Great positive coaching reminders to prepare for trade shows.
Rock Your Next Tradeshow
When you go to a tradeshow, you are actively illustrating that your brand is trustworthy. There's no better way to make both an initial and lasting impression on a potential client. So you need to make every tradeshow moment count!
So you’re prepping for your next tradeshow. I know how you feel, seeing as I’m getting ready for an upcoming tradeshow myself. I know what you want out of your tradeshow, too. You want to stand out in a sea of booths (possibly manned by your direct competition), to attract that ideal prospective client, and then to fully engage that person in your business, even if only for a few minutes. You want to exchange business cards with that ideal prospective client, so you both walk away excited about the future of your business relationship.
When you go to a tradeshow, you are actively illustrating that your brand is trustworthy. There is no better (or worse) way to make both an initial and lasting impression on a potential client. So you need to make every tradeshow moment count!
Feel a bit pressured? Don’t worry – you got this!
Say it with me: I am going to ROCK my next tradeshow!
On Display: You and Your Business
Ask yourself: what can I put on display that really expresses my drive and motivation, my products and services, and my brand? Every single thing you place on your table and in your boxed off area is a reflection of your business and how you operate. Prepare for your tradeshow with a confidence representative of your business practices.
Use that space wisely!
- Don't present your tradeshow booth as though you’re in interior design for the elderly. Absolutely everyone is tired of this unoriginal, overdone set up: a table, complete with tablecloth and/or doilies, and flowers in uninspiring vases…blah!
- Do use your space to highlight your brand. Choose fabrics and decorative objects that do not distract from you and your brand message, and that align with your brand colors. Be sure your signage and your decorative colors match exactly.
- Say no to handfuls of cheesy, cheap products adorned with your logo. Of course, people love swag and freebie items, but you need to think differently. Go beyond pens and stress balls!
- Yes, you should put your logo on a high quality giveaway trinket, but get creative! Find a clever item relating to your industry and/or your brand message. Give away a treat that your target audience would appreciate having or using. Your freebie need not be expensive – being clever and memorable at this point is worth far more in the long run.
- Don't use enter-to-win tactics on big-ticket items. If an iPad or an HDTV has no connection to your business, your traffic will mostly consist of people who desire that item, rather than your ideal potential clients. Sure, these hot items will convince people to fill out an entry sheet, so you can gain as much information as possible. But if they’re not your ideal clients, what could you possibly have to gain? Big-ticket giveaways are bribery and bribery is temporary! Again, it all comes down to trust. People buy stuff from people they trust. Bribery is see-through.
- Do be sure you have enough team members available to adequately man the expected amount of tradeshow traffic. Otherwise you might miss out on an opportunity.
Pull in Perfect Prospects
Now that you’re all set up and your space is all decorated and ready to go, how do you attract tradeshow attendees?
- Smile. This is number one! A stand out smile is inviting to almost anyone.
- Engage. You are the biggest proponent of your business, so you are eager to engage and sell your brand. So always be sure your tradeshow team is also engaged! You’ve seen it before: book reading, cell phone chatting, texting, etc – tradeshow vendor employees completely disengaged and disinterested in tradeshow attendees. Seriously: how embarrassing.
- Educate. Your team members should be adequately trained to handle any questions presented. Your tradeshow team should always know how to best present your business and your brand as competent and professional. Go over common objection handling immediately prior to the trade show to close any knowledge gaps.
- Ask. There are hundreds of sales experts who will tell you that asking questions to your potential client is a huge contributor to your sales success. People like to talk about their lives – so let them! All you need to do is ask the right questions. Your objective is to allow that prospective client to see how your business fulfills their needs.
- Develop. When the point in the conversation is appropriate, offer your business card and ask politely if they have a card or if they would like to share their information. Needless to say, when the tradeshow is over it’s time to follow up and develop that relationship.
- Thank. Say Thank You, and often! Be sure to thank people for providing information, even just for stopping by to chat. You never know when you’ll run into that person again; a thank you will assure your second meeting gets off on the right foot!
Trust me; you can rock your next tradeshow! You can make your tradeshow booth interesting and engaging from afar and up close, attracting the people you want and then nurturing those budding relationships. Have confidence in your business and your brand and your tradeshow experience will be rewarding.
Learn more about the author, Nora Richardson.
Comment on this article
Posted by James Goldsmith, Seattle, Washington |
Jul 26, 2012
Posted by Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC, Nashville, Tennessee |
Jul 27, 2012
What great tips. As someone who attends more trade shows as a guest and not as a vendor, I can tell you that I agree 100% about the giveaways. The cheap pens and key chains don't interest me.
I would also like to add one thing to your list. In addition to asking questions of potential prospects, be sure to listen to what they say. Don't be in a rush to jump in with how much your product will help them. I have truly appreciated the vendors who really listen to my needs.
Posted by Nora Richardson, Charleston, South Carolina |
Jul 28, 2012
Ahh, good point, Pam. I did not clearly state that that listening is key...because to me, why ask a question if you are not going to listen to the answer to draw out more questions so you truly understand the problem. Asking questions and listening to answers go hand and hand like yin and yang.
I also hate when I ask a question to vendors and they are only programed to say certain things, no matter what the question. It always sounds so rehearsed and salesy. You leave their booth with a crappy trinket and feeling like a stooge for falling for their sales pitch. You never want your guests to feel like that.
Thank you for your comment! It was helpful and gives me an idea for another article on this topic.
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