Selling products or services is always a goal at trade shows, but networking can be an even bigger addition to your bottom line. Does your trade show booth contribute to the networking process or detract from it?
Some of the most successful business owners will tell you that attending trade shows can be a boon for small, developing businesses. But many of these fledgling companies are hamstrung by their outdated or poorly designed trade show booth. In order to network properly at a trade show, your booth should be attractive to the eyes and attention of the people with whom you want to engage. Your booth should also be staffed in a way that lets you out to make contacts with others when time allows. Let’s take a look at some qualities of trade show booths that can help you do these things.
Design – when was the last time your booth had a makeover? A fresh look is a start, but it’s only a start. The booth needs to be designed in such a way that traffic in and out can move intuitively and easily. This will encourage networking by making it easy for you to get to customers and others and for them to actually want to get to you. If it’s too complicated, they’ll pass you by. There goes your opportunity to make a great connection. Design for simplicity and ease of access and your return will be more opportunities.
Capture – how is your booth and staff set up to capture information? If you let a single contact leave your booth without securing their contact information, you’ve lost another opportunity. Once you have them engaged in the booth, make sure you have a simple and very quick way to get their info. This is not the time to ask for date of birth, length of employment, and political affiliation. They’ll walk away. Quickly record name, numbers, email, and a note about your association with them. After they’ve gone, add a note about your conversation to bring a visual image to mind when you’re going back over the information later or getting ready to contact them again. If you can do all this quickly and efficiently with an electronic method, go for it. But if you’re a small business and need to stick to pen and paper, make sure the paper is pre-printed with the information fields and that you have similar contact information about yourself to give to your guest.
Networking ability is a key function of your trade show presence; make the most of your opportunities with a well-designed and smoothly operated trade show booth.