Making the Most of Trade Shows

The trade show; love them or hate them the digital revolution doesn’t seem to have dispensed with the need for them. Many firms, in fact, love a trade show as place to build new business, new connections with potential partner firms and, of course, to display the best of their products. Successful trade show attendance is not a case of packing up a vehicle with goodies, sending off your best sales people and hoping for results however. Planning well in advance can make all the difference between find successful new business prospects and connections after attending a trade show or complete failure.

You Mean Nobody Thought to Book a Booth?

The first part of the plan, terrifyingly often overlooked, is booking your booth at the relevant show. Generally most firms do remember to actually book a spot but less take as much care as you may imagine as to the location. The prime locations are the main aisles and this is where you should aim to be. If all these booths are taken then find one near to a food outlet; after the main aisle the biggest foot traffic will be around food areas and while people may be in a hurry to get to them, they linger once refreshed and re-energised.

It’s All About People

People are important at trade shows; not just those passing by the booth but those staffing it. Good salespeople are not always the best representatives to choose. Staffing your booth should be planned in advance, and while an element of the sales team should be attending, think about your best ‘people-people’. Receptionists, given the nature of their day to day job, are usually very good at meeting, greeting and making people feel comfortable. HR staff deal with people on a one to one basis all the time. This may seem an odd approach to take but creating a welcoming, friendly environment can make your booth a haven from hard-selling competition. Do consider some product/sales training for non-sales staff attending but don’t make it the sole focus of their role.

Judging a Company by their Display

The display is what creates the first impression of your firm and your product; don’t skimp on the display and get professional design companies to work with you to create an impact. If it’s not multi-media these days it’s probably not going to grab people’s attention (not the case for some products, admittedly) so get a display together that wows people. Gadgets and interactive tools are a big plus.

The Inner Kid in Every Executive

Most visitors to trade shows behave a bit like kids in a toy store; they want to touch just about everything. They’ll probably want to have a go further and ‘play’ with items on your display. Ensure that this is possible and don’t restrict their access to your star products (or any product for that matter). The main point of a trade show is to offer the opportunity to try things out for real (impossible in the world of online displays and sales) so don’t underestimate the importance of this aspect. Depending on the number of products your display try to keep things relatively simple; cluttered displays are confusing and also can be harder for your staff to manage, leaving them constantly having to put things back where they were supposed to be!

Trade Show Legacies

This is almost expected at trade shows; free stuff can range from pens (see Pen Factory customized pens for attractive deals) to free samples of food (if that’s your industry, even better). While these small items may seem irrelevant (ubiquitous even) they have an important function to deliver; pens, coasters and any small item that ends up sat on a desk in somebody else’s office are a great way to keep the profile of your firm in the forefront of your new/potential customers’ minds. Simple as they are they can extend the reach and influence of your trade show attendance well into the future and the possibilities of this should never be underestimated.

It’s Not Just the Early Bird that Catches the Worm

As shows wind down people begin to drift off; be clear with staff that they should remain until the show is over, the doors closed and the last potential customer or contact has left the building. Some of the best prospects can be found loitering towards the end of the show; they may prefer the less crowded atmosphere and also the opportunity to talk to you when things have quietened down. This also means you can invest more time in these late visitors and the results can be surprising. Often, serious attendees, intending to buy, are the ones who appear at this late stage in the show. software download Jeremy works as a freelance writer for a number of marketing agencies both online and offline. In the real world he loves attending trade shows and looks at how to successfully make an impression when attending them.