TRADE SHOWS & EVENTS ARE BACK!AUGUST 30, 2021| SpeedPro of Denver
CategoriesEvents & Trade Shows
Time to re-fresh those professional social skills to get the most out of events and tradeshows. Over-preparing is still the route to take. Over-train on the products, over-communicate on the top 4 messages you want staff, customers and prospects to remember and go over-board on your visual presence!
Here are some friendly reminders about event do’s and don’ts:
DO’S FOR SUCCESSFUL EVENTS AND TRADE SHOWS
Companies who are successful at trade shows follow some tried-and-true tactics to ensure that their staff is put in a position to best connect with attendees. As you develop your trade show strategy, the following tips should help you and your staff feel confident the noteworthy time and dollar investment will be worth-while.
1. OVER-PREPARE BOOTH STAFF
A trade show is an opportunity for you to show off and let attendees know that you’re an expert in your field. You want to be ready to answer any questions that come your way, to build trust and confidence with the show’s attendees. When booth staff knows the ins and outs of your top products or services, you’re sure to make a better impression. Host an internal launch before heading out to set up the booth. Ideally a day or two before heading to the venue but if folks are travelling, consider an in-depth virtual internal launch. Then, hold a shorter, pep-rally feeling meeting close to the show opening with snacks, booth giveaways and a small cheat sheet with the top 4 key messages to use over and over. Share specific goals and objectives before the event begins. Have lead generation goals, number of one-on-one and group presentations planned, and other benchmarks in place.
2. STAY EXCITED AND POSITIVE
Trade shows can be long and there might be downtime when few people are visiting your booth. It’s important to have a positive, upbeat mindset throughout. Remember that attendees see lots of booths, and there are a variety of factors out of your control that can get attendees not to show interest in your exhibit. A good attitude will go a long way when it comes to starting up conversations with attendees and getting them interested in what your company has to offer. Remind staff to not have their back to the aisle ever if possible and set up your booth with this in mind. Commit to making your last pitch with the same energy you did for your first pitch—your team will follow your example.
3. DIG DEEP FOR A MEMORABLE GIVEAWAY
Sure, you’ll have pens and sticky notes with your logo and tagline but it will be worth the time and money to come up with a more interesting, relevant giveaway. If you sell software, a mini-guide with top tips and benefits for a quick start would be beneficial for current users and prospects. If you sell food products, generous sampling and coupons still work. If you’re currently running a big multi-media campaign, use the same messages as part of the giveaway for reinforcement and continuity. Desktop items are still popular—maybe even more so with home offices being set-up for the longer-term.
4. HAVE REFRESHMENTS ON-HAND
Since trade shows typically run full, long days, have snacks and beverages close so booth staff can keep hydrated and maintain their energy. Share the complete event schedule detailing that you’ve planned for break and lunch coverage, so your staff stays energized and enthused.
5. PREPARE KEY POINTS & A PRESENTATION
Though some people can sell without any preparation, most employees working the booth will need to have a prepared presentation or script they’ve been given in advance of the show. Even those who have a deep understanding of the company and its products will benefit from knowing what they are going to say and how they are going to say it to visitors. Stick to no more than 4 key messages to convey. It could be a mix of 3 new products and the 1 overarching branding message for the company. While it can be tiresome to repeat the same messages over and over, keep in mind the number of booths your prospects are visiting and how visually bombarded they are—they haven’t heard your message hundreds of times. Those impressive one-on-one connections are what booth visitors will remember when the show is over.
• If your company offers technical products, you and your staff should over-training with the product manager (who will ideally be working the booth set hours so your sales staff can schedule one-on-one demonstrations in advance for the bigger fish). To respond effectively, memorize your pitch and practice it in front of team members to get relevant feedback.
• If your booth supports it, enhance your presentation with demonstrations, videos and a running, engaging slideshows.
• Lead capture is easier if you have something specific to offer: swipe to share your details and we’ll enter you into a drawing for xxx prizes, we’ll set up your free trial, we’ll add you to our newsletter list to receive new product announcements, to name a few examples.
6. THOUGHTFULLY DESIGN YOUR SIGNAGE
A well-designed booth should be visually interesting and grab the attention of those busy attendees. Whether it’s through your exhibit showcasing a large tower that stands above the competition, attractive signage at eye-level or electronic interactive exhibits, the visuals and messages should draw people in to give your staff the opportunity to connect with them. If you do many shows a year in venues of different sizes and secure different booth size spaces, choose a modular design so you’ll have flexibility with your many pieces to fit into a 10 x 10, into a bigger corner spot or in a stand-alone when you command all four sides.
A FEW DON’TS TO SAVE YOU SOME PAIN
Along with knowing what to do during a trade show, here’s a reminders about don’ts:
Don’t overshare with attendees. Whether it’s due to nervousness or a lack of preparation, a common pitfall at trade shows is booth staff rambling on too long without a clear purpose. Too much information can be overwhelming to your prospect. Train your staff to listen 80% of the time and only speak to the attendee for about 20% of the interaction. And, how to diplomatically end the conversation so you can both move on.
Don’t forget to ask the small logistical questions. As you prepare to attend an event, don’t hesitate to ask any unanswered questions to the trade show’s organizers or regular exhibitors. The organizers can give you information about the display requirements, demographics of the show, contact info for key on-site support staff members and other useful details. Share it all with your booth staff so everyone is prepared to pitch in when needed (handy when flights are delayed, for example, and the point person is the only one with the codes to the cases).
Don’t forget to make post-show activities part of the pre-planning. Part of pre-show planning should include post-show handling of all those great new leads. If leads have been captured electronically through a designated show vendor, how soon after the show will the collection service be providing your data? Have one general “thanks for stopping by our booth” email ready to send (including your 4 key points) and then divvy up the leads as quickly as possible to sales staff for one-on-one follow-up. They will appreciate the fresh leads!
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