How to Run a Successful Trade Show ? | Marketing and Networking University

How to Run a Successful Trade Show ?

Avdoian, Richard

 

Richard J. Avdoian, CSP is founder/CEO of the Midwest Business Institute, Inc., a business consulting and coaching firm located in Metro St. Louis.  

Book Richard Avdoian to speak at your next corporate event! 

 

How to Run a Successful Trade Show?

Successful EXPO/Trade Show Booths

Trade Show booths are a great opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and services while positioning themselves as experts in their niche markets.

EXPO/Trade shows provide businesses and corporations one of the best venues to spread brand recognition, develop professional relationships and gather positive leads from your target audience(s). The primary objective is not to simply get their attention but to create desire, establish a relationship and get pertinent information in their hands to think about later and hopefully take action.

Surprisingly companies and businesses are failing to see that these basic tips are the key to developing a successful booth.

  1. Keep your company logo and tag line centered at the top of your display.
  2. Post 2- 4 key bullet points (addressing needs and outcomes) in the middle panel of the display.
  3. Text – keep it simply, bold, concise and in large font. You want prospects able to read it from outside the booth.
  4. Keep it open – avoid placing the table in front of the booth creating a barrier. Consider placing the table either to the back of the space or on either side of the booth. This creates a warm, open, inviting space.
  5. Graphics/Photos – be selective choose bold, colorful, engaging items that compliment your brand and key bullet points.
  6. Color scheme – select colors that either represent your company’s logo or compliments the company’s logo, brand and image. Be cautious not to invest in trendy colors as they change frequently.
  7. Do it right or not at all – be prepared to invest the funds to create a quality professional display that represents the image the company wants to project.
  8. Be provocative – write content that entices, challenges and addresses what is in it for the prospective client.
  9. Audio/Visuals – these can be attraction grabbing to entice the attendees creating a desire and an opportunity to highlight your company’s products or services. You could also show demonstrations and testimonials.

Effectively Working an EXPO/Trade Show

  • Be prepared and present – Be well rested energized, arrive early to properly set up and take the time to eat meals
  • Be inviting and approachable – Make eye contact and smile as people are approaching and be aware of your facial expressions and body language.
  • Be actively engaged and focused. – Get them to expose their concerns, wants and needs
    • Ideally adopt a 80/20 rule spending 80% listening and REALLY hearing
    • Be relevant, soft sell…build a relationship
    • Avoid looking over the person’s shoulder for a more promising prospect
  • Affirmation & Compliments
    • Be open and inquisitive
    • Ask for their opinion re: the industry, trends etc….honor their expertise, experience
    • Rephrase what has been shared…to assure potential client you are engaged
    • Wrap-up “Enjoy visiting the other booths” “It was a pleasure meeting you” “Feel free to stop by again if you have additional questions”
  • Follow-up – Have a plan established prior to the event
    • Timeline – initial and follow-up
      • Cards, letters etc…hand write
    • When gathering business card have a plan
      • Separate key prospects from the mass
        • Jot down a few key personal notes and voiced needs or concerns

 

Taking the time to think, plan and create an enticing interactive trade show booth and train your employees to attract and engage prospective leads are the key to effectively working a trade show. If you incorporate these tips in your planning you will create a strong, memorable booth and are more likely to attract interested prospects to your booth.

Make Your Personal Connection So Engaging Clients Never Want To Leave.

“I feel like you really understand our needs!”

“This has really been both a pleasure and beneficial!”

“I am so glad I took the time to stop by your booth!”

Have you heard these comments from you clients as much as you desire?

The challenge with attracting prospective clients at trade shows is making the connection more. More appealing. More playful. More engaging. More about them than the company you represent. More memorable.

Remember: It is about them and creating a memorable connection.

The key is to realize that people are quick to judge and you have about 10 seconds to attract their attention and make them feel welcomed.

Here are three practices to make your connection so engaging that clients don’t want to leave your booth, will revisit your booth and bring colleagues by to visit.

Reminisce. Revisit Your Pass.

Do an internal audit of the previous year’s best and worst trade show experiences. Which three or four were the most beneficial shows. The shows you left accelerated because you interacted with many visitors? The ones you were surprised the time pasted so quickly. What made these shows so exciting and engaging? Was it the booth design? Was it freebies you distributed? Was it the staff you sent?

Take the time to:

  • List the three or four shows that couldn’t end quickly enough? What made these shows so irritating, miserable, and uneventful? Was it the location? Was the wrong team sent? Was it a lack of trade show experience or training? Was it a poor selection of a trade show?
  • Make a list of the behaviors, situations, attitude of the best and worst trade show experience. Are there noted patterns or commonalities? Now take a step back and ask yourself how well do I routinely prepare, evaluate, and select staff and set goals for trade shows. If your answer is “not well” here is what you can do.

