Over the years I have attended hundreds of conventions it feels like, and with all of the trade show displays that I have seen and built, I wanted to take a moment and share with you some of the more successful booths that I have seen. We all go to the convention centers as either vendors or attendees, and of course if we are the latter of the two, we are hoping to find something new, learn something new or meet someone that will help us in our business typically. As a vendor, there could not be a better place to meet new prospective customers. Trade shows are full of prospects that have voluntarily attended the show to find you! The only problem at that show or event is the number of competitors that will also be there. That is exactly why I have written this article, how do we take your stand and make it stand out from all of your competitors?
Here are five of the biggest mistakes that I see from Trade Show Exhibitors when I attend Trade Shows:
#1. A Cluttered and Messy Booth: I know we have all seen that booth which is filled up with empty bottles, notebooks, giveaways from the other booths, food containers, and other miscellaneous junk. These booths have staff that are busy talking to each other, emailing and text messaging. The message that is being delivered here is that “We are not professional, very busy, and we are not focused on you”. As I write this, I can think of the numerous times that I have been guilty of the same actions described above. If I would have used a little common sense, perhaps I would have walked away with more contacts and leads from that event or trade show. Make certain that you appear attentive and eager to earn new business, I do not think that there is a better way to show a prospective customer that you are interested in earning their business other than just seeming genuinely interested in earning their business.
#2. No Pre-Show Marketing. Here is one that I always see as a large mistake. I have seen exhibitors that do market and those that do not. Those that market the event with variable data postcards or direct mail, plus cold calls to new prospective customers always have the busiest booths. Even if an exhibitor were to call of their current customers and inform them of the upcoming event would have an influence on the popularity of that exhibitor’s booth. Great booth traffic does not happen by chance (at least not usually), so be sure to take advantage of all the great pre-show marketing opportunities such as direct mail, cold calls, banners displayed in your business as well as posting your event on your website and other internet venues. If you have extra tickets to the event, make certain to invite a client or two. This is a good time to build a relationship with a “C” client.
#3. No post-show marketing. I have been guilty of this “mistake” at many events. I have spent days preparing for the event, I have worn my best suit to the event, made certain I had all of my business cards, etc. When I return from the event, I am “exhausted” and I am behind on my regular day-to-day activities and so I put all of my new contacts on the back-burner. This is a huge mistake which is like forgetting to tag the bases after you have hit a home run. The simple fact is that the faster you get back to your prospects the more likely you are to close a sale. If you wait on these prospects, it allows every one of your competitors that were at the same show to contact those prospects first. If possible, you should try and send out emails every night to the more qualified prospects that you had met, then make certain to follow up within a week with a scheduled meeting to answer and address follow up questions.
#4. Untrained Personnel. Now, this is one that I am not guilty of personally as I attend all of my own trade shows; however, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have attended a trade show and met untrained staff at the booth. Unfortunately they do not know anything about the company or product that you are interested in discussing. I do not think that anything is worse than you knowing more about the subject than the vendor that provides the service or product. I believe that many prospects feel as I do, and that is uninterested in doing anything further with that company. In the end, having untrained staff at the trade show display raises questions in your customer/prospect’s mind about the company’s dedication to the product or service and whether they will be able to get support when they need it.
#5. Attending the wrong show or event. Okay, what could this possibly mean? I don’t know if this has happened to you, but it has happened to me many times. I have not completed my research on the event, and I wound up going to a show that was more of a networking event for professionals than it was an event where I was meeting my target market. So, in other words, I wound up getting solicited by attendees more than soliciting. Although this type of event is not a waste of time, it is not the most cost effective way of trade show marketing. What we want to do, is get in front of our target audience, more often for a longer period of time and for a cheaper cost than anything else we could do. Pay attention to what show you are attending, and make certain you do your research on the show or event. It is important to know how the event is being marketed, who is expected to attend, etc.
So if you can follow these five simple steps you should be able to avoid wasting your valuable time and money attending your next trade show. For more information on trade show displays or collapsible banner stands contact Denver Print Company 720-542-6105.