Trade Show Handbook  
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Top Trade Show Rules

  1. Research carefully beforehand to know that the show you want to attend reaches a considerable amount of your intended audience. Because trade shows require time, money, and energy, you don't want to waste these resources on people who are unlikely to buy your product or use your service.
  2. Remember to ask the show sponsors information about the clientele coming, requirements, and what help you will receive at the show from the sponsors.
  3. Plan early. Normal exhibitors usually start planning for the show a year to a year and a half in advance.
  4. Don't miss the opportunity to visit other industry shows to see what works and what doesn't. Take notes about what was effective and what wasn't in getting your attention. Incorporate these ideas into your booth planning.
  5. Make specific objectives and goals for the show. Know what you want to gain from the show, for example: a certain amount of money in new sales or promoting a new product or service.
  6. Don't allow others to tell what you should do at a trade show. You are an expert in your field and should be able to identify and accomplish your own goals and objectives.
  7. Be open to the many creative possibilities of presenting your company and your products to others. In order to be remembered, your booth must be unique as clients will see a variety of booths in one day.
  8. Be genuinely enthusiastic about your products and services. Since enthusiasm is contagious, your clients will be enthusiastic about your products if you are also enthusiastic.
  9. Those who are most successful are those who listen. A good rule of thumb is to listen to your client and understand his/her needs rather than just pitching a product that they may not need.
  10. Be concise in your presentation. Clients are turned off by people who rattle on, spouting their statistics and facts about the product.
  11. Be aware that everyone is watching you. Dress and act in an appropriate manner.
  12. Don't talk on your cell phone, chew gum, eat, or drink in your booth. Take a break outside of your booth to do this.
  13. Be practical. A trade show is a long event, requiring long periods of standing and talking to others. You can't do it alone. Recruit friends and family to help you, even if it is taking over while you have a quick meal break.
  14. Train those who are helping you at your booth. Ensure that they know what services are offered and what products you are selling. Also, they need to understand the message you want sent to your clients. Have a plan that they can follow when asked a question they don't know the answer to.
  15. Determine whether the consumer is a potential client or not so you don't waste time. Have a strategy to encourage disinterested consumers to move on. If they are only there to ask questions and not buy, they are wasting your time.
  16. Take good notes about potential clients and pertinent information that will allow you to make a good follow up after the show. You may not be able to recall hastily scrawled notes on the back of a business card after you have talked to hundreds of people.
  17. Be courteous and kind to everyone. You will be remembered because of the way you treat others.
  18. Read the show manual that will arrive with your registration packet. This will give you all the details and deadlines about ordering services.
  19. Make a concerted effort to talk to the media. Make sure you have a press kit available for media representatives. Accept requests for interviews and if you have something worthwhile, have a news conference.
  20. Don't overlook preshow advertising. Make sure your clients know your booth location.
  21. Make follow ups after the show. All the leads you generated during the show are important. Send your booth visitors thank you notes for visiting your booth.
  22. Be willing to allow attendees to participate in hands-on activities in your booth. People love to have fun and try new things. Having this incorporated into your booth will attract potential clients.
  23. Give away items that will promote your product identity and give them a good impression of you and your booth. You need to be unique in your giveaways, not following what others are doing.
  24. Be patient in looking for results. They may not be apparent immediately. The relationships built at a tradeshow can eventually lead to profitable partnerships in the future.
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