Attending a trade show is a great way to gain new business and share your product with a target audience. With several trade shows under our belt, we have noticed the small things can make a big impact on having a successful trade show:
Know what you want to accomplish
This sounds given but don’t assume everyone on your team is clear on what you want to get out of the trade show. Is there a specific product you want to introduce? Do you want more leads? To build customer relationships? To meet with specific industry leaders? Take the time to make sure your entire team is clear on what you want to achieve, so everyone is going in the same direction during the actual event.
Offer an experience
Leave plenty of open space within your booth so people feel welcome and can spend time talking to you. If the space is poorly planned and cramped attendees will feel rushed and in the middle of traffic. Also, color selection is massive. The booth’s color palette is crucial because it sets the tone for the entire attendee experience. Do you want your booth to feel calming and sincere? Use light blues, white and some grey. Research how colors affect mood and mix it with your branding to create an attention-grabbing booth.
Stay off your phone
The last thing you want is attendees walking by while company reps are glued to their phones. Put your phone away, be aware of your surroundings and be welcoming. Step away for 15 minutes if you need to check your email, reply to messages or make a call. You can’t smile and invite people to check out your product when your face is down in your phone!
Make sure to get plenty of rest. Trade shows are a fun way to connect with people and colleagues but you’re also there to work and represent your company to the best of your ability. If you’re staying up late, barely sleeping and eating whatever is convenient while trying to be on your “A” game, your professionalism will suffer and gaining new clients will be a struggle.
Ask questions and listen!
Every attendee is getting pitched on why they should buy “this” or do business like “that”. Start by asking attendees questions about their business. Be quiet and listen to their response instead of being distracted by what you are going to say next. We recently experienced proof that this can go a long way at a trade show: Our Sales Director had an attendee thank him because he didn’t interrupt like many of the other trade booth reps he had visited. Bottom line: Ask questions, listen to what problems they are having and then present a solution through your product.
Trade shows are a great opportunity to update your online network and strengthen your brand story. Designate a team member to snap candid photos and video at the event. Use this content to post to social media, your website and connect online with like-minded people to drive awareness. Find out if the event is using a hashtag and get in on the conversation by posting behind the scene photos, quotes and highlights of the event. This CEDIA 2014 video is a good example of using a trade show experience to create content other companies will want to share with their network, while embracing your brand: