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Trade Show Preparation Is Key
If you’ve ever manned an exhibit at a trade show, you’ll know that not every detail goes according to plan. Embarrassing typos, faulty equipment and mixed messages are some of the problems that can plague a trade show event and damage a company’s brand or reputation. Then there is the matter of goals and objectives. Organizations attend trade shows with a goal in mind, such as open new markets, increase sales or launch a new product. You will not reach your goals at a trade show unless you prepare for a trade show.
For those who are new to trade shows, here’s a checklist to help with trade show preparation.
Trade Show Preparation Tip # 1 Choose Location
Choose your location with care and consider timing. The earlier you book space at the show, the greater your options for selecting a location that achieves maximum visibility. Booths located near the front entrance are obviously a preferred location because all visitors enter and leave through that point of entry. Booths at the ends of aisles also offer good visibility.
Trade Show Preparation Tip # 2 Choose Your Staff
Bring the right people. Ensure that the team your send to represent your organization can do so and that they know what the objective is. This often means a mix of Sales & Marketing executives who can identify opportunities and build relationships but often it should also include technical and support personnel that can answer deeper questions about your product or service.
Tip # 3 Know Your Audience/Venue
Get to know the type of people who will be attending the show, as that will impact your talking points and messaging. Online forums and review sites can provide important feedback from people who have attended previous shows and help to identify trends, insights, opportunities, etc.
If you don’t know who will be attending the show then your trade show preparation is not adequate and it may be better to plan for the next one rather than demoralise your staff and harm your brand with a bad experience.
Tip # 4 Invest In Your Booth Or Exhibit
Make sure that your trade booth or exhibit represent your brand professionally. Professional surroundings will help your own staff perform as well as send the right brand message to show attendees. A properly designed and built trade show booth or exhibit is an investment as it will be used over and over again at many shows.
Tip # 5 Devise A Communications Strategy
To effectively prepare for a trade show you should meet with the team members to discuss how to communicate with prospects and how to collect their contact information. Consider non-booth activities to boost your trade show status; speaking, networking and hosting opportunities can enhance your visibility and increase your return on investment. All printed, digital and verbal communications should be aligned with verbal messaging. Remember that brevity is key, as you have only a few seconds to grab someone’s attention. Make sure your team knows how to hand off prospects to each other for next steps. For example, if a technical resource employee answering questions discovers that they have a person really interested in your product or service a process for handoff to a salesperson that can close should be well oiled and familiar to all.
Trade Show Preparation Tip # 6 – Marketing Handouts
Think strategically about printed materials that are aimed at prospective customers. Don’t burden visitors with too many brochures, business cards or flyers. Sometimes branded marketing merchandise (such as key chains, USB sticks, and coffee mugs) can be effective. Make sure that all handouts and branded marketing items are professionally designed and produced.
Tip # 7 – Prepare Your Trade Booth
Get your digital marketing house in order. If you plan on featuring digital content (product videos and photos, live streaming), make sure that all equipment is working properly to avoid any glitches. Test your equipment before presenting it to the public. Tech support should only be a text message or a phone call away. If you have hired a professional trade booth or exhibit designer / manufacture they should be able to do all of this for you prior to them setting it up for you. At Geron it is part of our services. The best way to prepare for a trade show is to have our world-class team do it all for you!
Tip # 8 Keep Mobile Phone Use To A Minimum.
If a someone sees your staff heavily engaged on their mobile devices, he/she is less likely to initiate a conversation. One of the main purposes of manning an exhibit is to interact face-to-face with prospects, colleagues and customers. Make sure your team at the trade show are focused on the trade show. It is important to prepare for a trade show with your best people as there are more sales opportunities than you may realize according to this 2019 report.
Tip # 9 Follow-up
Failure to follow up with leads is a neglected post-show task. What is the use of expending resources and preparing for a trade show if you don’t utilize the fruits of the labour? Collect business cards and consider using either a digital scanner or a mobile app to capture data from attendees. Reach out to every person that you meet at the show within a day or two. Prompt follow-up tells prospects that you are organized and professional. Even one single contact could develop into long-lasting and mutually rewarding business relationship.
Tip #10 Call Us
As you can see, the best way to prepare for a trade show is to invest some time in pre-show, at-show and post-show planning. This can go a long way towards ensuring that you achieve your marketing & sales goals at your next trade show. The best tip we can give you is to let us handle the entire process for you including design, build, assembly, location services, set up, take down and finally storage. A total turn-key solution so you can concentrate on sales and building your brand.