Attending a trade show is one thing, but being a successful exhibitor at a trade show is another thing. It can be overwhelming, but it’s important to stay calm. You don’t have to be a trade show expert to knock it out of the park, but you do need to keep some tips in mind.
Here are the top 14 things you should know before your trade show:
#1. Bring press kits
Make it easy on journalists and bloggers that might stop by your booth. Trust me. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they’re going to write about your company/product. If they have to struggle to remember your name, they may decide not to write about you. There are plenty of other exhibitors that could make their story.
You’re one of many booths at a trade show. Don’t get lost in the sea. Hand out something memorable that people actually want to take home with them. Don’t just hand out a hundred business cards. Chances are the people won’t remember which business card is you by the end of the day, unless they have an amazing memory. Plus, they’ll have a lot of other swag from other vendors.
#3. Practice makes perfect
Make sure you have your pitch down pat. You want to come across as confident and prepared, but not rehearsed. Practice your short pitch so people understand who you are and what your business does. If you have to spend 20 minutes explaining just so they understand your product, then you’ve got some work to do.
#4. Be sociable
Practice makes perfect, but you also want to make personal connections with everyone that stops by your booth. They’re much more likely to do business with you if they like you as a person. If you genuinely try to get to get to know them and their business, you’ll make a lasting impression.
#5. Content reigns king
You should be posting on social media, writing blogs, doing Facebook live, ANYTHING, throughout the trade show itself. Be the go-to source for trade show coverage and show the people of the internet what they’re missing at the show. Not only will you be connecting with people in person, but you can also connect with people online. And if you aren’t already doing content marketing, you should start ASAP but, that’s a topic for another time.
#6. Hey good looking
Your booth should looking enticing. It should make people want to stop by and figure out what you’re all about. So make it visually appealing. If you throw together stuff last minute, people will tell. Make your visuals tell a story that they will be interested in learning more about.
#7. Be proactive
Don’t wait for people to come to you. You have to be proactive and engage with people passing by. They aren’t going to stop at every booth, so talk them into stopping at yours and prove to them why your booth is beneficial. Just start a conversation and ask questions. See what their needs are and show them how your company can help.
#8. Show your product in action
Memories last longer if they have a tangible action associated with them. Show them what your product does and what problem it solves. Let them try it out for themselves. They’ll remember who you are and what your product does more-so at the end of the day than they will the pamphlet you handed them in passing. You’re just one of the many they will see throughout the day, so don’t blend in with the rest.
#9. Leads, leads, leads
Figure out the best way for you to collect leads and please make it easy. People don’t want to fill out a long laundry list of items just to be contacted a week later. Give them a short option. That could mean them throwing their business card in a bowl to be added to your email list. Whatever you choose, don’t make it complicated. The longer it takes, the less people will engage with it.
#10. Follow up
You should make it a point to touch base with your contacts within a couple days after the trade show. The longer you wait, the longer your are off their mind. Plus, chances are they met someone else whose product could solve their needs. If that other company gets back to them first, you could be out of a sell. Don’t procrastinate.
#11. Dress the part
So you didn’t get much sleep last night and have been traveling all week. Don’t let that show. Dress for success. Don’t show up hungover. I don’t care if the trade show is in Vegas, you’re there for a reason. You can still have fun, but also be professional. Because remember, you’re there for your company.
#12. Social media
You should be marketing the fact that you’re going to be at this trade show before it happens. Let your followers know where you’ll be located. Build the excitement around your booth. Tease them about what you’ll be handing out or what your visuals will be. If you build up some hype around it, you will already be ahead of the game.
Don’t make the mistake of overspending. You don’t need to send everyone and their mom to the trade show. Send the people who are going to do the best job. So send salespeople, but also send operational people who are product experts and can answer all the technical questions. They can help sell your product too.
#14. Choose wisely
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to go to every trade show. Choose the ones that will be the most beneficial for you and your company. Quantity isn’t better than quality and trade shows come and go. Plan it out in advance so you can save.
Whether you are a trade show expert or a trade show novice, go forth and prosper! And remember, have fun. I know it can be hectic and expensive but, put your best foot forward and enjoy yourself.