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7 Things About Trade Shows Your Boss Wants You To Know

As with any other event, to be successful at organizing your trade show, you have to be prepared. Here are 7 things about trade shows that your boss wants you to know.


1. Showing up is only 1/3rd of the job!
It’s a common misconception that showing up at your trade show is enough to capture leads. The truth is by renting a space, you’re actually paying for your access to a potential audience. To be successful, design your trade show display, a booth experience and a system to capture leads in a way that will entice your prospects.
2. Under staffing can cost you
As a general rule, it’s better to have more workers than you need, than not enough. You can achieve optimal results by scheduling staffers for 2 hours on booth duty with breaks in between, rather than forcing a few people to staff all day, every day. Again, try to keep your expenses as low as possible, but make sure you bring the appropriate staff you can afford. Even if your buyers are interested, they won’t stick around forever with an overworked staff.
3. Planning saves your budget
Preparation is key, when it comes to trade shows. Set up a budget and stick to it – consider which things are essential for your booth, and which you can go without. Watch all deadlines. Consider your target audience and how to best reach them before, during & after the show.
4. Don’t start with a sales pitch
It might seem counter-intuitive, but starting with your sales pitch is the fastest way to lose clients. Don’t force your potential buyers to endure a lengthy presentation of your products: if they seem interested, take a minute to talk to them & build rapport, without trying to sell.
5. Trade shows are expensive! BUT they’re an important investment too!
If this is your first trade show, you might be surprised to learn how much you have to pay for trade show. What’s that drayage thing? An internet drop costs how much? I have to pay someone to plug in a light? How do I get people to show up to my booth? How do I get them to stay & talk to me? But, where else can you speak with hundreds or thousands of prospects in a single day to generate leads? The only place that you can accomplish this lead generation success is at a trade show.
6. Be memorable
Your buyers will forget about you as soon as they pass by your booth. To be remembered, make sure you know how to ask the right questions, capture the most important information and setup an agreed upon next step. It never hurts to hand over a business card or a symbolic promotional item to remind them of your business and services as well.
7. Have fun!
Professional behavior is essential, of course, but this doesn’t mean you can’t turn your booth into a fun and pleasant place. Play some music or incentivize attendees with a relevant contest or game. This will not only help you be more comfortable and relaxed, but will also turn your trade show into a success!

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About the Author

Michael Flavin is a trade show strategist & exhibit consultant at Skyline Exhibits & Graphics Mid-America in St. Louis, MO. He works with companies & organizations to eliminate headaches from their trade show, event marketing & recruiting programs. Overall, he offers total, turn-key solutions, focused on creating memorable experiences, lowering operating expenses and increasing ROI. In addition, Michael consults & trains booth staffers and helps companies measure results from their trade show programs. He also helps exhibit marketers design St. Louis trade show displays.

2 responses to “7 Things About Trade Shows Your Boss Wants You To Know

  1. Haha, what a great article. This would be a great handout to give to all booth staff before an event. I’m glad you lead with number 1. Unfortunately, most people think just showing up, even if you standing in the corner of your booth texting counts. Great post!

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