Attending and exhibiting at trade shows, for all types of business people, can be a really effective way to increase your number of business prospects and make important new contacts. But for the greener attendee, and possible entrepreneurs new to the game of showing off their products or services to others in such a climate, knowing how best to approach a trade show can be tricky.

Here we take a look at what things you can do to enhance your chance of winning at trade shows and gain maximum exposure for you and your product.

crowded tradeshow
photo credit: CPABC

Set a Goal

Just as you’ve probably learned thus far on your entrepreneurial journey, having and setting goals is pretty integral to helping bring results. As for trade shows themselves, the process is no different. Begin with the idea of what you’re going to the show for. To introduce a new product? To meet new prospects? Then work backwards as to how you can best build goals that align with your motivations.

Incorporate a Theme

The best exhibition displays usually highlight a message or emphasise a statement to someone before they even get close to the stand itself. Having creative people within your team come up with ideas as to how you can work to establish a theme, whether that’s through competitions, costumes or promotional materials, is a good way to achieve that. Try and think of tie-ins with your products or services too, something eye-catching and interesting.

Brief Staff

The amount of businesses that head to trade shows without training or briefing their staff as to how best they can represent their employees can sometimes be quite apparent. To avoid falling into that trap make sure your team understands why they are at a show, what the main goals are for being there and that they can talk comfortable and confidently about what your business does.

Osaka Kawaii at Japan Expo 2014
photo credit: ActuaLitte / Flickr

Before and After Prospecting

Most trade show events begin the marketing process leading up to the event several months in advance. By committing early to an event you can then begin getting in on these efforts by inviting people to your stall in the marketing literature of the event as a whole. You can also do the same afterward, even capitalising on social media engagement to thank attendees directly and further the discussion over on those channels.

Focus Attention

Another final tip that can help you and your business maximise their time at a trade show event is to focus in on actual prospects rather than those that are simply engaging with you casually that aren’t a good match for your offer. This can be done by using targeted questions that can help determine whether you can provide a solution to someone’s problem or not.

Winning at trade shows needn’t be too difficult if you take a calm approach and do a little planning beforehand. Combine that with the aforementioned advice and hopefully you’ll get the kind of results you desire.