Exhibitions have been around since business has existed. The opportunity for creators, suppliers, and innovators to have face-to-face contact with potential customers has always been seen as a great investment of both time and money.
Since trade shows have existed the unwritten rules have stayed largely the same, even as the methods of delivering ones message have changed dramatically.
From social media and virtual reality to video and interactive demonstrations, the ways vendors try to appeal to attendees have evolved, and those methods work better than ever at gaining an audience response. Surprisingly, while ways of gaining audience attraction have become bigger and brighter, the age-old rule holds true: Simple is ALWAYS better.
Getting the Point Across
Trade shows are busy places, and as an attendee walks past your booth you have less than 7 seconds to get your message across before the person loses interest and walks away. The key to getting your message through to attendees is simplicity and repetition. Your signage, giveaways, and booth staff should all stick to a key message. You should explain the big picture to attendees. Anyone who is interested in that message can get more information after the show. Remember, people want to see something different, so focus on what makes your product or service different than all the others out there.
Staffing the Booth
The staff for your booth should be trained specifically for the trade show environment; because of this, the people that work within your office environment may not be the right fit for a trade show. Trade show engagement is different from almost every other job within your company. Many owners opt to hire professional event staff to ensure booth success. The staff for your booth must be sure to remain on-message, and be both clear and concise when interacting with attendees.
Meeting at the Show
Before a show it’s often a good idea to contact potential buyers and existing customers and plan to arrange for in-person meetings at the show. Whether you have a private area within the booth, or you decide to meet somewhere away from the booth, the time you spend with your contacts can help to cultivate ongoing relationships throughout the year.
Before the event ask show management for lists of previous registered attendees. After the event, make sure to take the time to ensure every lead you had contact with receives a follow-up from your sales team. This will not only ensure a good impression, but may do the trick to close the sale.
In short: keep your message clear, train your staff well, pre-plan, and follow-up promptly. Following these basic trade show rules will help you achieve the success you’re looking for at your next event.