Even the most successful businesses in the world occasionally come home from a trade show with the stark realisation that they’ve wasted their time and the company’s money. It’s just one of those things that sometimes happen, though if you’re the kind that seems to be failing time and time again, chances are there’s something rotten in the ranks.
Mercifully, the good news is that most of the time it’s actually something quite minor that needs a little tweak in order to be put right. And once you hit your stride with a trade show blueprint that works, chances are you’ll be reaping the rewards of so many successful trade shows for years and decades to come.
Here’s a quick overview of ten tips from RAL Display on the subject of turning turbulent trade show tides:
1 – Don’t Go It Alone
There’s nothing in the world more off-putting that a business you want to talk to with just a single person at the booth and a queue of ten people already waiting in line. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or how great you are, people just won’t wait around in queues – they hate it. As such, never go it alone and consider taking along a few more workers than you think you’ll need.
2 – Look the Part
And while on the subject, make sure that everyone you take along looks the part and has dressed for the occasion. Avoid being over-stuffy or too formal, but at the same time maintain your professional image.
3 – Don’t Be Late
Being late is a big mistake, but then again arriving right on the dot is also far from a good idea. Realistically, you should be turning up and setting up early enough to identify any potential hiccups that may have crept into the equation and still have time to solve them.
4 – Checklists Are Mandatory
Yes, you have a good memory in general, but at the same time you’re only human. Anything you forget to bring or do can and will hamper your chances of succeeding. And as it takes just minutes to come up with a checklist that will rule out all such eventualities, you really have no excuse not to pen one.
5 – Clutter is a Killer
If your display stand is littered with all manner of bits and pieces like pens, scraps of paper and bits of old food, chances are most of the punters won’t be able to see past all this to what it is you really do. Clutter can be a trade show killer, so cut it!
6 – Be Sociable
Some attend trade shows with the attitude that all rival businesses around them are their sworn enemies to be avoided at all costs. Needless to say, when these kinds of individuals find themselves in need of a little advice, a small favour or any kind of help during the show, they can forget about it. By contrast, be sociable with those around you and you’ll find yourself with a helpful network that might just be of benefit for the long-term.
7 – Calm Yourself
When you’re walking down the High Street, what do you do when the beaming sales rep runs toward you with a clipboard? That’s right – you either walk in the opposite direction or mutter a swear word under your breath…or both. It’s no different at a trade show either, so while you need to be open and enthusiastic, you also don’t want to go annoying or frightening off potential customers.
8 – Go With Strong Leads
You can either approach a trade show with the intention of reaching out to every last person in attendance, or you can focus on the people that you’re genuinely sure make good potential prospects for your business. If there’s a punter there you’re about 99% convinced will become a regular customer, they’re worth much more attention than a person you’re less than 1% sure will even give you the time of day.
9 – Business Card Swapping
Make sure that not only do you give every last person you come across a business card, but that you also take one in return. After all, you never know when and where you might need to reach out to them in the future – nor they you.
10 – Don’t Forget the Follow-Ups
Last but not least, remember that standing a trade show really is only the first step toward winning new business. You’ve got their attention and they’ve developed an interest in you, but it’s only by following up on every lead that you stand any chance of sealing the deal.