You understand the significant financial investment involved with maintaining a professional presence at major trade shows. The large costs of trade show booth fabrication, personnel, travel and follow-up require you to focus on the return you generate. Giving proper attention to the details are an essential part of that process. Below are 11 items that will go a long way to achieving that objective:
1. Designating the Team.
Each show has its own character and makeup. You want to bring the right members of your organization to meet attendees’ expectations. For example, you will shift the mix between technical and sales booth staff based on the nature of the show, exhibit booth design and past successes.
2. Defining the Objectives.
As with the first point, understand your goals for each trade show. Is it meeting with customers, introducing your company to prospects and generating leads, introducing new products, or a mixture of all of these?
3. Arranging for All Collateral and Supplies.
Allow plenty of lead-time for all your printed material organization, product set-up and handout promos, as well as all equipment needed in the booth. Things will definitely get hectic last minute, make an effort to curb this as much as possible.
4. Notify Customers and Key Contacts.
Let key prospects, connections and customers know you will be at the show, where to find you and invite them by the booth. Arrange appointments with key industry contacts you hope to see during the show (Some exhibitors will go as far as setting aside meeting space within their booth for such purposes). This is after all, an event for socialization. Socialize!
Showtime Contingencies and Activities
5. Backups for All Electronics and Presentation Materials.
Ensure you have duplicates of all the equipment and programs needed for your booth. Wear and tear is a reality that needs to be addressed. Remember Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong; it will…
6. Manage Prospect and Customer Flow.
It is easy to get lost in the hubbub of the convention. Assign one person to keep an eye on the overall activity and ensure visitors are getting the attention they deserve. Booth staff are essential to keeping a booth organized and not a chaotic mess.
7. Evaluate the Competition.
Trade shows are long. Take some time to check out the trade show booth fabrication and presence of your competition. You will be surprised what you observe. Often times new ideas and innovations will come to light.
8. Securing Next Year’s Position.
Depending on the show, floor location can be booked years in advance. Don’t leave your next trade show booth location to chance, work hard to get the best possible location if it is a priority.
9. Debrief and After Action.
Solicit detailed feedback immediately after the show while thoughts are fresh. A team debrief immediately after the doors close is the best time to evaluate this years trade show and plans for the future. Designate someone to take notes so there is a record to refer to.
10. Nurture Leads.
The leads are your gold. Don’t make all that effort to draw them in and leave them hanging. Make sure you follow-up to get the best trade show ROI you want. Of course, closing the deal right there on the spot is ideal.
11. Planning Booth Changes and Enhancements.
Meet with your trade show booth fabrication experts after the show and advise them of any needed changes, ideas, concerns, etc. for the next use of your booth.
Proper planning and follow through will ensure you achieve the best possible trade show results.