My word of 2010 has been ENGAGE – I have used it so many times I cannot even count. Here it is again – it is not the number of people your trade show displays draw that matters; it’s whether or not your trade show exhibit ENGAGES them when they’re there. ENGAGING people and getting them interested in your products and services will make or break your trade show experiences.
Think neatness and visibility when putting your trade show displays together. Nothing distracts and ultimately loses the potential client’s interest like messiness and not really seeing what you are offering. Build the impression of demand into your trade show displays. Some cards tacked to a display saying order now receive in April – or Sold Out for first shipment – adds to the wantability!
Pull a crowd to your trade show display with a demonstration of one of your products. Or, use a promotion giveaway. However, you must always receive information back (not just a business card) in order to earn the giveaway. I like prize drawings done at the end of each day – it gets attendees back to your exhibit for a second look. And one or two $300-$500 gifts are more exciting than a $2 stuffed toy for everyone.
Make sure you have plenty of promotional literature on hand to look at – then take their business card and mail it to them at the end of the show. Otherwise you chance throwing it away at their hotel room. This also gives you another reason to connect first by mail or email and then a follow-up call.
Always be ready to do business – order forms, computer set-up, credit card slips. At the end of each day send an email thank you with confirmed orders. Have your trade show display manned at all times. Someone has to be there to greet browsers, ENGAGE them in conversation, and take their questions. Two people at minimum, even in a 10’x10′ space. There is nothing worse than a sign that says be back in ten minutes. What is the chance that the attendee will walk back down your aisle again?
Actively ENGAGE trade show display visitors. Offer a friendly welcome, and accept their questions. Be sure your body language is friendly; don’t stand there with your arms crossed over your chest, for instance. “Chat” with booth visitors, and find out what aspect of your business they’re most interested in. Be prepared to offer specific solutions to their questions. The trick is to draw them in without threatening or overpowering them. Do not forget or put-off the follow up. The faster you send them out by mail or email or telephone, the more your business will stand out from the rest.
Your exhibit must do two things – they must be visible and exciting enough to get people over to take a closer look. Once they are at your door you must ENGAGE them with conversation and information. Do these two things well and trade shows will be an incredible sources of contacts and customers for your business.