The Trade Show Genius

It doesn’t take much to be a trade show genius: planning, execution, and follow-up are really the only three things you need to worry about. And with some helpful insights, these are mastered easily.

In the photo above, you see one booth staffer standing alone at his booth, hovering over a computer. The next booth down, however, has many visitors and others looking toward the booth. What’s the difference? Likely, it was the attention paid to planning and execution before the event.

What is your goal for the trade show? Is it to make industry contacts or to close sales? How does your booth communicate your goals? Let’s take the guy in the foreground of the photo: if there were no one at your booth, would you be standing over a computer? Or would you be out in front of your booth, initiating conversations with passersby? Our lone booth staffer is communicating disinterest, whether he means to or not. What does your booth and your staff say about your presence at the trade show?

Some events, like the one above, have standardized booth sizes, especially when it’s for a small business trade show. But really good ones will allow for spaces to change and be fluid in their design. Having your space mapped out beforehand to maximize engagement with potential customers is crucial. Don’t hide behind your table or counter. That creates an “us/them” scenario. Be willing to step out and engage. Design your booth so traffic is attracted to and lingers in your space. If it’s closed off and you’re behind a counter, it’s really easy to pass you by. But if the space is inviting, you and your staff are on your feet and initiating contact, you’re much more likely to close a deal.

Remember you’re communicating much more than information about your product. You’re talking about the integrity of your business, the lifestyle of your potential customers, and their needs. Listen to their stories, elicit information by asking intelligent and sincere questions, and suggest your product as a path to an improved quality of life for them. Follow up personally or with an email or phone call to make sure they’re happy with you and your service. It really is quite simple. It doesn’t take a genius to be a Trade Show Genius.