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If it’s your first time manning your custom trade show exhibit, you’re probably feeling nervous, and for good reason! When you consider how much is riding on making sure that your exhibit is successful, you want to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch. After all, it’s not just a way to get your name out and be noticed among your competitors, it’s also THE place to network with your business peers and be updated with all the latest trends in your industry.
Here is a checklist that you can use covering tips that can help make your first trade show exhibit successful.
BEFORE THE SHOW
1. Define your objectives clearly and stick to them
Before you even consider joining a trade show, you should know what goals you want to accomplish because these goals will dictate what kind of display you need, how you will interact with other attendees, and even what kind of trade show you want to attend! Are you launching a new product or increasing awareness about your current offerings? Do you want to create connections with suppliers in your industry or learn about new trends? Knowing your goals will also help you design your exhibit as well as plan your budget in advance.
2. Make Your Presence Known
There’s no point in joining a show if no one knows you are there, no matter how beautiful your exhibit is or how desirable your product is. There are several ways to reach out to your client base, such as sending newsletters via email, posting on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or even creating a blog on your website. You should increase their interest by giving small hints on why they should visit your booth, or even giving them a call to action.
3. Be Prepared to Network
It’s always good to know who the other attendees are at a trade show, especially if you plan to find new suppliers or connect with business peers. Contact the trade show organizers and ask for a list of people or companies who are joining the show and identify potential connections who can benefit your business.
4. Choose and Train Your Staff Carefully
Your booth is only as good as the people you choose to run it. Pick people who have experience in sales, and if possible, have participated in similar trade shows in the past. Outline your goals as well as their tasks clearly so that there are no overlapping duties and everyone knows where they should be and what they should be doing through the duration of the event.
DURING THE SHOW
1. Be Ready to Talk and Demonstrate
Get a list of talking points ready, especially if you are launching a new product or service. There’s nothing more off-putting to potential customers and business partners than watching someone try to sell something that they don’t know much about.
2. Determine How to Measure Your Success Towards Your Goals
Since you already have a list of clearly-defined goals, you should also know how you will measure your performance with respect to achieving those goals. For example, if your goal is to increase your professional network, make sure that you are able to connect with all the potential companies that you have identified earlier. If your goal is to increase product awareness, create a mailing list that people can join so that you know exactly how many people you have reached with your display.
AFTER THE SHOW
1. Follow up With Everyone Who Showed Interest
Whether it’s a potential business partner or a potential customer, you should always follow up after they have shown interest in your display. Following up shows that you have a sincere interest in making them part of your business and it increases the chances of you completing a sale or closing a partnership.
2. Join Trade Show Groups to Be Informed
After your first successful trade show, chances are that you will want to be informed regarding similar trade shows in the future. The best way to keep informed is by joining trade show groups so that you can be kept aware of future events that you can join. These groups often have calendars that are exclusively available to their members regarding future shows and where they will be held. Being informed about future shows will help you prepare adequately so that your business will further benefit from joining these shows.