Fewer browsers are attending trade shows; they are being replaced by more serious shoppers. The post-recession attendees are short on time and money and now visit shows with agendas or problems they want exhibitors to help with. Trade show attendees are more focused, desiring immediate answers and higher quality information. It has become increasingly important to adapt trade show marketing strategies to these changes and be prepared.
No more heavy brochures – provide a one-page fact sheet at the show instead of a brochure. The most serious prospects prefer not to wait for information to be sent following the show – so send your catalogue to their email by the end of each day. With these prospects strike when the decision process is hot.
Design your booth layout to create a warm, friendly discussion area. Remove barriers between you and those visiting your booth. Create a side-by-side discussion zone.
Small round counter-high bistro tables increase sales interaction, and get prospects to stop and talk about their needs.
Avoid golf shirts. Research shows they are too casual and reduce credibility. Dress should be bright and business casual. Long sleeve shirts with company logos have replaced business suits which look more intimidating.
Do not leave your exhibit before the lights go down – you will meet the most serious prospects late in the day. Serious buyers run out of time, and cram in the most urgent needs just before they are forced to leave. Don’t discount the last few visitors as tire-kickers. They often have real needs they are trying to fulfill, and turn into high quality leads or orders. The booth staff’s energy and enthusiasm should be high for these late shoppers and golden opportunities. More is being packed into a single day, with attendees often remaining until the closing hour, and then catching the late flight home. Attendees are using shows less for window-shopping and more for formulating the final decision.