Getting More Bang for Your Trade Show Buck

After attending two different trade shows and walking down multiple aisles of various vendors, a curious question came to mind…

Which of these booths caught my attention and why?

Some booths were flashy. Some were flops. Some were offering a free pen, some a free iPad and others simply offered a brochure.  Some sales professionals were engaging, but many stayed in their comfort zones, behind tables, as I walked right by.

If you are involved in your company’s trade shows, you need to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth for your investment and gaining the competitive edge. Trade shows themselves do not generate leads, entice attendees to come to your booth, or create sales, but the people working those trade shows do and that is where YOU come in.

Think about the following things:

1.  When inviting someone into your booth it is okay to be aggressive, just not abrasive.  Product dumping all over attendees and rapidly telling them about all your bells and whistles is abrasive. However, pulling back a bit and finding out what brought that person to the show in the first place can set the right tone. You have approximately four seconds to engage a person into a conversation who is walking by your booth.

Key question to ask “What brought you to the show today?”

2. Next, share your company’s WOW factor.  What information can you provide that an attendee will remember? Think about your sixty to ninety second commercial. Keep in mind an attendee’s mission is to gather valuable information. It’s your job to help him or her do that.  What will you share that provides value and will resonate with the attendee even after the show? How about existing customers who stop by? What will you offer to them?

3. Remember time KILLS deals. If too much time goes by after a show before you reach out to your leads, your efforts will not be as effective. When you get back to the office, think of the first day back in the office as the last day of the show. Realize 80% of all trade show leads are never followed up on. Do follow up and stand out as part of the unique 20%.

4. Do not presume the success of a show hinges on the sales you close within a month of the show.  The majority of sales (in many cases 60%) will come in more than seven months later and additional deals might not close until more than a year after an event. Don’t give up on these potential customers too soon.

So, get the most out of every dollar you spend on a show.  Be a gracious host in your booth, have your brief commercial with a wow factor down pat, and follow up with your leads immediately after the show ends.  Enjoy the season!


ETIQUETTE CORNER
The Introduction: Give Yourself a Hand

When it comes to making a great first impression, would you applaud yourself, or give yourself a thumbs down? We’re on the subject of trade shows, where you have about four seconds to get someone to stop and talk, and about thirty seconds to engage a person in a good conversation. The same timeframes hold true for a networking or business encounter.

Do you make the most of that small window of opportunity?  Here are some pointers to make sure you do:

1. Stand up.
If you are sitting and someone approaches you and introduces him or herself, automatically stand up.  This puts you at the same eye level as the other person and is respectful.

2. Good eye contact and smile.
Make sure you give the person you are meeting the attention he or she deserves.  There is nothing ruder than glancing around the booth or the room to see if there is anyone better to talk to than the person right in front of you.  Smile and be friendly!

3. Firm grip.
It’s very disheartening when someone has a terrible handshake.  There is a proper way to shake someone’s hand.  Make sure the “V” between your thumb and forefinger connect with the other person’s “V.” Shake the person’s hand firmly two to three times and then let go.  A good rule of thumb is to match the other person’s firmness of grip.

4. Say yours and repeat theirs.
Enunciate your name and repeat his or her name to help you remember it.  You can also take this a step further and use his or her name in the first sentence of dialog.  If you happen to forget a name, don’t be afraid to ask for it again. There is a chance he or she forgot yours, too.

These pointers may seem small, but can have a huge impact on your future business opportunities. You can’t erase a bad first impression once it’s made. Put these tips into practice and give your ability to make a great first impression a big thumbs up!