Best 8 Step Guide to Trade Show Planning (2018)
You will probably agree with me that it can be difficult to find a place without any signs or in general to find a person who is hiding.
Why is it then that so many trade show booths have a layout which is either not clear in its language or simple just don’t feel inviting.
I have many years of both making booths for other brands and making my brands own booth with a growing rate of sales. And this is not because we have bought bigger banners or offered free drinks.
I will here give you an extended guide for what you should consider to do before, during and after a trade show.
Preparation the trade show
You have signed up for a trade show and will be attending it in some months from now. Time to relax? No you will have to start planning what your booth is going to look like, who and how many you want to talk to and how you will get to talk to them.
Is some guides for what to do before the show.
1. Welcome to my booth!
First impression has a high correlation with how the future relation between you and your client will be. Make sure that your stand and your team represent your brand and the way you communicate with your clients.
Your stand has to be able tell the story by itself, so make sure that your concepts and products sends clear signals without any noise. This makes it easier for both your future clients to understand and for your sales people to communicate.
2. Social Media
I am not going to write about this -You should know! and if you do not, then find guides that can help you get started asap. Make sure that everybody knows what your brand is up to and where to find on whatever platform you use. And share all the things you know, which have to be more than your competitors!.
3. Remember the show starts when the doors open.
There will be people from your business all around you, so be open both for good ideas, competition and networking. You need to get the most out of all the time you are in the trade show, maybe you could even have some of the first visitors while setting up, if you have staff enough to show and set up at the same time.
4. Set your goals.
What do you want from the trade show? Is some specific folks you are interested in or is quantity? This will guide you how to approach the days at the stand. Are you going to hand out tons of business cards and talk to everybody or you going to engage in longer conversations about your brand. Consider who and how many, so that you know if you are succeeding.
During the show
During the last trade show we participated in I met a brand owner who complained about the traffic at his booth, where 10 sales person were waiting for the clients to come. This was for me a clear indication of that they had not set their minds for how to reach their targets during the trade show itself.
In this section I will explain some crucial things to consider during the trade show.
5. Your trade show team
Now you have considered who you want to get in touch with. Who are the people on your team that can make that happen?
If you are going for large important client it is probrably you as the CEO who has to there. You might not make the first touch point with the clients but you will be there within short time to take over the conversation.
If you are going for quantity you will need to secure that the leads you get are still strong and not just some random people, who are generally not interested in your brand or have needs that does not correspond with your product.
It is easy to collect a lot of business cards or get a to of people to look, but only a skillede sales person or team member can select what is important and useful and not.
It needs to be somebody who embodies your brand and know everything about it, if you have that on your team you should be on the right track!
6. Activity at your booth
When you are looking for a restaurant in a new city would you then choose the one with no customers or the one with a lot.
A lot right - they should know. A lot of activity at your stand will generate trust!
Therefor you should always try to bring any conversation to continue at your stand, because the passers by will look at your stand and maybe take notice.
If you are more than one sales person at the trade show, then one could engage in conversation and sent people to the stand and the other could take to the people at the stand.
The best solution is usually to have multiple strategies to differ between depending on the time of the day and the amount of visitors at the trade show.
7. Tag your contacts
Make sure that you make some notes from each of your contacts, so that you can get back to the conversation that you had with them to find their needs, what they wanted and their details of course.
After the show
You packed it all up and are now back at the office. This is where the real work begins, because now you will have to plan how to keep your contacts.
8. Post trade show activities
Now the tags becomes handy, because you want to continue the conversation with them that you had. Now they should be less busy, so this is your chance. Make sure to contact them in good enough time for them to stilI remember the conversation you had.
Make sure that you know exactIy what they are interested in, so that your next response or conversation is a sale or step before a sale.
If it is a long time client make sure that you keep on adding values to your conversation, so that every time you speak you give them another unique insight to their brand and what you can help them resolve over time.
Trade shows are a great opportunity for your brand to make a lot of lead valuable leads, but it is important to do the preparation right because else the results will unfortunately be very poor. Get the right team, figure out what you want and be agile at the event, then you should be able to reach your goals.