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You’ve taken the plunge and decided it’s time for your company to be an exhibitor at a trade show. Not sure where to start? Luckily for you, we have years of experience and we’re here to help! I loved this check it out.
1 Set goals
Try to set quantifiable goals. Record everything you possibly can such as:
- Email addresses from leads
- Number of qualified leads obtained
- Number and value of sales as a result of the show
- Number of connections made with other companies at the event
- Target ROI
These metrics will help you determine the ROI of the show, and help you company decide if it’s worth it to attend another one.
2 Create a detailed budget
A good rule of thumb is to create a budget that’s three times the cost of your exhibit space. When planning your trade show expenses keep in mind the cost of hiring quality talent, shipping costs of your booth, having the booth made if you don’t currently own a booth, print and display materials, and travel expenses for your team. Click here to find out more about our trade show model services.
3 Purchase marketing materials
Order extra business cards and other materials to distribute at the trade show. Do not go over budget on printed material to distribute. Over half of the materials distributed at trade shows are thrown away. Click my website and see more.
4 Assume your area will be empty
Thoroughly review your trade show exhibitor paperwork. When you rent a booth at many trade shows often times the only item included is space on the show floor. Tables, chairs, and even electricity may all extra. This is not the case for every show so make sure you thoroughly review the paperwork.
5 Choose your exhibit location carefully
Location, location, location! Marketers say it all the time for a reason location is everything! Book your booth early to ensure you get your first pick. When you’re looking at a map of the trade show floor consider foot traffic patterns. Booths near exits, bathrooms, and food areas get the most pass-thorough traffic. If you’re unhappy with the booth you have, try following up with your contact at the trade show a week or so before the event. Many times companies drop out last minute leaving prime real estate open for the taking.
6 Do your homework
Read the publications produced by the show you’re attending. They usually contain valuable information about floor plan layout, seminars, and exhibitors. Have an idea of the companies you’d like to connect with ahead of time. If your competitors are going to be at the show, have your sales team focus on the unique selling proposition that puts your product ahead of the competition.
7 Book your sales team in advance
Reach out to key prospects and schedule appointments in advance. Take the time to research the companies you will be meeting with to learn about their needs and problem areas. This will help your sales team display the product features, which will most benefit that company.
8 Pick your team
Decide who you’re bringing to the show, and if necessary, hire extra staff for the event. Consider creating a booth schedule for your booth staff. It may seem unnecessary, but it will save you from unneeded stress later and ensure the booth will always be attended. At least two people should be manning the booth at all times.
9 Start small
Rent the smallest possible booth and focus your budget on marketing your products rather than an over the top set up. Displays can be very expensive so it’s a good idea to shop around at your first trade show and see all of your options before making an investment. Pop-up banners are a good place to start, because they are not too expensive and you can bring them with you rather than having to ship them.
10 Take notes, review your goals, and follow up with prospects
This is the most overlooked aspect of trade shows. People come back from a show and forget to follow up with potential customers, or even what they talked about. It’s very important to take notes immediately after a conversation; their business card, if you received one, is an excellent location, and to contact potential clients you met, A thank you for their time and interest is an easy way to keep the dialogue moving; try and reference something specific you discussed.
It’s also import to review the goals you set before attending the show and evaluate the value to your company of exhibiting. If you only track or review one metric, it should be ROI. Your bosses are most likely concerned with the bottom line and ROI is the single most important information you can provide.
The first time exhibiting at a trade show can be a stressful experience, but following these tips will give you the confidence and organization you need to perform like a pro!