For better or worse, trade shows can make or break your company’s sale momentum. How can you be sure that you’re ready to ace your next big confab?
Beyond applying the lessons you’ve learned from past trade show appearances that didn’t go so well, consider these six tried-and-true recipes for convention floor success. Some come courtesy of this state CPA association; others are the product of countless exhibitors’ hard-won experience.
1. Spring for the Prime Location
Yes, it might cost more to up your sponsorship level, and the added foot traffic may be intimidating at first. But you’ll almost certainly come to appreciate your decision to spring for that prime location near the center of the action, whatever that means at your chosen venue.
Remember: When every conversation is a potential conversion opportunity, you’re playing a numbers game. Better visibility will tilt the odds in your favor.
2. Bring Out the Big Guns
Never send a junior staffer when a senior leader is available. Put another way: the bigger the guns, the bigger the audience.
Your organization can almost certainly spare a C-level executive for a day or two of presentations and meetings at your next big trade show. Try to set them up with a prime speaking slot that complements their role and expertise. And devote some thought to preparations for the public portion of their appearance. If they deliver even one memorable factoid or value proposition that resonates with the audience, consider the appearance a success.
3. Make a Serious Investment in Your Booth or Stall
Experienced conventioneers know a halfhearted booth when they see one. Wow even the most jaded attendees with an above-and-beyond investment that draws eyeballs and business cards like none other.
This may be the best marketing investment you make all year.
4. Organize Around an Interactive Hook
Don’t alone rely on your top-ranked attendee to capture the audience’s attention and hold it long after it disperses. Use an interactive hook, like a sweepstakes (with a prize someone actually wants) or a mini-competition whose results are revealed toward the end of the convention, to engage booth-goers and make a memorable first impression.
5. Make a Show of Force
Without creating any problems for the fire marshal, invest in a serious show of human force at your booth. Even during peak traffic periods, curious visitors should never have to wait more than a few moments to speak with a representative of your organization.
Think of this as your first chance to demonstrate superior customer service.
6. Have More Than Enough Promotional Literature on Hand
Your booth’s show of force should also include a cascade of promotional literature. Not seven separate brochures that all state the same basic points in different words, mind you, but thousands of copies of one or two polished pieces of literature.
You don’t want to have to write off the second half of the convention because you ran out of brochure copies.
Your Time to Shine
Above all else, treat your next big trade show as an opportunity for your organization to break through the noise and leave potential customers with a lasting impression. If you can incorporate these six tips into your plan, you’ll be well on your way to doing just that.