “stand-bys” should definitely be featured. Lastly, think about the audience you are exhibiting to. What are their greatest challenges or goals? Products or services that can help your prospects reach their goals or address their challenges should be well presented.
What’s the Biggest Mistake an Exhibitor can make?
Not having a follow up system in place BEFORE you exhibit. Follow-up can occur in many ways and can fit within any budget. Have you attended a tradeshow where a potential vendor or industry partner promised to get back to you with information and never followed through? Do you think you’d be inclined to do business with that company if they finally decided to call several months later? Have a lead “collection” process established and set realistic and measurable goals for after the show. The follow up process can start simply by sending a thank you card to everyone that stopped by your booth.
To Give Away or Not to Give Away……
After realizing the overall expense of exhibiting at a show (travel costs, booth space, your time away from the office, etc.) is there anything left in the budget for you to be remembered? This question comes up a lot. The best approach for this is to have an overall trade show plan for the year. Determine what you can afford, in terms of total expenditure, and then break that number down into smaller increments such as:
- What you need to order in terms of supplies (business cards, a booth, signage, etc.).
- Total travel expense (hotels, airfare, meals).
- Salaries (will someone from your company need to come with you to do the show or can you manage it by yourself?).
- Giveaway items (handing out items to further enhance your brand/identity).
Giveaways are often the most forgotten item when preparing for a show. With good planning however, promotional products not only help generate booth traffic but also enhance relationships and reinforce your message or brand. When contemplating what to give, be thoughtful about your target audience. If you are going for long term visibility and increased awareness in the marketplace, choose a more economical item such as a pen that can be distributed to everyone that stops by the booth. If you want to be more selective and only give to those that you have engaged in conversation, provide an item that they will use frequently and sincerely appreciate.
For the Attendee:
If you are planning on attending a large show, make sure to create a schedule ahead of time. Print a list of exhibitors, note their booth numbers and visit those booths that you will benefit the most from. Come with a list of prepared questions or specific projects that you would like to review and discuss. If you really want to maximize your experience at a show, here’s an idea on how to stand out from the crowd and engage the exhibitors. If your budget allows, print an “informational postcard” about your company – what your needs are, your contact information and the best time and way to reach you. Your information won’t be lost among the other 2” x 3” business cards collected and when you are very specific you will surely yield results.
For more information and marketing ideas, contact:
Stay Visible, LLC