Attending a trade show is a goal-oriented process. Make the most of the investment by planning ahead and attending the most relevant events. If you’re new to the scene, make sure there’s a clearly defined purpose, you know what to look for, and you have a firm grip on engaging the audience. Trade show booths are ideal places to meet potential customers, vendors, investors, and more.
Planning Your Trade Show Appearance
Show up at a trade show event without a plan, and you’ll most likely be wandering the aisles. Industry leaders from all walks of life make it their priority to be there. You have to be organized to get anything positive out of the experience.
- Research specific trade shows. There are over 9,000 annually in the U.S.; it’s important research sources such as the Trade Show News Network to see who goes to them, how they feel about the events, and which ones are more reputable based on independent audits.
- Formulate a strategy for trade show booths, what is to be displayed, and the personnel to bring along. It’s also a good idea to make contacts ahead of time, if possible, and set appointments.
- The trade show booth represents your brand and company. Determine the size, design, and layout well in advance.
- Make sure your staff is carefully selected and trained. They should be the ones asking customers questions, an effective strategy for getting leads and following up.
Getting More from the Event
If you’re visiting a show, chances are you are looking for real solutions rather than just to see what’s new. Solutions for a client’s or customer’s problem or goal are what are being offered. Here are several considerations when attending a trade show:
- Consider who the exhibitor is targeting, what their goal seems to be, and how they use promotional products and marketing tools.
- Approach as if you’re interested and always ask questions. It is the solutions to focus on rather than individual products.
- Find out how the exhibitor’s products have yielded successful solutions, who sells them, and what makes them most unique.
- Spend as much time as necessary, but if what’s being offered is not interesting, don’t waste time. Show floors are a busy place; a 10-minute conversation is enough time to build a rapport, exchange contact information, and make a memorable impression.
- Engaging an audience is the most important aspect of manning trade show booths. Be and look ready to talk; otherwise prospects will move on. In case they seem interested, have a plan for handling the next stage of engaging a potential partner. Talking is important, but you should focus on asking questions to compliment your pitch. This will help build your rapport in the short time you have.
- Exhibits such as pop up displays can attract a multitude of people in a single day. An efficient strategy for lead capture is essential. From business cards to prize drawings, getting contact details is part of the trade show experience. Also, don’t be afraid to take a break and jot down notes on a card. Otherwise, you’ll likely forget some details after having so many conversations.
With a little time and effort, your trade show experience can be a successful one. Whether a visitor or an exhibitor, have an open mind and think about how the rapports you forge will help down the road.
Northwest Creative Imaging is known for products such as trade show booths, displays, tents, and accessories, in addition to innovative pop up displays which help clients stand out. The company also raises awareness of important events in many industries.