Like many business owners, you may have been reading a lot about the various branding benefits that come with trade shows, and thinking that it’s high time your business started tapping into all that potential. Countless lucrative business deals occur at trade shows every year, and while simply turning up will do more for your networking than never touching trade shows, you’re still going to be a drop in an ocean. You need to be putting the effort in to ensure your appearance at this trade show is a success. Here’s a guide to making the most of your next trade show.
First Impressions Count for a Lot
It’s been shown that first impressions have a major correlation with the long-term success of any relationship, whether in business or otherwise. We form opinions of people and things as soon as we lay eyes on them, and this goes for the kind of prospects you’re going to be trying to attract at your next trade show. The point we’re getting at here is that you really can’t afford to brush over the booth you’re going to set up there. It needs to be well-presented, and unique enough to catch people’s gaze as they pass by countless other business booths. Check out some businesses like
Everything Displays, and you’ll have a wide range of different booth styles to choose from. It might be worth looking at some pictures and videos of last year’s show, taking strong mental notes on the booths in your niche, and then coming up with ideas as to how you can make yours stand out from the crowd. Time after time, the real “winners” at trade shows are those that understand how much brand image affects consumer’s opinions.
Make it Bustle
When you’re traveling, and looking for somewhere to sample the local street food, which stand do you go to; the one with barely anyone waiting or the one with a long queue? As long as you’re not squeezed for time, you’ll go for the more popular one, right? The same principle applies to trade shows. Social proof always generates trust, and we’re seeing this more and more with the impact social media has had on digital marketing. If you can afford it, be sure to bring more booth attendants than you’d originally thought you needed. Even if the people around your booth are mostly dressed in branded shirts, people will naturally notice a larger crowd, and will want to know what all the fuss is about. Furthermore, the more attendants you have at your booth, the more people you’ll be able to engage with at once, and the more people you’ll attract to your set-up. As long as their customer service skills are up to scratch, the more people you have at your booth, the better.
Reach Out to your Fellow Attendees
If you really want to get the most out of the trade show you’ve got coming up, make a point of marketing yourself before the show actually starts. It may sound surprising, but you can usually do much more good for your brand before the show than during it. A lot of big brands reach out to their fellow attendees a few weeks before the show. Try setting up some meetings with them at your booth before the show actually starts. Make sure the emphasis in this meeting is on networking, rather than selling. There should always be more talk about what they do, rather than what you do. If possible, try to source some phone numbers and email addresses out of these meetings. Contact information like this can be exceedingly handy when you’re preparing for future trade shows.
Trade at your Trade Show
Although most trade shows are tied to a certain industry, the people attending it are going to have a wide range of backgrounds, interests and wants. Loosely speaking, you might share a target market with many of the businesses there, but very few are going to have the same ideal customer as you. This means that there are probably going to be at least some business reps there who will be willing to trade information and leads with you. This is something that goes over a lot of newbies’ heads, but when you take a step back, it’s one of the best things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your attendance. In the best of cases, it can double your sales opportunities instantly! Try not to trade information with your direct competitors, as this will lead to your customers being hounded by several businesses in the same niche. This can be overwhelming for the prospect to say the least! However, it’s a great idea to partner up with some brands selling different products or services, yet tend to target a similar audience as you.
Make it Interactive
If there’s any possible way for you to make your trade show booth interactive, then the people checking it out will be more inclined to stick around, and a crowd will be more likely to form. This goes back to our “Make it Bustle” point. Obviously, some businesses are going to be more conducive to a trade show display than others. Try to find some way of letting the people at the show interact with your product or services. This will not only generate interest, but also give people a much better understanding of your value proposition. Pretty much every kind of business offering can be presented using an interactive touch screen display, but the choice is really down to you.
Make it a Competition
Obviously, you should make sure all your trade show staff are well-prepared by the time the show is just around the corner. They need to know what your business aims to get out of the show, and the best ways to utilize the resources they have to that end. If getting everyone informed on these factors is going to be a walk in the park, then you might want to add another dimension to it. Get the very best salespeople in your business on the booth team, and then set out the rules for a fun little competition, pitting them against each other to see who can generate the most leads. Put a prize up for grabs, but don’t make it too valuable. When you have a booth full of salespeople who are really at each other’s throats, it can be overwhelming and off-putting to any prospects who might approach you.
Start as Early as You Can
As with many things in life, the people who get the most success out of trade shows are the ones who get stuck into the work as early as possible. Things such as pinning down the space you want, choosing and designing your booth, working out the details of how it will be shipped and installed, and all the other tasks, can quickly add up. You don’t want time catching up with you when you’ve got a show to attend. If you’re having to sort out little details just before the show, you’ll be shunted into stress mode, and your state of mind will be off by the time you actually have to start attracting prospects. It’s important to have a little time to prepare yourself mentally if you want to make the most of a trade show. Make sure that all the little organizational details are dealt with early, and you’ll be able to focus on what’s really important.