Depending on your business, tradeshows can be a fantastic tool for growth. One cannot underestimate the power of the face to face conversation and solid lead generation opportunity. But tradeshows are a commitment… planning, people, dollars, etc. Some DO’S and DON’TS, if you please…
DO Pick Winners – If you traditionally get most of your leads from shows, plan to exhibit where you get the best return. Tracking and measuring your return for each show could take weeks or months, but you must be diligent. Compare this year to previous years to see trends. If you observe downward trends, make some hard decisions. There is no reason to commit resources because “we always do that show”.
DO Try New Markets – After you’ve made those hard decisions, there might be room for a show in a nontraditional market… Do it! Don’t stick with “same old, same old” if the return isn’t there. Fortune favors the bold.
DO Have A Plan – Know exactly what you want to accomplish each show, each day. Be prepared! Always get to the booth at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the show for a strategy session, and be prepared to stay at least 15 minutes for a recap meeting. No winging it!
DON’T Be Cheap – Exhibiting at a show is an investment. If you cut corners, it’s obvious to attendees. Build a dynamic, colorful booth in the appropriate amount of space, and keep it open so people can enter and engage. Book early and get the best location and comps, bring the best people and make a splash.
DO Bring Your “A” Players – Staff your booth with experts. Attendees are looking for information, and they would rather get it right away versus a follow up call.
DON’T Disengage – Work the booth, don’t occupy it. Your head buried in a laptop or mobile device sends one very powerful message to a show attendee… “I’m not interested in talking to you!” Emails and phone calls will have to wait until you leave to booth area. While in the booth, work the perimeter and invite people to see what you’ve got. “Who can I talk to next?!!!”
DO Get Better Info – Tradeshows aren’t about building your email list. Take advantage of the latest lead retrieval technology. Use the menu and notes section to record the conversation you just had with that potential customer. Post-show follow-up is key, so do a good job with information gathering. But send out that “thank you” email anyway…
DO Education – Don’t wait for attendees to come to you… herd them up like cattle and drive them to your booth. If you conduct seminars you become a Trusted Source in your industry, and it gives you the opportunity for follow-up on the show floor.
DO Promote Yourself – Make sure you let customers know that you are exhibiting. Lots of tradeshows supply a pre-registration list, so send emails promoting your products and your booth. Blow up your social media throughout the show… How about rewarding attendees for a social check-ins?
DO Work Closely With Show Organizers – Provide positive and/or negative feedback about your show experience. Organizers want to make the tradeshow better, and helping them out can get you some favors in the future.
Most of this should be obvious, and it will make your tradeshow successful. But don’t forget the most important thing to have in your booth… CANDY! I prefer Jolly Ranchers…
Have a great next show!!
About the Author
John Langan is currently Business Services Director at the Penn Emblem Company, but has worn many hats in his thirty plus years in the corporate identification business… from screen printer to graphic artist to customer service to marketing director. He brings focused and unique perspective to B2B communications, helping people achieve success marketing products, services, and themselves. Learn more here: http://gr8johnl.wordpress.com/about/