Posted by: cherylyoung | July 29, 2012

Getting the Most From Trade Shows and Exhibiting

Don’t show up empty-handed.

Make sure you’re fully prepared

to maximize your time at this annual event.

Trade shows can be a tremendously powerful marketing

tool or a tremendous drain on your time and resources.

There are many excellent reasons to exhibit at trade shows.

They’re great way to connect with customers and prospects,

launch new products and catch up on the industry buzz.

But never attend a trade show “because we go every

year,” or just because you think it’s expected.

Always have a specific goal in mind and prepare a

strategy for achieving it.

After all, exhibiting at a trade show represents a large

investment for a small business.

It entails all kind of expenses, from preparing and shipping

your booth and materials to travel and entertainment costs,

not to mention your lost work time.

To get something out of a trade show, put

something into it.

Plan your trade show activities from start to finish,

before, during and after the event.

Before the Show

Before you even register, identify your trade show goals.

This makes all your future decision-making easier;

all the choices you make afterward should be geared

toward achieving your objective. In addition:

  • Promote your attendance at the show through

  • e-mails, newsletters and on your website.

  • Encourage customers to visit your booth through

  • a contest or promotion.

  • If your goal is meeting with clients, don’t leave it to

  • chance.

  • Set up those appointments well in advance, including

  • time and meeting place.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to check out

  • your booth.

  • If you need to spiff it up, you’ll need time to do

  • it right.

  • A shoddy, outdated booth is a real liability.

  • Ditto your marketing materials.

  • Are they current?

  • Do you have enough?

  • If you need a particular marketing piece, now’s

  • the time to do it.

  • Be sure to give yourself enough time to do

  • a good job.

  • Between the event ad book and expanded

  • trade pub circulation, trade shows offer unique,

  • once-a-year advertising opportunities.

  • Determine if advertising will help achieve your

  • goal, and if so, have a compelling ad ready before

  • that deadline sneaks up on you.

  • Devise a strategy for collecting contact information

  • at the show. For example, a prize drawing–with a

  • trendy, sought-after prize–motivates prospects to

  • part with their business cards.

It’s Showtime If you’ve done your planning,

you’ll be well positioned to make the most of the event.

Keep your goal in mind throughout the show.

For example, while it’s tempting to socialize with your pals,

don’t be sidetracked from connecting with new prospects.

Because you’re talking to so many people, it’s easy to forget

parts of conversations.

After meeting with each contact, take a moment to jot down

some quick notes.

At the end of each day, review and expand your notes.

It’s important to do it while everything’s fresh in your mind.

If you’re a scribbler, transcribe them onto your laptop.

That way, once you get back to your office, you won’t be

scratching your head and wondering what you were trying

to tell yourself.

After the Show

Plan in advance to spend your first days back fulfilling

all the commitments you made.

Do it first, before you get drawn back into your day-to-day


Follow up with prospects or clients who asked for


If you do it while the subject’s still in their heads, it’s

more meaningful–plus you get points for follow-through.

Hopefully, you collected some business cards during the


Follow up on them right away, too.

A smart way to do this is to create an e-mail template

or follow-up packet before you go, and all you need to

do is personalize it upon your return.

It’s essential that you do some Monday morning

quarterbacking and review your trade show

performance as objectively as possible.

Did your booth do its job? Are improvements required?

Were your materials effective? Does something need

to be changed or added?

Was your advertising worth the investment?

Were your meetings effective, or is there something you should

do differently next time?

Did you miss anyone?

Most importantly, did you achieve your goal?

This isn’t a rhetorical exercise.

Think deeply about each question and commit your

notes to paper.

Start a “trade show” file. This way, you’ll have a place to

begin when the next show rolls around and you

start the process all

Exhibitors are a vital part of any session, they add a touch

of flair and the opportunity to show everyone at the session

just what it is that you do,  SO MAKE THIS COUNT

Cheryl Young

Sidney Meet Up Womens Networking  on facebook Sidney Meet UP


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