If you use a search engine to find “creative trade show ideas” you’d better get ready to be overwhelmed. Everybody’s got ideas on how to get traffic into your booth and close sales. The problem is, depending on your venue and the type of business you own, you may be wasting your time on some of those “creative” ideas. The best bet: an elegant, professional quality booth, and be the solution to a problem your visitors may not even know they have.
A few trade show goers may actually have something in mind when they attend the exhibition, but many are exploring, waiting for that one thing to present itself that will make their lives richer. That’s where you and your booth come in. Sure, some people will smile politely at a magician, or accept some candy from a bowl, but that’s child’s play. If you’re serious about growing your business with trade shows, you must display, above all else, seriousness of purpose.
Your first chance at communicating this to potential customers is with your booth design and layout. If you have the opportunity to choose your location at the venue, by all means do it. But if you get assigned a particular space, you’re going to have to make do. That’s where versatility in booth construction is crucial. Start with your flooring material. Got a 20’x20′ roll of carpet and a booth that’s only 20’x15′? Problem. Solution? Flooring that you can adjust with the dimensions of your booth at any given show. Take along as much as you need, then pack it up and take it home. Renting carpet and padding from the venue can be extremely costly, but owning easily transportable and reusable flooring can save your business a bundle while being attractive and upscale. Keep the booth design slim, but elegant and let your product speak for itself.
Your second and perhaps final chance to hook your potential customers will be your pitch. Do not, under any circumstances, wait for them to come to you. Because they won’t. If you believe in your business, in your product or service, you want to tell others about it. Be in front of your booth (not behind a table) and engage visitors with questions about what they’re looking for at the show. “What do you think of the exhibition?” “Are you looking for anything special today?” “Have you heard about us before?” These are great questions that communicate confidence and intent. Help them explore their needs and together you will discover a way in which your product is the answer to their dreams.
Scantily clad models, programmed robots, and expensive giveaways might be creative, but in the long run, integrity will win the trade show day.