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Trade Show Strategies That Get Results

The following ideas are for you to help you make the most of your trade show investment and improve your trade show strategy:
  1. Schedule appointments with potential clients before the show: You can meet the clients at your booth, in your hotel suite, or over a meal. Be assertive in making the appointments.
  2. Along with a strategy, have a plan of attack: Prioritize your time and energy in order to achieve expected results. Set up a timeline to follow. Draw up your plan with explicit goals. For example:
    • Make contact with former clients
    • Improve relationships with current clients
    • Make a sales pitch to potential clients
    • Learn about the new trends in the market
    • Keep up with what is popular in the current market
    • Know what your competitor is selling
  3. Work as a team to accomplish your strategy: If you attend the show with employees, have each employee assigned to certain task. Use the talents of each member of your team. Consider their personal contacts. Meet before the show each day to discuss the strategy and establish a plan. Meet throughout the day to discuss prospects, and exchange ideas to draw people to your booth.
  4. Arrive early and stay late: Arriving early allows you to be rested and better organized before the show starts. It will also allow you to make contacts with others who have arrived early. Stay late in order to meet with people before they suffer "trade show burnout", which usually occurs a day or two after the show is over. Plan before and after activities in advance because clients will sometimes make their travel arrangements early in order to get a better deal. They may have blocked out time for personal use so it would be good to schedule a golf trip or fishing trip that gets them away from other distractions at the show.
  5. Be professional: To attract people to your booth, you can implement a drawing or other contest, a short, closed curtain presentation, or eye-catching graphics on affordable custom tablecloths. Keep in mind that people do business with people so your staff must be able to make a sale in a brief encounter. Try not to hover at the front of your booth looking like you're waiting to pounce. Look at what is drawing people to others' booths and copy them. Steer them toward your booth like a sheep herder.
  6. Know how to differentiate potential clients from moochers: Instead of launching into your sales pitch as soon as people approach your booth, ask questions of your audience like "What has caught your attention at the show today?" You don't have to make a sales pitch to everyone.
  7. Don't try to over-educate people at the show: ask questions in order to search out those who will receive you after the show.
  8. Understand and use the accelerated pace of show sales: Learn the techniques to be able to juggle more than one client.
  9. Consider doing something different: Help your clients and prospective clients to remember your booth by doing something unique such as taking them for a hot-air balloon ride. This can be done before the classes and speakers start. It will also help you to be noticed by non-clientele. For more ideas, look at this article for ways to make your booth stand out.
  10. Debrief: After the show is over, look at the results. Assess what worked and what didn't and make notes for what you would do differently next time. Compare your notes with your staff. Have a strategy in place for after the trade show.
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