You’re in business to earn a living, to make money. So is every other business owner on the planet. So what is going to make your business stand apart from the crowd at the trade show? How do you communicate to potential customers in a way that says, “I’m what you need”?
Many businesses do this by promoting their products, a very standard approach, but not necessarily the one that’s going to sell or build a loyal customer base. The industry is replete with firms to help you market your product, but there are few who help you tell your story. And that’s the key to lasting customer relationships. Translating a story into a trade show booth is easier than it sounds.
Your customers need to feel as though they have discovered a mentor, a person/business that cares for them and wants to be with them for a long time, providing wisdom, guidance, and products or services that will make them successful. At a trade show, this must first be addressed by the appearance of your booth. What does it say to those walking past? Is the booth designed in such a way as to invite and welcome people to stop? Is it attractive, with thought given to what your desired base would be drawn to? Does it put staff outside the booth to engage or does it hide them behind tables and displays? To begin the conversation, the booth design must be like the initial ask for a first date. There has to be something more behind it that attracts potential customers.
An open, customer-centric booth will highlight your product or service, but put all the focus on the customer. That’s where knowledgable, engaging booth staff comes in. A simple, “Hi! Welcome to xyz!” isn’t going to cut it. Key questions will help your customers learn that you are interested in them, in identifying what it is they truly need, and helping them determine that you are the one they can trust for help and answers. Quite simply, your story is theirs. Listen, listen, listen. Draw helpful conclusions from their own stories and determine how to apply your business as the guide to their success. Once the focus is directly on them, and only indirectly on your product, you will have secured a loyal and valuable customer who will carry word of your model to friends and colleagues, generating even more stories and more business.
The trade show is an opportunity to showcase your product, but even more importantly, it is an opportunity to engage customers, listen to their needs, and help them discover a solution.