It should be all about them, not you and your company

Believe me business owners, CEOs and consumers in general really could care less about you or your company. They care about them. They are consumed by their needs and concerns. They care about getting what they need for the best price, quality and customer service. So perhaps the best use of your prep time should be to make a list of all the things prospects could care less about.

Think of it this way:

  • Consumers do not care about you.
  • Some people are simply “window shopping” no desire or plan to buy anything.
  • Some people are simply there to “trick or treat”, desiring “only” the freebies.

Try these probing questions and comments when interacting with clients and prospects:

  • What are the biggest challenges your company/business is facing today?
  • What has been tried before?
  • How would the company/business condition improve if these were improved?
  • How important are these needs (on a scale of 1 – 10)
  • The three questions you need to ask yourself are…
  • Here’s the good news…

They want content.

They want relevant, practical, concise information and solutions to their needs and concerns. That is what prospects want. That is what companies, associations and business owners want. When they are reading your display text, viewing your video demonstrations and listening to your pitch, they need to be thinking to themselves, “We need this, this solves our problems, tell me more.”

  • Do your homework and be selective
    • Take the necessary time to research each events
      • Is it my niche market
      • Will key decision makers be attending
  • Ask yourself
    • Will participating generate a return on my invest
    • What are our measurable goals
      • Sales
      • Positioning
      • Assess this new market/event
  • Select and Assign the team
    • Sales Force Only – Mission: Sell, sell, sell – Decision makers & management level attending Only
    • Ambassador(s) Only – Mission: establish relationships, strengthen your brand, promote your product and services – No decision makers attending event
    • Sales Force & Ambassador Team – Decision makers/management and support employees attending. Send Sales Force back on the road once Decision Makers session is finished and Ambassadors staff the booth for remainder of event.
  • Create a Memory
    • Create an booth environment which taps the senses of the attendees
    • Make the booth interactive and playful – be cautious not to lose sight of your purpose at the event.
      • Post 2- 4 key bullet points (addressing needs and outcomes) in the middle panel of the display. Be provocative – write content that entices, challenges and addresses what is in it for the attendees company, association or business.
      • Text – keep it simply, bold, concise and in large font. You want prospects able to read it from outside the booth.
      • Graphics/Photos – be selective choose bold, colorful, engaging items that compliment your brand and key bullet points.
      • Audio/Visuals – these can be attraction grabbing to entice the attendees creating a desire and an opportunity to highlight your company’s products or services. You could also show demonstrations and testimonials.

If you incorporate these practices and tips in your planning you will create a more engaging, more interesting and memorable booth. Your clients and prospect will be attracted to your booth and never want to leave.

© Richard J. Avdoian, CSP (2009)

More about Richard Avdoian

When the skills of a speaker, coach, and consultant are combined with over three decades of behavioral medicine experience and real life, firsthand business experience into one dynamic person, you have Richard.

He works with corporations, businesses, and associations committed to recruiting, training, and retaining highly motivated productive employees.  He works with individuals to complete an internal personal audit to recognize and own their strengths, weaknesses, and fears to establish a positive naked confidence in their abilities which elevates engagement, creative thinking and increased productivity.  He believes that personal development is the single most competitive advantage any organization can have in today’s competitive workplace.

He is a nationally recognized speaker who offers keynote speeches, seminars & workshops that focus on enhancing human assets to increase productivity and profitability with the key being maximizing personal capabilities.

In July, 2003 he received the designation of Certified Speaking Professional (C.S.P.) from the National Speakers Association and International Federation for Professional Speakers, the highest earned level of excellence attainable in the industry and a distinction representing the top 10 percent of all members of the profession.

Richard has been a frequent guest on local business radio stations. His column “Smart Business” appears in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly Magazine. He authored numerous articles and has been a contributing author to countless publications throughout his career.

Clients include: United States Postal Services, American Bankers Association, Corning Glass Company, Illinois Innovators and Inventors, Peabody Coal Company, Associated General Contractors of America, Monsanto, Illinois City Management Association, United Meat Cutters Union, United States Air Force and Meeting Professionals International.

© Richard J. Avdoian, CSP (2017)

Richard J. Avdoian, CSP is founder/CEO of the Midwest Business Institute, Inc., a business consulting and coaching firm located in Metro St. Louis. Richard can be reached at Richard@RichardAvdoian.com.

November 13, 2017