Five Ways You Can Excel In A 10 Foot Booth

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As a trade show manager in a 10×10 trade show booth, you’ve got to do the same things the big guys do, under more difficult conditions:

  • smaller space,
  • fewer resources,
  • less brand awareness, to name just a few.

But smaller exhibitors are being successful all over the world, and you can do it, too. You just need to think through each of the things you’re expected to do, and scale them down to achievable objectives.

Let’s look at each one separately:

Objective #1: Goal Setting
If you’ve got one or two people staffing your exhibit, you’re not going to be able to generate as many leads as the big guys do with twenty staffers. So you have to focus on quality, not quantity. Identify your most important prospects and send out invitations, asking them to visit your booth at the show. Make a special offer in that invitation.

If you’ve got premiums, don’t give them away to anyone walking by (especially because it will eat up a staffer’s time handing them out). Instead, keep the premiums out of sight and trade them for a completed lead card from a qualified prospect.

Objective #2: Staffing
In a small 10×10 trade show booth, you can’t physically fit as many staffers there as your colleagues can do in their much larger booths, so let the audience be your guide. If you’re selling to technical people, like engineers, you should have at least one staffer who can answer those kinds of questions.

Note – A common mistake made by companies with smaller exhibits is to send rookies to their shows. This can be lethal to your chances of success. Why? With only one or two people to ask questions of, those people need to know their stuff.

My thinking has always been that you send your best people to the show—not just someone who won’t mind sticking around after the show and helping to pack up the booth.

Objective #3: Knowledge Base
This one’s really about how much your booth staffers know about your company and its products. With fewer staffers in your exhibit, they simply have to do a better job than their contemporaries at larger companies. They should at least know the basics of boothmanship:
• Engage
• Qualify quickly
• Disengage

If you can’t afford to bring in a trainer, do it yourself—but get your sales and marketing managers involved. Then, role-play the various selling situations your staffers will find themselves in, each taking turn as “staffer” and “customer,” with Sales and Marketing giving feedback.

Objective #4: Scheduling
Even if there are only two of you in the booth, plan breaks and lunches into the schedule, so neither staffer feels unduly burdened.

The first thing you should schedule is your team meeting at breakfast, where you each go over objectives, key points about your products, and ways of identifying your target audience.

Try to plan a 10-minute break for each person every hour, and a staggered half hour lunch break at some point during the show day.

Objective #5: Engaging Attendees
Chances are, attendees aren’t going to start their walk-through of the exhibit hall by asking, “How many exhibitors in small 10×10 trade show booth can I talk to today?”

If they’ve done any pre-show planning, they’re likely to have identified some of the larger exhibitors and maybe a few others where they know someone who works there. Or maybe they’re planning to visit the booth of an exhibitor whose products they’ve used in the past.

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So you’ve got to get out there and mix it up. Here’s what won’t work:
• Standing at the very edge of your booth’s carpet and shoving literature at passers-by.
• Standing (or worse, sitting) at the back of your display, waiting for them to come to you.

Nope. You’ve got to stand close to the aisle and talk with people—even if it’s just a hello for starters. But that’s going to get tired after a while, and you’ll have to come up with a quick “hook” that will catch visitors’ interest.

Another way to engage is to be involved in a product demo virtually all the time. In other words, find a way to make your product demo interactive, so you can draw people off the aisles to watch you take it apart and put it back together again (or whatever you can demonstrate with your product).

The final way to engage attendees is by using a video. To do this effectively, place the monitor stand near the front aisle and position your staffer next to it, so he or she can explain or elaborate on what’s happening in the video. (A quick tip: Caption your video. This way, even if the noise level in the hall is out of control, attendees can still get some value from your video.)

So there it is: five ways you can make a big—or at least bigger—splash with a small 10×10 trade booth.

  • Remember who you’re competing with: it’s not just the bigger exhibitors all around you.
  • Rather, you’re competing against that inner clock that’s telling each attendee they don’t have enough time to do everything they want to do.
  • That’s why you have to actively work at standing out from the crowd.
  • It’s likely that few attendees came to this show specifically to see you – although more of them would be doing so if you’d done some pre-show marketing (I’m just saying…).
  • So you have to think strategically to compete against that constant ticking sound in each prospect’s head.

Here at American Image Displays, we’ve helped hundreds of companies make a splash on the show floor with small displays. And many of those companies have succeeded so well that they’ve moved on to bigger and bigger exhibits over the years. If you’d like that to be your story, too, talk with us. We’ll be happy to share what we know. Just call (800) 676-3976 or email [email protected]

For more, check out article on how to beat your competitor’s trade show displays or our article on trade show booth games.