Trade shows are great. There is no doubt about that. Annually, a variety of industry related conferences and shows appear, or reappear, on the calendar and set out to attract worthy exhibitors with the end goal of increasing brand awareness, growing new client opportunities, identifying new strategic partnerships, and many other reasons. Every year, companies that share these particular goals and objectives fill up exhibit halls.
You may think that it’s as simple as showing up with your business cards, your memorized script, and free pens and mints at your provided 8-foot table, but it really isn’t. Trade shows can be expensive, so why even chance it? Consider the following 3 tips the next time you are ready to brave the trade show experiential marketing channel.
1. Grab Everyone's Attention
Put some major focus on stealing the show! We aren’t talking about just a collection of squeeze balls, pens, and mints that are plastered with your logo. Think of something creative to draw people in to the "experience", be it games of chance or moments of escape, and your booth will overflow with interested onlookers. Just an FYI: be aware of your capacity rules at a trade show, you may receive a “warning” because after you follow these steps your booth will exceed all capacity limits!
2. Information is power!
Most people want to gain new leads, and achieve a ROI for their trade show efforts. In order to come away with the show with something tangible, and also measureable, make sure you are planning for data acquisition, both in execution and in budget. This is a perfect opportunity to gain targeted information so you are able to immediately assess and act on the value and potential in every contact. Simple badge scanning doesn’t usually do it here; be deliberate about seeking information and contacts directly impactful to your end goal, and ensure you make it worth their time!
3. Work the ABC’s… Always-Be-Closing
In the (select) words of Blake (Glengarry Glen Ross), "coffee is for closers"... "Always be closing!" Always “strike” on nurturing any potentially valuable relationship while that “iron is hot”. Prepare and plan for the need for small group interactions; consider pre-planning reservations at local restaurants for carrying conversations into more detail, in a more conducive environment. You may also want to reserve a suite in the host hotel for breakout sessions and invite-based happy hours. Take the best conversations a step further while away from the standard office environment. ALWAYS move to the close.
Long story short, not planning for a trade show exhibit opportunity, and not working that plan to execution, only leaves an effort that, best case, doesn’t damage things, and yet far from succeeds in improving them. So follow these steps and become a trade show rock star.