There’s much to love about exhibiting at trade shows. In fact, there’s so much to love that we think all companies should be looking to exhibit at trades. After all, they’re fantastic ways to build credibility, raise awareness of your products and services, and establish more leads. They’re an effective way to continue pushing your business forward, essentially.
But of course, you won’t get all of those benefits without putting in the effort. Your trade show will be effective only if you put in the time and energy to make it so. Below, we’ll run through some of the secrets of trade show success — hit all those points, and you should find that your experience yields results.
Make a plan
You’re not going to put together a top-tier trade show plan overnight. It takes time to come up with a plan for what you’ll exhibit, create goals, and so forth. Plus, there are also the logistical matters — unless it’s taking place in your city, you’ll need to organize travel and hotel rooms. It’s best to look at trade shows that are taking place at least 4 months in the future. That’ll ensure you don’t have to rush any of the details that’ll impact the success of your exhibit.
Select the team
Your products won’t sell themselves. You’ll need to put together an a-list team of employees that’ll work at the trade show. It’s best to pick staff that have an outgoing personality and who know your products/services inside out. In truth, you’ll probably find that the team picks itself — it’ll be obvious who should work at the trade show. It’s important to train your team, however, because they may not draw upon different skills than what they usually use. If there are no appropriate employees, then you can consider hiring external staff to man the stand for you.
You’ll need to put together a great stand to grab people’s attention. Your products may be great, but if no one’s coming over to your stand, then you’ll never get to show the world what you have to offer. It’s recommended to work with an exhibition stand builder, in order to ensure that your stand is professional and in line with your overall branding. It’s also important to think about how you’ll present your products or services — it’s unlikely that you’ll showcase all your products, so which ones will make the cut?
People go to trade shows because they have an interest in the industry. But they also come for the free swag. Indeed, freebies have become such a fundamental part of trade shows that you really can’t get away with not providing free swag to attendees. There’s no shortage of options available. It’s generally best to avoid the basics that everyone gives away, such as pens and lanyards. Brainstorm with your team about what you could offer; is there a miniature version of your products that you could give away, for instance?
Scan all your visitors
The trade show isn’t the end game. It’s the beginning of the game. To get the most value out of exhibiting at a trade show, you’ll need to follow up with the leads you acquired while there. And you can only do that if you have their information. Most trade shows have digital scanners that exhibitors can use to scan the details of their visitors. So make sure that you use them! It’s easy to forget when someone’s interested in looking at your products but keep in mind that those leads are the reason that you’re at the trade show in the first place.
Provide seating and comfort
The longer that your visitors stay at your trade show, the better. One way to extend the amount of time they spend with you is to offer seating and other comforts, such as snacks and drinks. Trade shows are long and physically intensive, and people are always looking for spaces to sit down and relax for a moment. If they can do that at your stand, then you’ll have an opportunity to speak to them for longer — and maybe win a customer.
Be sure to put together a plan of action for how you’ll approach your leads once you’re back in the office. This could involve sending a follow-up email, making phone calls, or anything else. The key thing is to have a solid strategy for how you and your team will handle all those leads you’ve acquired, and then try to turn them into customers.