25 Top Tips for Success in your Trade Show Booth
Many businesses, especially B2B companies, rely on trade shows to gain clientele and promote their brand. Trade shows offer an opportunity to gain a better sense of current business trends and to develop a presence in your industry.
Setting up and running a trade show exhibit is no easy task, but when it’s done right, the rewards are worth it. To ensure you're heading for success in your trade show booth, take a look at the following 25 top tips.
Preparing for Success in your Trade Show Booth
1. Make sure it's worth your investment
Before committing to a trade show, make sure it’s worth your while. Calculate your costs and potential for increased business. Make sure there will be a positive return on your investment.
2. Don’t do it alone
Even if you have a strong work ethic, you’ll need to take breaks. You should have at least one other person with you to make sure your exhibit is never left unattended. Even if it’s just a friend or family member, make sure they will be pleasant and personable with the attendees.
3. Dress right
When choosing attire for the show, make sure you are dressed to suit your industry and to make a good impression on visitors. Also, take into account factors like the temperature and possible rain if it’s an outdoor venue (you might want to consider an outdoor banner).
4. Be ready to answer questions
Make sure that you and your fellow exhibitors are well versed in your company’s product knowledge. It’s not enough to just memorize a sales pitch. It’s a shame to lose a hot lead by being uninformed, not to mention embarrassing.
5. Use a checklist
It may seem like extra work, but a checklist will go a long way to make sure you’re prepared for success. You should make an inventory of all the supplies, electronic equipment and documents you’ll need. You also should have a list of people you are expecting to meet there and pertinent info about them. (Here's a checklist to start with ->)
6. Arrive at the right time
There are a lot of things to do before the exhibit starts. You need time to learn the layout of the venue, where the restrooms and concessions are, meet with the organizers, make friends with your neighboring exhibitors and not feel rushed.
Marketing for Success in your Trade Show Booth
7. Invite potential customers to your booth before the show begins
Don't just rely on foot traffic at the show to generate sales. Before the show begins, line up prospects via email, direct mail, social media and so on.
8. Promotional items
Hand out or give prizes with company logos on them such as pens, calendars and t-shirts. Visitors will be reminded of your company every time they use them.
9. Use raffles and giveaways to lure potential clients
When sending out pre-show materials, include a free raffle ticket or tell them they may win a free gift.
Create Exhibits that Attract Visitors
10. Create a theme that fits your product or brand
Consider the product or location of your company, and fit the exhibit design to the theme. This is a way to non-verbally communicate what your brand is about, and will help ensure you achieve the desired success in your trade show booth.
11. Well-labeled displays
Make sure your booth has visible signs so attendees know who you are. Even if you are outdoors, make sure you have bold signage and extra banners to to help attract attention.
12. Well-lit displays
You don’t want your booth to be poorly lit. It will seem dull or dreary compared to other exhibits. Make sure the important items and features stand out.
13. Spruce up your booth with video and audio elements
As long as it's within your budget and fits your brand image, large, full-motion video or live music attracts attendees like moths to a flame.
14. Provide hospitality
Free beverages and snacks are sure to draw people in. It can be as simple as coffee and pastries, maybe with a wireless cell charging station.
15. Draw attention with a costumed company mascot
If playful elements fit your brand, a costumed mascot will attract attention and put a smile on visitors’ faces.
16. Hire a spokesperson
If your budget allows, a local celebrity or semi-famous personality will boost your image and attract crowds.
Booth operations and visitor relations
17. Don't ignore visitors.
This may seem to go without saying, but too many booth staff are busy with other tasks. Make sure your exhibitors are paying attention and giving every visitor a friendly nod, smile or hello.
18. Avoid distractions
Avoid too much chatter with your fellow exhibitors. Don’t get distracted with snacks, phone apps or other time wasters.
19. Don't scare off visitors
Don’t accost visitors and go into a sales pitch unsolicited. Don't say "may I help you?" – this question is over-used and tends to be brushed off or ignored. Instead, engage with your visitors.
20. Treat visitors as you would want to be treated.
It’s crucial to listen to potential clients. Don’t interrupt an attendee for the sake of getting out your memorized sales pitch.
21. Qualify visitors
Assess that a visitor is a legitimate potential lead before getting into a lengthy conversation. Some direct questions about their work or why they are attending the show will help qualify them.
22. Take notes for follow-ups
In many cases, your goal may be to establish a continuing business relationship and repeat business rather than a one-time sale. You should take note of all pertinent information for qualified leads.
23. Make friends with your neighbors
Nearby exhibitors can offer help and may even send clients your way if they are in a non-competing industry.
Post-show Practices for Achieving Success in your Trade Show Booth
24. Prepare for follow-ups
You will probably be tired after the show, but the follow-up work is perhaps the most important part of the process. Make sure to do the steps to convert leads into sales.
25. Learn from your successes
Ask existing customers what made them buy from you. This will lead to better conversion rates at future exhibits.