Product Presentation Pointers for Trade Shows and Exhibits

When it comes to attracting people to your trade show booth, presentation is everything. Want to know what works and what doesn’t? Here’s a few winning tips.

Product presentation at a trade show
photo credit: IAVM WHQ / Flickr

Don’t Bring Too Many Products

Most businesses that are committed to the “more is better” philosophy won’t listen to this advice, even if you can show them that their net sales aren’t improving because of overdoing it. Their loss shouldn’t be yours.

If you’re using something like this trade show booth company, you definitely don’t want a lot of clutter mucking up a beautiful design. Exhibiting too many products also creates an incentive problem. When you barricade yourself up with product displays, you don’t look very inviting.

Consider bringing only your best products or your biggest sellers. Leave everything else at home. And, if someone wants to buy something you haven’t brought, keep a small display stand with miniature versions of that product, brochures, perhaps a video, and keep someone stationed near that section of the booth to explain your other offerings.

Demonstrate and Put On An Interesting Show

Trade booths are nothing if not a stage for your products. So, give people a demonstration of what you can do. Demos are great for getting people to stop and check you out. You don’t have to be a dyed in the wool salesman, but you should have some kind of direct-sales skills.

Invest some time in creating something practical that sells your product. Ideally, the demo will be simple, repeatable, and it (the product) will sell itself. If you have to put on a complicated, convoluted, cheesy pitch, forget about it. People are too smart for that these days.

Understand Your Customer

Make sure you know who you’re marketing to. So many businesses don’t want to get bogged down with details like matching market and message. But, at a trade show, this is absolutely necessary. You only have so much time to make an impact, you want it to be with people who are likely customers.

And, this is the downside to trade show events that keep many businesses from coming back. There are a lot of tire kickers at these shows. There are. But, there are also a lot of people who are looking for a solution to a problem. Speak to those people. Have a clear and concise message that can be explained in about 10 seconds to anyone who happens to be walking by and asks, “what do you do?”

Also, have a follow-up question that makes sense given the demo.

So, for example, if you sell mops, you might put on a demo of your mop. When people stop by and ask about it, you say, “Our mops can soak up to 10x their weight in liquid and they don’t drip. They clean floors in half the time as regular mops.”

Then, have a follow-up question or maybe a few questions like, “What kind of mop are you currently using at home? Does it clean as well as this mop? How much time do you spend cleaning?” See how this leads to a sale’s conversation?

Trade show representatives
photo credit: E3 Expo / Flickr

Know What You Stand For (And What You Don’t)

Why are you at the trade show? Is it to make sales? Is it to introduce your brand or get some kind of message across to the general public? Are you releasing a new product line that’s not ready but you want to pre-sell it?

Know your company, what its strengths are. Likewise, know your weaknesses and why you’re not there. This helps give your trade booth, and your personnel, focus.

If you’re there to make sales, then you should devise a basic outline of the sales process. Perhaps you have a demo that reels people in. Then, you ask specific questions that gauge interest in your product. Then, you ask for the sale (if appropriate).

If the prospect isn’t interested, maybe you have a “save” that captures their email. Perhaps if they’re not ready to buy, you offer them free cleaning tips, time-saving ideas for cleaning house, or something similar in exchange for their email.

Then, you can drip on them over time and earn the sale later.

Understand The Venue

You need to evaluate the venue before moving on to the next step. What are the venue offering you? Does it not allow certain types of booths or companies? What does the show setup look like? Where are the prime spots? Can you get them? Good designers will understand that you can only be successful at a show if your ROI is positive. They also need to know about the venue so they can coordinate with you about your booth.

Hire a Designer

Speaking of designers, hire one. Really! There are a lot of things you’re probably good at, but you’re not a designer. And trade show booths are a specialty- an art. Leave that to the professionals and concentrate on what you know best: your product.