Define Your Win
Consider what the purpose is of your company’s participation in the show. This purpose can change from year-to-year and should be revisited. Ask yourself the following questions. Are you actively seeking new clients? Building future relationships? Having presence for other business’ as a supplier? How many leads would you like to gather? Whatever goals you make, ensure they are S.M.A.R.T.; Specific, Exhibiting in local trade shows is a great opportunity to remain on top of consumer minds. There is nothing like a live event to create memorable interactions with event attendees. In order to do this, you must be prepared with a plan for the win!
Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time oriented.
Attendee Outreach Begins BEFORE the Event
Consumers are more educated than ever about your company before they even set foot onto the show floor. Consumers often research companies they are interested in by viewing their websites and social media posts. They are looking for reviews, photos of your work, information on your business culture and processes and promotions ahead of the event. To make your first great impression, it needs to be done before the event begins. Check if the show promoter offers any additional digital touchpoints or advertising prior to the event to draw more interest to your booth. Increase show traffic by sharing the show’s event on your website and social media pages. Promote that you will be at the show starting at least two weeks before and then throughout the show. Many shows have exhibitor toolkits available for you. Digital touchpoints are simple actions you can take to increase the number of warm leads.
Consider the look and interactivity of your booth
Your booth should reflect your brand while producing a positive, memorable experience for the attendee. Create something that piques curiosity and is an interactive experience consumers can see and touch. Have samples of what your business does in the booth – HVAC unit, cabinets, tile, plumbing fixtures, etc. This can serve as an icebreaker for both you as the exhibitor and the attendee. Typically, interactive booths also draw more media attention which is great exposure for your company! Conversely, if your tablecloth is comprised of wrinkles, closed off to open interaction or your booth is dated, what does that say to passersby? You want attendees to remember you positively.
Staff Makes the Difference
Staffing is a key consideration. Booth staff should be positive, enthusiastic and great communicators. While event management can bring attendees to the show, it is up to exhibitors to bring attendees to their booth. What is the best way to get staff talking to show attendees? Some exhibitors have staff stand in the aisle and aggressively persuade attendees into their booth. This does not work. Attendees often avoid aisles where they see this. It’s not only bad for you, but also no way to make friends with your neighboring exhibitors either. Instead, this is opportunity to ask a thought-provoking question to get an attendee to stop, think about your question and then listen to what you have to say. Sometimes a simple smile and hello is welcoming enough for someone to stop. Once engaged, it’s our turn to shin softly selling your offerings and qualifying the customer. Make sure you have a process to secure the lead by making an appointment, filling out a contact form, sharing contact info, providing marketing materials and business cards, etc.
Poor behaviors driving consumers away are not acknowledging someone stopping and standing in front of or in your booth. Even a simply hello to open the conversation. Having your back to the aisle or head engrossed in a computer that is not making a public demonstration or cellphone.
Consumers have had the opportunity to interact with not only you, but your competitors on the show floor as well. Don’t wait on the follow up phone call. Use your leads to create touchpoints throughout the year through email, mail and social media. Your creativity is the limit. Additionally, the show events and marketing team may have ways to allow you to connect to show attendees year-round. No matter how you do it, don’t expect attendees to contact you from just one interaction on the show floor, your perseverance opens opportunities for the win!