Many companies decide to exhibit at a trade show for all the right reasons (grow the business, find new leads, see current customers, etc.).
But when it comes to planning the exhibit and the trade show, it often falls upon someone who already has a full plate. How can you handle this additional responsibility while still performing your regular duties and responsibilities? It isn’t easy, but here are a few tips to help make it more manageable:
FOR STARTERS, Research the show
Every show has a website, and most have a Quick Facts page. The quick facts will be very useful in planning your show.
(However, before you exhibit at shows, ask your stakeholders to attend Small Business Expo — America’s BIGGEST Business to Business Trade Show, Conference & Networking Event for Small Business Owners, Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups. It is a FREE one-day event hosted in 17 Major US Cities. They will appreciate this insight from you.)
We have done the research on some shows here.
Earlier the better. This is a huge time saver because you will not have to ask for approval every time you make a purchase or commitment. Waiting for approvals can often be a hidden time waster that is not included in a timeline, and can lead to rush charges, expedited shipping and added stress.
Create a presentation for your budget proposal.
We have done the work for you. We show you how we do our marketing. Copy and paste from this article to show how you can increase your foot traffic in your booth.
Create a timeline
Planning a successful trade show can be overwhelming. There is so much to do, but since it’s a full year away, don’t fall into this trap! Take a few moments to create a timeline. Begin with the dates of the show and work backwards. This way you can break everything down into manageable chunks with deadlines to keep yourself on target.
Once you create your timeline you can prioritize and tackle. Since you have created a timeline, assign deadlines for each task, and stick to them!
Spread the love — DELEGATE, IF THERE ARE TAKERS
If you are lucky, you may be able to delegate some of the tasks. But if that isn’t an option for you (as it’s not an option for many), schedule yourself a calendar reminder/task (daily, weekly, monthly, or whatever works for you.) Spreading out the responsibilities will prevent you from getting bogged down, and will help to give you a fresh perspective as you take time between segments.
CRAFT A KEY MESSAGE
Ask yourself, "What information made our current customers buy from us?"
Here is what your attendees walking the show floor are looking for; — products and services that will save them time or money, or make their jobs or lives easier. "The most effective presentations demonstrate how a company or its offerings will help attendees cut costs, increase efficiency, or avoid hassles." So focus your message/presentation on the benefits of your product that will help attendees achieve those things, and your message is far more likely to resonate. Refrain from a sales pitch.
Although booth staff wardrobe and a well-rested and energize team is important, the interactions are what matters most. It’s not what they will wear, but what they will say, to potential clients and leads. While the goal of exhibiting is often to generate sales, pitching what you can offer before engaging and listening to the needs of an attendee makes for a very poor impression.
Decide on a hashtag. The hashtag can be a call to action or if you know the psychographics of your audience, it can be a 'call to action based on their psychological makeup.' For example, #nopatiencefor——— (fill up the title or the psychology make up of your target audience). Here are more examples on hashtags
Obviously, you would venture into coining out bold hashtags if your product has the privilege to back it up.
Decide on giveaways. It will be a smart thing to do if you tie your giveaways with a decisive hashtag.
Build in time for the unexpected
Things happen. Anything that can go wring will go wrong. That is the nature of trade shows. Emergencies come up. Shipping gets delayed. The last person required to approve something takes vacation. You get the gist. Build in a little wiggle room so that you have a little breathing room.
SET UP A TANGIBLE MEASURING TOOL
'Setting goals' is the favorite term that gets tossed around these days. It is postulated that 'goal setting' leads to predictable result:
This is great if you do once a year event. However, if you have a busy show schedule, this will lead to definite 'burn out' and ultimate disgust. Because, you are hopping from one goal to the other. Hence, many organizations are ditching the 3 popular goal setting techniques and drawing up a holistic tool, based on the team dynamics.
Focus on having fun and be useful to others. The rest will follow.
"Goal setting has been treated like an over-the-counter medication, when it should really be treated with more care, as a prescription strength medicine."
Focus on presenting a quality booth, a quality message and gaining quality leads.
"Gather this data through your lead forms, audience-response systems, and notes from conversations between staff members and prospects. You can also use crowd gatherers to administer exit surveys between presentations to record attendee feedback, such as whether the presentation triggered a change in perception of your company or its products/services."
Work with a vendor that you trust (OBVIOUSLY, WE WOULD LIKE IT TO BE US — PEEK INTO SOME OF OUR PROJECTS)
Does your vendor have access to designers, artists, and installers? Can they work with you to provide solutions that fit your specific needs? Does your vendor have 24-hour support? Does your vendor know the different pricing structure for show services at different venues? Does you vendor know the difference between 'right to work' state and that which is not? Does your vendor know the the installation and dismantle services may vary between over-time and double-time, depending how long it will take to install your booth? Does you vendor know about the integration of different technology? Does your vendor know that in some venues the electrical outlet is on the floor and in some venues the electrical outlet drops from the ceiling? And most of all, can you rely on them to be there when you are on the trade show floor setting up and you need a tool or you are missing a part. — Simply ask these questions.
Thank you. Happy Exhibiting.