When you exhibit at a trade show, you are not only competing with your competitors, you are competing against every single exhibitor. So, how do you stand out?
Many companies use the same tactics to attract attention – lead retrieval units, models, interactive activities, etc. But, there are smarter ways to approach trade shows that will make you stand out from everyone else, and leave a lasting impression on the mind of visitors.
#1 Ask open ended questions and break the ice. Attendees often walk the trade show floor with wandering eyes and thoughts. Your goal is to engage prospective clients. If attendees are approached aggressively, they tend to be annoyed or feel defensive and leave. If they’re ignored, that is even worse. You never know who is passing you by—that person could be a big decision-maker. To engage prospects, ask a non-threatening question like, “What are you hoping to get out of the show?”
#2 Plan ahead. Before attending the show, take an afternoon to go over key strategy and main points with your staff. Be sure they each have a unique 30-second elevator speech prepared that highlights your product or company energetically but non-aggressively. Remember though, don’t give this pitch until you have something that the prospect could actually need.
#3 A first impression will be a lasting one. Try and do something different than the average trade show exhibitor. Whether that means constructing unique signage and going beyond industry or branded color schemes, or hosting unique interactive activities or demos in your booth, don’t be afraid to be bold. Give attendees something they won’t be able to resist as they walk by.
#4 Intensify your product displays. If you are highlighting a product in your booth, make it noticeable. Use lighting and place it in a location at a different height from your marketing materials. Attendees are at the show to see what you’re offering, so get their attention. If you are featuring a particular product or item, make sure you bring more than one to the show. Anything can happen in transit or even on the show floor.
#5 Make an action plan for follow up. Plan your method for following up prior to the show and make it easy for your booth staffers. Digital scanners are often used as well as tracking or customized apps for lead generation. But, if additional details are not captured, that lead will not be qualified. Write any pertinent information and what you promised the client in your lead notes. Things like, “follow up immediately with phone call” or “requested product brochure and wants pricing” so that your sales reps know exactly what the customer was promised. Be sure to record any information that will assist you or your sales team in prompt and detailed follow up after the show.
#6 If you’re not using social media, you are missing out. Create a hashtag for your presence and give followers and attendees compelling reasons why they’d want to come visit your booth. Maybe you are offering a special giveaway, a new product announcement, or even the opportunity to be the first to have access to new data. Make your posts personal, and engage with your followers one-on-one. Promo or teaser videos or even pictures of planning and set up are enticing to followers. Be sure to promote your hashtag during the show, or use the event’s hashtag if one is available.
A successful trade show is dependent upon proper planning, execution and follow-up. Even more important is the positive attitudes and communication among your booth staff. Give your attendees something to remember, and if they have fun doing it, you are sure to be a success!
By: Jennifer Kilbride –