Four Ways to Win at Trade Shows

If you’ve ever had to represent your company at a trade show or even set-up a booth for your company, you’ve more than likely encountered one if not all of these scenarios.  First, usually set-up is at general time for everyone.  Which basically means all the competition looms around the corner, snooping, or just "innocently" popping in your booth to say ‘hello’.  Right, like you’re really here to see how I’m doing and to offer a cordial greeting.  Next!  Secondly, it’s always great to see a familiar face like a client.  Unfortunately, you know the competition gets to see their face too.  Excuse me Mr. Client, can you please avoid booths number 10, 23, 31….  Third and most importantly you have to be "ON" the entire time (if you care to make it a success).  By being "ON" I mean greeting new potential prospects with a kind smile without a break.  You’ve been there before and have the perma-smile to prove it.

Here’s four points to help make the most of this opportunity.

1.  Don’t sit down.  Sitting down during the trade show / expo, while all your visitors are standing, sends the body language message of  "I’m here but really don’t want to be."  So stand up tall the entire time and take special consideration of your footwear selection.  Never take your shoes off and never wear new shoes!

2.  Offer to shake your visitor’s hand and introduce yourself.  You are the first person they’ll associate with your company after all.  It’s your first impression to make on some of these visitors so make it count.  Immediately engage your visitors by greeting them with a smile.  If you’re giving away freebies, offer them one.  If you’re running a "guess how many jelly beans" contest, let them know you want them to participate. 

 3.  Learn the 10 second rule.  If you have a visitor in your booth, you generally have 10 seconds to earn their attention for a more lengthy chat.   And if you do, you can ask your open-ended questions so you can build more of a profile of this person and their company.  Remember you are at the show to learn about others and to qualify who is an ideal prospect for your company and who is not.  Besides, these shows can be pricey for a 10×10 booth, so make the most out of your allotted time.

4. Post show follow-up is huge.  This is how you pay for your time and expenses for the expo / trade show.  Here’s a couple of tips on making this part easy.  Before the event starts make sure you’ve written your thank you notes.  Leave the attendee’s name blank (you’ll gather their b-card later).  When you do trade b-cards at the show or they put theirs in the drawing, be sure to write a quick note of something you learned about that person on the back.  You’ll want to reference it later (they’ll be impressed too).  Also, you may want to keep your schedule flexible for the following week after the show.  A hot-lead may want an appointment.  So be ready!

Bonus, here’s a couple of sites I think you’ll find helpful in planning for your next show.  www.tradeshowmarketing.com, www.trade-show-advisor.com, and an article by Susan Friedmann I found helpful on About.com called 10 Ways to Master the Trade Show Giveaway Game.

I know these will help you improve your results at the show.  If you can think of other tips that help you and your company out, please share by noting them in the comments field.  We’d love to hear your voice in the village.  And if you haven’t joined iiaVillage as a villager, it’s free, please go to the homepage and click on "Become a Villager" on the upper-right side.  Peace   -villageChief


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