Trade shows are an excellent platform to meet and engage with your customers and prospects face-to-face.
This, according to experts, allows brands to initiate conversations and build long-term relationships.
However, trade shows can also be quite challenging if you’re not prepared.
Some marketers still think that by simply showing up, they have done 99% of the job. That’s not true. In fact, it is possible to attend a trade show and fail to benefit from it at all. Instead, you will have lost a lot of money and wasted precious time that would have been better invested elsewhere. Therefore, it's essential that you plan for these events from a very early stage.
If you’re attending one, you need to make it count.
Fortunately, with a few planning hacks and trade show tips, nothing is impossible. Here are five trade show tips to extract maximum value from the event.
Actively ackonwledge and engage with passers by
A lot of exhibitors take this for granted. It doesn’t help when you just sit there like a lump as attendees walk past. They will stop at your competitor's booth and that's one opportunity lost. So, make it your responsibility to take notice of every attendee who seems to be interested in your booth. Take five seconds to make eye contact and say “hi, welcome...” If people get the feeling that you don’t care, they too will act like they couldn’t be bothered.
Attendees are always in a hurry - don’t waste their time
Given that trade shows only happen once in a while, attendees will want to rush through the exhibition hall out of fear that they might miss out on something by the time the event closes. So you shouldn’t take a lot of their time. With this in mind, keep your intros brief and to the point; and your responses short and information-packed.
Attendees have been on their feet all day - give them a seat
At trade shows, there are usually no special seating arrangements for attendees. So they keep walking from one stand to another until they get tired at which point they will try to find somewhere to sit and rest, or they'll just go home. You can use this to your advantage by providing a row of chairs at your booth and actively inviting people to sit. Aside from fostering some brand goodwill from attendees it also provides you a captive audience to engage with.
Make friends first - sell later
Never start conversations with a sales pitch. Don’t even try to mention your products or services until you’ve uncovered the reason an attendee took interest in your booth. Maybe they want to sit and rest first. So, rather than try to push a product, take a minute to find out where their interests lie and afterwards, you can discuss the product.
Fun booths are people magnets
Of course, there is never an alternative to professionalism. Even at the trade show, ensure that every staff behaves in a professional and respectable manner. However, who said that there is no room for fun in professionalism? You can still play music at a reasonable volume, share some jokes with your booth visitors, or use a prize wheel to catch attendees’ eyes. Just remember to keep it professional.
It also helps to use a lot of signs, banners, and company literature that tell visitors who you really are. No one wants to guess it.
And to help them remember you, one final recommendation for our trade show tips - give out business cards and promo items such as shirts. You’ll never regret it.
What trade show tips do you recommend for all first timers out there?