Feeling unprepared for an upcoming trade show? We’re here to help! After researching tips about trade show dos and don’ts we’ve come up with our own top ten tips:
Train your booth staff: You want to make sure you’re only choosing qualified, well-kept professionals who will positively reflect your company during the show. Make sure they know your company’s goals, marketing approaches etc. Most importantly, make sure they’re approachable!! You want prospects to feel comfortable walking up to your booth and striking up professional conversation related to your company’s services. Most importantly, make sure they come prepared with a plan to sell!
Don’t overwhelm your audience with too much information: It’s easy to stumble over your words and over explain what your company does. While it is important to know your company in order to represent it well, it’s also important to refrain from sharing every detail of what you do with your prospects. In times of panic, refer to the 80/20 rule. Listen to what the prospect has to say for 80% of the time while only speaking for 20% of the time. You want the prospect to feel heard in order to make a good impression and set the base for a valuable connection that they’ll remember.
Ask specific questions: Avoid rambling and asking unnecessary questions. Nerves get in the way sometimes, we get it! But it’s important to stay professional and efficient. Ask questions like: Where do you work? What’s your position there? Then ask for permission before getting into more specific business related questions by simply saying Would you mind if I ask you some questions about your business?
Bring and store sales literature: When it comes to sales literature, you want to work smarter, not harder. Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of literature for prospects to read but keep it in a stored away box, perhaps under the booth’s desk and give it out after speaking and connecting with a prospect who is genuinely interested in what your company is selling. This prevents just anyone from taking literature that they’re going to throw away later (a huge waste of money) while keeping serious prospects informed and involved.
Avoid speaking poorly of your competition: This is a bad reflection of your company and puts your own company’s insecurities on display. This is a major turn-off to prospects and will quickly turn them away from your company which is exactly the opposite of what you want to do.
Don’t eat or drink at your company’s booth: It's extremely important to ALWAYS be professional. This includes not only looking and speaking professionally but also staying away from eating and drinking at your company’s booth. This makes you look unapproachable and unavailable and prospects will stray from conversing with you. It could also make the venue smell poorly all of which poorly reflect your company.
Put a trade show page on your company’s website: This allows prospects who don’t want to carry home loads of literature and paperwork to review your company at their leisure in the comfort of their home. It is also important to have a simple URL that is easy to access and remember.
Promote your company before the show: Make sure to set up appointments with important prospects at the show. This ensures that there will be time set aside for them personally. It doesn’t hurt to put up announcements and advertise a bit for your company prior to the show as well. Getting the word out beforehand, helps in the long run.
Hand out free stuff! Having free company related merchandise to hand out during a show helps promote your business even after the shows over. While a flyer might not be memorable, merchandise that is interesting, sensible and entertaining will! Prospects will remember your company whenever they use or see the merchandise that you gave them. Examples of sensible and interesting merchandise may include but is not limited to, high-quality pens, reusable water bottles, lip balm, t-shirts and fidget spinners.
FOLLOW UP!! Last but not least, it is arguably most important to follow up with prospects after the show. Make sure you get the prospect’s business card or email address before they leave your company’s booth as it is vital to staying connected post trade show. Don’t wait any longer than needed to follow-up, you want to be fresh in the prospect’s mind when you contact them to avoid any later confusion.
Keep our tips fresh in mind before your next trade show. Take a deep breath, take notes and be yourself! Good luck! (You’ve got this)
The Trade Group