Exhibiting at a trade show is an option for all types of businesses that can really pay off in getting your company name out there and encouraging new customers to check out what you are offering.
As it is usually a fairly costly thing to do, you want to make sure that you are making the most of your experience whether you are at a national event or a small one that has been arranged in your local area.
Obviously, there is plenty of preparation and advanced planning that needs doing, but this guide will look closer at what you need to do when you actually get there.
So, here is how to make your trade show experience productive, profitable and rewarding.
#1 Don’t Go Alone
While running a trade show stand can be enjoyable, to begin with, it quickly becomes tiring if you are trying to do everything all by yourself.
Having at least one other person with you will make all the difference, and it will ensure that the stand is never left unattended which can result in you missing out on business.
Even if you run the business all by yourself, bring along a friend or family member, obviously making sure that you brief them on what they should and shouldn’t be saying.
You don’t want them to make any rash promises or put any potential customers off!
#2 Dress Well
How you dress really depends on what sort of business you run and the image you are trying to get across.
In general, you want to look fairly smart as there is nothing worse than scruffy clothing for putting people off coming to speak to you!
You will also want to wear some lanyards that make you look official so check out the home page of this website for some more information.
Another option could be to wear some branded clothing that really reinforces the image of your company.
#3 Arrive in Plenty of Time
You don’t want to be rushing around trying to get everything set up at the last minute, so give yourself plenty of time on the day of the event.
You will need to find out where your stand is located, get your stand ready and also have a wander around so you can get a better idea of the layout of the venue.
If there are any stands that you think you would like to pay a visit to yourself, it is worth marking these out for later.
#4 Double Check Your Checklist
You will want to have a checklist all planned out so you can record the information of everyone who visits your stand including their contact information, why they are interested in your company and the action you will take to follow up. If you are giving away tote bags and other branded gifts from your stand, you also may want to make an inventory of exactly where these are going.
Again, this is where it pays to be prepared in advance.
#5 Stand Display
There are a lot of ideas about what makes a great trade stand, so it really all depends on what works for your company.
If you have been to these type of events before, you will have a much better idea of what you would like your stand to look like. But there are a few general rules that you can follow.
First of all, you want to make sure that there is no clutter on your stand as this can be very off-putting. Your company name should be clearly on display, probably on a big banner that catches people’s attention.
Also, you should have some more information about what your company does in bold lettering so people can easily pick out this information as they are walking past.
If you have branded giveaway items, these should all be displayed neatly so they can easily be picked up by passers-by.
#6 Attract Visitors
Of course, your stand is a great way to attract visitors but you should also be doing your bit as well.
Some visitors know exactly what they are looking for, so you probably want to give people a few seconds to take a closer look at your stand before you engage them in conversation.
You don’t necessarily have to be direct straight away – just asking ‘how are you?’ can spark off a conversation that leads back to your business. As you will be well aware, you need to spark off that initial repour before you actually start selling to people.
Once this initial contact has been made, you will then want to start going into more detail about what has attracted them to your stand. You should then start to assess in your mind how likely it is that the person will buy from you.
Remember, exhibiting at a trade show is a numbers game, so you want to speak to as many different people as possible while still giving then a decent amount of attention.
You will probably get better at striking this balance as the show goes on.
#7 Keep a Record
Your primary goal when you are exhibiting at a trade show is to generate repeat business rather than one-off customers.
Capturing the data of everyone you meet – however likely you think they are to buy from you – should be your prime goal for any future marketing and promotion activities.
As well as this, you should keep a note of what you have promised to do – whether you are going to follow-up with a phone call or email.
#8 Prepare the Follow-Up
After all your hard work, it can be very tempting to pack up, go home and rest. But remember, you still have work to do!
The whole point of generating all these leads is that you can turn them into sales, so start thinking about what message you would like to send out to them all. Also, you should give yourself a deadline to make contact. Remember that time is of the essence!
Also, you should give yourself a deadline to make contact. Remember that time is of the essence!
Are you planning to attend trade shows? What are you doing to make the most of it for your business? Share your thoughts and comments below.