five tips for a successful trade show

Having a display booth in a trade show is a great way to promote your company, meet potential clients, and interact with other business owners. But, without careful planning and preparation, your booth will be pretty lonely.

To maximize your trade show time (and investment), consider the following tips:

1. Be visually appealing.
It’s just a hard fact of life: pretty things draw attention. If you want to stand out, your booth needs to look good. Get posters and banners created professionally. Add a table runner or colored tablecloth instead of using those drab white ones. Have all your booth employees wear the same uniform. These small touches go a long way toward creating a positive impression: don’t underestimate the importance of looking polished.

2. Be a resource.
Trade show attendees are looking for one thing: answers. Don’t waste your opportunity to create a positive impression by reciting a sales pitch to your prospect. Instead, listen. Answer your visitor’s questions. Don’t give them every piece of company literature you printed. Instead, only provide the information they need to solve their specific dilemma. Prospects will remember you when you listen and cater your interaction to accommodate their specific needs. Because you helped your prospect solve their problem, you’ve become a resource (instead of an annoying salesperson). 

3. Be inviting.
Many trade show exhibitors unknowingly scare visitors away because they create an uninviting booth. Attendees need to feel that your booth has room for them. Move your display table to the back of your space and create a footpath for visitors. If you have a promotion, put it at the back of the booth so customers have to come in to get it. This way, you’ll never miss an opportunity to interact with clients. And, though it may be common sense: smile. A scowling face does nothing to attract customers.

4. Choose your promotion wisely.

Trade shows can be pretty chaotic places. But, here’s the good news: because they’re high traffic, you have the potential for instant viral marketing. You just need to have a promotional item that everyone wants. While pens and note pads are nice, they’re easy to shove in a purse or put in a folder. The result? No one sees them. Instead, give out an eco-friendly tote with your logo or tagline on it. Attendees will use it to store the promotional materials they gather and it will be noticed. Visitors will start to ask one another: “where did you get that bag?” and the traffic to your booth will explode. The moral of the story? Ask yourself what visitors will clamor to get, and then give it to them.

5. Be interactive.
A great way to get people into your booth and customers involved with your product is to provide an interactive experience. Create a game, have a contest, or provide an area where clients can “test-drive” your product. When prospects interact with your business, they’re more likely to purchase your product. Why? You’ve built trust. They’ve tested it themselves and now believe your claims. They’ve sold themselves on the value. On a side note, you should be interactive and enthusiastic, too. (Products don’t sell themselves.) Don’t let booth visitors aimlessly stroll around. Engage them, ask them questions, and get involved. The cumulative experience will win you clients.

Trade shows can be overwhelming, but they’re also a fantastic opportunity to win clients and create positive impressions on thousands of prospects. Implement these tips and your next exhibit is sure to be a success.