Many of you are exhibiting veterans and a few are first-timers, but it never hurts to get some time-proven advice about some things to do (and not do) to get the most of your Expo time.
1. Long before the Expo, plan a cool booth space. Invest in your booth. What would make it approachable? What would make you stop? This planning and/or investment always pays off later. Many successful strategies include giveaways that collect e-mails, games, contests, videos, graphics, video games, novelty or humor and other many other ideas. Be creative and have fun.
2. Talk to those working your booth. They make a huge difference. The basics have to do with positioning and attitude. Don't sit down in the back of your booth. Comfy but ineffective. Do have an open booth that's easy to enter or engage. Don't be on the phone or working. People think it's rude to approach you as you're busy. And most importantly, smile. People talk with happy people.
3. If you're not personally good at meeting people, hire someone. Don't take it personally. You get 3 seconds for a first expo impression.
4. Amazingly, nearly 60% of regional expo exhibitors do not have a pre-show lead plan in place as an expo opens (Center for Exhibitor Industry Research). Know the basics of potential client conversations and lead collection:
a) Engage and chat (10-30 seconds)
b) Qualify (1 minute) to see if they have a need for your services,.
c) Present what you have for them (1-5 minutes). Make sure to focus on what's in it for them.
4) Close by getting contact information, and tell them you'll get them more info later. It's casual and flexible. Then keep a master list.
5. In another amazing statistic, out of all exhibitors, nearly 75% of all leads collected at Expos are not followed up on after the show (Center for Exhibitor Industry Research). Yes, your feet are tired, but the works not quite done. Take some time afterwards to follow up and help all the people you may have talked to during the show.
6. Some other helpful ideas may be to have an album of testimonials showing success stories and pictures. This is especially great for independent professionals selling an intangible product. Pictures of workshop attendees are good. Everyone likes pictures.
7. A candy bowl is good. If you want to up the ante, have a bigger treat but only for those who chat with you that you can just hand them. Energy bars, bigger mints, or something else fun.
8. Promotional items are good. Think about whether they will use it for awhile or if it will just go to their kids. Kids are tough clients.
9. If possible, demonstrate your product. People like to see it in action.
10. Dare to think up something a bit different. It makes trade shows fun. Things people have asked us if they can do in the past that have gone well include shooting money from a cannon, casinos, celebrity guests, flash mobs, sports contests, and many other slightly quirky things. Many visitors have been to a trade show before and they like to see diversity. Please ask us if you have any ideas you'd like to try. We would love to try to accommodate your ideas if possible.
In summation, research shows that trade shows are the #1 advertising ROI businesses can make. So make a plan. We'd love to help you reach all your goals and be an important partner to your business each year. Have a great show!
Trade shows are consistently the #1 marketing return on investment among all options.