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10 Tips to Help You Have a Successful Trade Show
Hosting a booth at an expo or trade show is a terrific way to reach out to prospective clients, but it takes a lot of hard work to execute an effective plan. Make sure you’re prepared with the right materials and displays to create a lasting impression on your future customers. Here are ten tips to help you have a successful show. Share your experience and ideas with us in the comments.
- Use high quality, meaningful images and professional products.
If your display is professional, people will assume that you run your company in a professional manner. The opposite is also true, so make sure you give the right impression. It helps to have graphics designed by an experienced designer, promotional materials printed professionally, and your booth constructed by a highly qualified team.
- Keep your display simple.
You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of trade show guests. Make sure you don’t rely on too much text or information on your displays. The best displays grab the attention of potential customers and give your representative the opportunity to convey specific information about your company.
- Be memorable.
Often times literature or business cards simply end up thrown in the trash because people fail to remember what that company had to offer them. Consider using QR codes in your booth so that people can bookmark your website for later. Make sure that any promotional materials you hand out are visually interesting and include a way for customers to find additional information at a later time. It’s a good idea to gather contact information and send promotional and informational material at a later time if possible.
- Promote the show.
Make sure your current and potential clients know that you will be present at the trade show. Post reminders on social media platforms and include details on your website. Give out complementary tickets and send out an email before the show to let everyone know your booth location. Don’t forget to include past clients who you might not have connected with recently.
- Be friendly and inviting.
Make sure your staff is engaged with the trade show guests. It helps to smile and make eye contact rather than hiding behind a cell phone or computer. Standing and greeting people as they pass by is important and conveys the idea that you care about your clients. Even polished sales people can be intimidated by large crowds, so make sure you select team members who will thrive in this particular atmosphere.
- Be aware of body language.
Make sure your sales team is educated on how to read basic body language cues. For example, does the prospect look exhausted? Offer them a place to sit for a moment. If you can accurately assess interest and understand the needs of your prospects, you will be more successful in face-to-face interactions.
- Offer meaningful incentives for people to stop at your booth.
If you offer something meaningful to your prospect’s business, they’re more likely to stop and hand over that business card or fill out the information card. Everybody enjoys selecting their favorite candy from a bowl or bringing home a little swag, but try to think about something that is not only valuable to your potential clients, but something that also informs people about your company or services. And remember, you don’t necessarily have to give anything away if your booth clearly conveys the fact that you offer valuable services.
- Communicate with exhibit coordinators and service partners.
Make sure that your crew knows the logistics of handling and setting up your booth. If you have specific needs for your display, talk to your event coordinator as early as possible rather than on set up day. If you will be shipping materials, make arrangements in advance to prevent last minute scrambling. Know the limitations and specs if your booth and plan accordingly. Also, prevent an embarrassing and stressful situation by making sure that your booth doesn’t violate the trade show regulations.
- Plan to succeed.
Planning ahead will alleviate much of the stress involved in preparing for a trade show. Order your print materials and display graphics early (several weeks before the show if possible) so that they are done before everybody else is putting in their rush orders. It will also save you money! Allow time in your planning for the unexpected and you will be able to handle any surprises without anxiety.
- Follow up on leads.
This may seem like a given, but often this falls through the cracks in the post-show craziness. Your prospects are as busy as you are getting caught up when they return from a trade show or expo so it may be best to give them a week or two before you reach out, but make sure that you pursue every lead. Doing this shows your prospects that you deliver on your promises. Send a quick email, schedule a time in the future to chat on the phone, or send literature through the mail. People appreciate it when you follow through on your word and it’s a great way to build strong working relationships.