Getting the most out of trade shows takes strategy, planning, and execution. Don’t expect your first event or a new event to yield your biggest client. What you can count on, using the tips below, is to get the name of your business out to the community. You may even make key contacts with whom you can follow up post-event. Over time you will develop relationships with people who may become your client or who know people who are your target client. Be patient and work hard.
8 Great Tips for Getting the Most out of Trade Shows
2. Provide an Amazing Pitch. Don’t just take the same trade show booth you took last year or the year before to your next event. Trade show attendees are there to experience your product. They want to use your magic mop or play or video game or use your app. Telling people about your product isn’t enough. No matter how great you think it is, they want to try it for themselves. You need to be creating an experience. People don’t come to trade shows to talk about products, they want to experience them.
3. Dress for Success. Just because you have a great looking trade show booth doesn’t mean you can slack off on how you look. Marketing is about everything – from what you wear to how you speak so make a great first impression by wearing clothes appropriate for your target audience and industry. A technology-based trade show may be more casual than a financial services trade show, for example. Make sure you and your team are dressed for success based on these factors.
Dress according to your industry and the tradeshow location or event and be sure to dress professional–business or business casual-and wear comfortable shoes. I love to wear heels but I find it so uncomfortable to wear heels for long periods of time while working a tradeshow. If you must, take two pairs of heels so you can change out your shoes and bring ibuprofen to take as it will help with the swelling for being in heels at a show! Men also can have shoes that are not comfortable so the same idea works for you too!
4. Train the Team. Trade show success is about more than what you wear; it’s also about being able to tell customers and prospects about your company. To do this, you need to have a well-trained team working at your booth. Don’t pick the college intern to go to a local event unless they know about the products and services you’re featuring at that event. A better choice would be someone who knows more about the full portfolio of products so they can field questions from a variety of booth visitors. The last thing you want is to be the only person who knows how to answer all the questions.
5. Know Where to Spend Money. Your trade show booth doesn’t need to be a Las Vegas style show – unless of course your business is Las Vegas style shows. For most of us, we have a marketing budget that we have to stick to. Figure out the best use of that budget. Perhaps you spend extra on a reusable swag bag or advertising on the show’s swag bag for attendees. You might revamp your existing trade show booth to add a digital workstation or create an entirely new booth to exhibit your latest product or branding. More than likely you don’t have a limited budget so take some time to think about the best use of resources.
6. Use Social Media. Connect with customers and community by making use of social media and PR provided by the show and on your own sites. Announce which shows you will be exhibiting or attending so customers can connect with you. This is especially important if you are spending time in a different city. Make the most of your time by connecting on social media and in real life with customers and prospects, making the most of the money invested in the trade show.
7. Network. In addition to connecting with existing customers and prospects, be sure you’re networking with the attendees and exhibitors at the show. They could well be your next customers or be able to introduce you to your target clients. Be patient. Building business relationships takes time. The seeds you put down at one trade show may not (and more than likely will not) pay off until you’ve developed a relationship and they understand your business as much as you understand theirs.
8. Follow Up Post-Show. This is where most businesses fail. Whether it’s following up after a local networking event or an international trade show, you’ve got to make following up with clients and leads top priority when you return to the office.
Using these tips, we think you can create a trade show strategy that’s executable and will help you meet your business goals. At EXHIB-IT! we help our clients create trade show booths that get them noticed by their target clients. Contact us today to get started on your path to trade show success.