OMNI MARKETING
Helping Spokane businesses since 1985
250 Trade Show & Exhibiting Tips  
   

 Omni's 250 Trade Show & Exhibiting Tips

Introduction

This publication has been designed to be a valuable reference tool and checklist for the new exhibit manager as well as the seasoned veteran. Each of the 250 points in this outline are individual concepts and should be addressed and discussed for each show you exhibit in. The more of these concepts that you can apply the more successful, profitable and enjoyable your exhibition experiences will be.

1. Making the decision to exhibit

Reasons for you to exhibit at trade shows and exhibitions

* To introduce new products or services * Open new markets * Enhance company image * Reinforce customer loyalty * Get customer feedback * Show commitment to your industry * Educate your target audience * Meet decision makers and buyers * Collect new leads * Sell your product or service * Check out the competition * Spot trends * Support local dealers & distributors * Recruit dealers and distributors * Recruit employees or representatives * It is the most cost effective way to reach a qualified audience *

Reasons your customers go to trade shows and exhibitions

* To learn about the latest advancements * To see the newest products * Meet with technical representatives * To solve a specific problem * Meet the management team * Compare and evaluate competitive products * Find alternate suppliers * To purchase products and services *

2. Pre show tips

First things first

* Review your notes from last year’s show * Set specific, realistic, measurable goals * Establish a budget * Assign duties * Establish a time line * Reserve booth space * Read and understand the exhibitor’s manual *

If the show is in a different city

* Request a visitor’s information packet * Make hotel, travel and shipping arrangements early * Have a backup shipper lined up * Take graphics information on a disk * Prepare the office to run smoothly in your absence *

Note: the show management staff can help you locate local vendors for your special needs

Designing a booth

* Define your target audience * Establish the needs of your target audience * Decide on a theme and a message * Maintain some consistency w/other advertising * Emphasize ‘NEW’ * Keep it simple, get to the point * Be informative and educational * Make it easy & quick to read & understand * Ask for input from staff members * Consider using: big visuals, high resolution photo images, colorful graphics — but don’t over do it, easy to read, complementary fonts, product models, hands-on demonstrations, spot lighting, motion, audio and/or aroma (ask show management what is acceptable) and carpeting (for comfort and ambiance) * Proofread everything * Design your booth to be open and inviting *

Pre-show Promotions

* Advertise to your target audience in: Trade magazines, association newsletters and the show's program (be sure to include your booth number in all ads) * Call or mail your customers & potential customers: Invite them to visit you at your booth, offer an incentive, offer a show discount, maybe a special gift, etc. * Prepare media releases and press kits announcing new products/services: Send to all industry publications and home town news & business papers *

Lead management

* Create a short lead form * Prepare open ended questions * Have room to add personal comments * Attach the lead’s business card to the form * Give each lead a value * Create a plan to follow up on the leads *

Be prepared

* Know about the competition * Familiarize yourself with local, national and industry news * Take an emergency display repair kit: Consider including contact cement, Scotch tape, duct tape, packaging tape, Velcro, black felt marker, extra display parts, scissors, heavy string, needle and thread, safety pins, replacement bulbs, extension cords, power strip, assortment of tools, etc. * Take a first aid kit: Consider including an assortment of bandages, antiseptic wipes, Visine, cough drops, ointments for cuts and sore muscles, ace bandage, etc. * Consider at least one dose of medication for colds, flu, pain and an upset stomach * Take additional supplies: pens, business cards, note pads, breath mints, tissues, etc. * Take a towel and cleaning supplies * Ttake a list of key phone numbers that you might need or might want to share * Have a contingency plan for potential problems *

Rehearse

* Demonstrations * Introductions * Asking probing questions * Answering anticipated questions: Especially the tough questions * Answering objections * Ending a conversation * Filling out lead forms * Cross-selling * Setting up the display *

3. At the show tips

Things you need to do

* Network with attendees and other exhibitors * Network before, during and after the show * Network at show functions, in the lounge, etc. * Collect competitor’s information *

Before the show opens

* Arrive to the show early each day * Build a rapport with neighboring booths * Take photos of your booth & staff for your files * Find a safe place for your valuables * Start a log of activities, events, & observations * Prepare to make friends and have fun *

Booth rules

* Staff with articulate, knowledgeable, motivated, and personable people * Understand & work towards your preset goals * Pay attention, focus * Take breaks when needed but not in the booth * Do not chitchat with each other in the booth * Do not eat, drink, sit, or read in the exhibit * Do not make phone calls from the exhibit * Do not leave booth unattended * No profanity in the booth — even with friends * Keep the booth neat and clean keep the booth open and inviting * man your booth until the show is over *

Staff appearance

* Don’t overdress or underdress for the audience * Be approachable and professional * Stand up straight and tall * Have open body language * Always smile * Avoid distracting mannerisms * Face the aisle but don’t block the enterance * Stand away from colleagues * Wear badge on your right * Wear comfortable shoes * Consider only a mild perfume or cologne *

Engaging attendees

* Smile, make friendly eye contact * Say "Hi" or "Hello" * Let attendees come to you * Be prepared to answer the question "What do you do?" * Grab their attention with good open ended questions * Ask for their needs * Qualify before pitching * Listen, listen, listen, listen * Don’t interrupt * Ask follow-up questions * Ask their opinion * Call them by name * Don’t be too technical at the show * Spend no more than a few minutes/attendee * Schedule follow-up meeting if necessary * Politely dismiss unqualified visitor * Simply thank them for stopping by * Be enthusiastic and interesting * Show confidence and sincerity * Stay motivated — be motivating * Show good manners, courtesy and respect *

Get physical

* Shake hands during introductions * Exchange business cards or scan badge information * Personally hand out literature * Personally hand out promotional items * Let visitors handle your product * Let visitors participate in demonstrations *

Hand outs, giveaways and drawings

* Hand out inexpensive literature * Tell qualified leads that you will mail them detailed information * Have giveaways towards back of booth to draw-in attendees * Display only a few giveaways at a time * If possible personally hand the giveaway to the attendee * If you hold a drawing: Make it easy to enter, accept business cards, entry forms or lead forms, award your product or an industry related prize, place entry box in prominent location, mention the drawing in pre-show promotions *

At the end of the day

* Have a staff meeting * Analyze the crowd * Analyze your staff’s performance * Analyze the competition’s performance * Make necessary adjustments for the next day * Review and discuss that day’s leads * Update your log *

4. Post show tips

Analyze and follow through

*Follow-up your leads immediately * Evaluate the show, your performance and your competition’s performance * Measure your results * Compare your results to your goals * Complete your comprehensive file on the show * Plan a revised strategy for the next trade show or exhibition *

Additional uses for displays and graphics

* Lobby displays * Seminars * Presentations * Meetings * Training * Recruiting fairs

 

Bonus Tip

Walking the floor at a trade show can be a fabulous learning experience. When you do it keep an eye open for exhibiting techniques that you can incorporate into your next show. Also, listen to how your competition responds to the tough questions, probes for information and closes sales.

Free Copy of 250 Tips

Omni will send you a free printed copy of 250 Trade Show & Exhibiting Tips if you send us a self addressed, stamped #10 envelope. Our address is Omni Marketing, PO Box 4014, Spokane   WA  99220.


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