Ten Tips for Trade Show Success
1. Have a goal. Clearly define the objectives you hope to achieve. Write them down. It could be making contacts in the community (how many do you hope to make), taking orders (again, set a goal of how many orders you hope to get), setting appointments, shaking hands or whatever. Just make sure you have some sort of goal or objective for the show. At the very least, decide to bring back x-number of business cards.
2. Work the booth. Many booths are left unmanned for long periods of time. Try and have someone at your booth at all times. Don't sit at your booth. Be approachable and friendly. Create a reason for people to come up to your booth (a raffle, free gifts, candy).
3. Have a healthy supply of business cards and your basic sales brochure or flyer at your booth at all times. Collect information from the attendees (email addresses, phone numbers)--a drawing for a prize is common to collect this info.
4. Wear comfortable shoes and try to stand as much as you can. Rarely do people have much success sitting down while attendees (prospects) walk by. Be aggressive but not annoying.
5. Be happy! Nobody wants to talk to someone who looks intimidating, bored or unfriendly, so make sure you smile at everyone. Act like you want to be there and are happy to meet them. Don't disregard someone if they are not wearing the color badge you are targeting. You never know - an attendee could be registered as one category but also be a second category as well.
6. Condense your message. You cannot do your usual sales presentation in just the few seconds you will have to spend with attendees. Let them know in a nutshell what you do and how you can help them. Tell them what to do next--call, visit your website, come by your store, etc.
7. Acknowledge booth visitors. Many times you will get an influx of booth visitors and it can get overwhelming to talk to everyone. Try your best not to exclude a visitor because you are already engaged in conversation with another visitor. Say "hello" to booth visitors, even if it's brief while you finish your conversation with the other booth visitor(s).
8. If traffic slows and you get bored, find someone to engage. Talk to the vendor next to you or the next attendee coming down the aisle. Do not sit around looking bored. Do not check your cell phone messages or make calls or play Tetris. Talk to somebody about your business.
9. Tie your booth display to what you do. The more visually you can demonstrate your business, the better. If you can give away a fabulous prize related to your company, do so. You have a tiny bit of space and the more you can set yourself apart, the more people will remember you.
10. Follow up. A trade show is only as good as the sales it generates. As you meet attendees or other prospects who give you their business cards or information, make notes on the back and then follow up via email or call them for coffee. If you have a tradeshow list or a fishbowl full of attendee's contact information, send them a postcard with a special trade show discount.