If you’ve been to a trade show, you’ve seen it with your own eyes – people do really dumb stuff at trade shows. Consistently dumb stuff. The following includes some fast and easy ways to take the dumb out of your trade show experience.
People have their faces buried in their mobile devices more and more. Let me remind you that the reason you and your company are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars to exhibit at the show is so that you can talk to your prospects and clients. Talk to your clients and prospects face to face. So put down the smartphone, and start some business relationships.
Don’t eat at your booth. Stop it. Just don’t. Taking a break from the action and having something at the food court will help recharge your batteries– and give you a chance to check your smartphone! Plus, no one is going to come up to you and engage you in a ten-minute conversation about your product/service while you’re scarfing a hotdog in your booth.
Don’t use tables, counters, etc., to block access to your booth from the aisle. A prospect is more likely to pause and have a conversation with you if they can escape the hullabaloo of the aisle and chat with you in peace.
Most shows allow you to enter the expo hall several hours early to organize the booth and make last-minute changes. Use the time to walk the floor, see industry trends, and get a better sense of what your competitors are showing. Compare notes with your fellow booth staffers. It’s also a great time to talk to the other exhibitors. There are fewer distractions, and you’re more likely to have a casual, informative conversation. Staying late has similar advantages. Not surprisingly, tired exhibitors can be very revealing at the end of the day. Note: Wait until the exhibit hall closes to visitors before starting to tear down your display!
Bring in top brass, but just one or two. Bring the president or the CEO, assuming they are personable and knowledgeable. Don’t bring the CFO or anyone who couldn’t charm a goldfish into a fishbowl. Some clients want to talk to senior management, and having the CEO available demonstrates that your company is serious about the show. On the other hand, if you do 80 shows a year, pick a handful that are most crucial for the bigwigs to make an appearance. Extra bonus: It’s much easier to get a trade show marketing budget approved if senior management participates.