Tradeshows can be very exciting and nerve racking at the same time. But have no fear Boral Branders is here! We are glad to share with you some tips that have worked like magic with us. Keep in mind you can very well apply these tips to not only big tradeshows, but also small fundraising events or local business chamber expositions.
1. Never go to an event that you can’t afford to go to.
We’ve learned our lesson before. An event that charges 3,000 to attend is not worth it if you will come out with two leads. If you are an established business and have all the means to risk it go ahead. However, if you are going to invest big money you better invest an equal amount of time promoting your booth on your social media enough to have people waiting to see you, but not so much as to spam people like crazy. LinkedIn and Twitter are usually the go-to places for an event promotion.
2. Dress it up. Look Alive. Be kind.
Here at Boral Branders we like to stand out when we go to a show. If you’ve never seen us in action you will quickly notice us. We are the ones with the bright red shirt and matching Converse. It’s important to look presentable, stand out, and feel comfortable at the same time because a tradeshow’s life span could range from an hour up to five. Make a game plan at least a week before the show and train your team to be confident and to talk to everyone. Don’t sit down and just hand pamphlets to everyone you see. Look alive and keep your booth clean. Be kind. Never be rude to someone just because they don’t look like a prospective client. People appreciate kindness and if every other booth is ignoring them, then you will stand out for taking the time to chat.
3. If the Avengers taught is anything is that alliances rock.
We have recently begun to trade leads with other vendors at the trade show. Why? If you get 1000 business cards, and they do also, now you have 2000. 10% or 20% may overlap. That’s ok. Way more than you got on your own. Many of those vendors can become prospects or great partners. Competition is awesome!
4. Never go to a show that you wouldn’t be able to take over if ordered to.
What does this mean? An English major would not be teaching a Calculus class for example. When you go to a tradeshow you have to be well prepared with information about it and be able to answer any question that anyone shoots your way. We are not saying you can direct people to every vending machine in the auditorium, but you should know who the speakers are and what the purpose of the show is and what exactly brought you there. If you can’t fluently spit out useful information about the event, create your own event, invite your contacts, and speak about what you do know.
5. Don’t pitch it. Stitch it.
It’s great to prepare a script of responses for you and your team so that they know what to say if asked certain questions. However, that script should be used as a guide not as a memorized shtick that you will try to shove down everyone’s throats. People stop at your booth to learn who you are and to meet the face behind the company. Don’t bombard them with a rehearsed pitch the minute they say hello.Make a polite conversation, ask them about themselves, and if they are in need of your services stitch your information along their needs and they will respond.
6. Swag. Goodies. Tchotchkes.
The first thing you need to do to find the perfect giveaway is brainstorm. What is the occasion? What is your budget? List your favorite promotional products and go through each. See which ones are cost effective and will arrive on time for the show. Ask yourself, would I want this item? Make people interested in your clever and unique items enough for them to feel they need them. Interest turns into need and that’s how you get customers. Also, make sure to not leave a pile of your goodies on your table or they will be snatched. Have your staff hand them to visitors personally as a way of starting a conversation.
7. Game time!
Invite your teammates to shows and watch for the ones with hidden talents. You never know, your accountant, secretary, and graphic designer could have a knack for sells and get you hundreds of leads. We are not saying to drag your whole office to a show and let them sink or swim, however it is important for a company as a whole to be involved and informed of current events in the company. Have fun contests and set goals and prizes to spice up your tradeshow.
By the time the show is about to end your feet probably hurt, your throat is sore from talking so much, and your energy is hanging on for dear life. Make sure to take small breaks throughout the day so that you are not a zombie toward the end because there are people that wait till the halls are cleared to get to you and get your full attention. If they are walking toward you and see you looking exasperatedly at your watch like you want to fly out of there they will walk past you and go home.
9. Let them play…responsibly.
People exploring a tradeshow are like kids at a candy store and want to touch everything. Make sure that if you have different products you separate the ones that are more valuable and place them where you can monitor them. Usually, people get excited seeing so many knick-knacks that they think they are all giveaways instead of samples.
10. Have fun!
Yes mend your booth and attend your customers, but if more than one team member attends take turns to explore the rest of the show and meet with other vendors so that you can exercise tip # 3 later in the day. Have fun, laugh, and be positive.