Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors
Ready for a few amazing trade show tips? Exhibiting your products or ideas at a trade show or similar convention requires a lot of preparation. It’s all too easy to waste a lot of valuable resources at an exhibit. If you hope to earn a high return on your investment, you need to set clear objectives and a make a detailed plan. From staffing to booth design, promotional items to sales tactics, and more, there’s a lot to keep track of. That’s why I put together this list of trade show tips for exhibitors, in the hopes that it will make your next exhibit a little easier and a lot more profitable.
Now, on to the tips, we’ve broken them into three categories to make things more reader-friendly.
Pre-Exhibit Trade Show Tips
Set Measurable Goals
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the biggest reason why new trade show exhibitors fail to turn a profit or at least view the exhibit as a success is because they fail to set measurable goals. Whether it’s a dollar amount or a certain number of new leads, you need to set goals for your show.
Do Your Research
Not every show is right for your budget or your business. While everyone knows to check the basics like venue size and rental fees, dig a little deeper if you want to maximize your ROI.
Set Your Budget
Before you make one purchase or even rent your space, set your budget. Like I said earlier, it’s incredibly easy for trade show exhibits to turn into money pits. So, set a concrete budget before you spend one dime – and stick to the budget!
Mind the Drop Dead Date
Most venues will set a certain date that you can cancel your spot by without incurring any fees. Keep that date in mind just in case things change and you need to pull out.
Build Your Team
This is about more than finding the people. This is one of the best trade show tips. Your team should be briefed on their goals and tactics well before the show. Go over the key talking points, some conversation openers, and things to look out for. If you can, try to do a “practice run” before the show where you act as a customer and go through the motions with your staff. It’ll make everything run a lot smoother on game day. If you are traveling out of town, we recommend putting an ad on Craigslist to find help!
Encourage Visitor Interaction
One of the other key mistakes that new trade show exhibitors make is hiding behind their table and waiting for attendees to come to them. If you want to make the most of your exhibit, get out from behind the table and bring people to your booth. You need to…
Be Energetic & Show Interest
If you’re hosting the booth, you need to be enthusiastic and pay attention to people. Greet people as they walk by and don’t just focus on sales. Ask people how they’re doing and what their favorite part of the show was. If you build rapport instead of just going straight to the cold sale speech, you’ll get a lot more from your efforts.
It doesn’t matter what size of booth you rent, there never seems to be quite enough space, especially when things get busy. Keep that in mind and try to hide any unnecessary items like your carrying cases and bags. Put them on the table if you have room or in the vehicle if it’s not too far.
Mind the Competition
You don’t want to waste time pitching your product or service to the competition, but, you do want to pick up on what they’re doing well and not so well. Competitive awareness is a key part of making your booth stand out and maximizing your tradeshow ROI.
Don’t forget to have fun!
Yes, hosting a trade show exhibit can be extremely stressful, but these events are supposed to be fun. Take the time to get out there and enjoy a few of the other exhibits and get to know people. Like I said earlier, it’s not just about sales. Enjoy the experience while you learn and it’s guaranteed to be a good day, even if you don’t quite reach your goal.
That’s not a typo, it amazed me when I first found out how many trade show exhibitors neglect to follow up on there leads. This isn’t like dating, the three-day rule does not apply. You should be contacting your qualified leads on the same or next day. And if you’re so really savvy…
Make A Chart
What kind of chart do you ask? If the event was even so remotely successful you’re going to want to do it again next year. So make a complete chart of your expenditures, revenue, and profits, so you can compare and improve upon your performance year by year. Learn from your mistakes and double down on your successes.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Look, a successful and profitable trade show exhibit is not an easy thing to produce, especially the first time around. Not everything is going to go so as planned and mistakes will be made. Don’t be too hard on yourself though, everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you react to your problems that counts.
Well, that’s it for the best trade show tips. I hope you enjoyed the list and if you can think of anything I missed, so please let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading, good luck, and take care.
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