If you joined a gym and expected a lean, flexible physique to appear overnight without ever lifting a weight or getting your heart rate up, well, you’d be pretty disappointed. The lack of expected results doesn’t mean the gym didn’t do its job; it means your expectations were unrealistic. Sadly the same can be said of many businesses and their approach to the trade show. The reality is that trade shows do work, but only if you do a little work, too. If you want to boost sales, make industry contacts, and increase your marketplace presence, trade shows can be the boon you’re looking for. They don’t require huge expenditures, but rather a little planning, some organizational skills, and a level of energy that will last until the last patron goes home.
What are your goals for the trade show? Knowing these in advance will help you target your energy and your potential buyer. If you have a product or service to sell, consider a trade show promotional, advertised in advance, to guarantee traffic to your booth. If your goals include time for yourself to peruse the show, make sure you have enough staff at your booth to allow your absence. Nothing kills a show faster than an unstaffed booth.
Preparing your display is crucial. Given the space you have to work with, how can you maximize it? Keep your product display simple, uncluttered, and professional. Make use of portable lighting if your budget will allow, to accentuate the product, the brand and logo, and the space. Portable flooring like interlocking foam mats can increase the visual appeal of your booth and also take some strain off the feet and backs of the staffers. The use of technology is a great eye-catcher; just make sure it can run independently.
You have an attractive booth, so how do you get folks to stop by? If you wait for them to make the first move, your trade show will be a waste. Plan some interesting questions or statements with which to approach passers-by and be confident about it. A simple, “Hi there,” isn’t going to cut it. Ask if they’ve ever tried your product before, then offer to introduce them to it. Map out several ice-breakers like this that offer a segue to your product, and don’t be embarrassed to talk it up.
Show up to a trade show with a case of product and a folding table, and you’ll go home with exactly that. Give it just a little forethought and effort, and you’ll come away with leads, new and loyal customers, and a greater confidence in your ability to tackle the trade show!