Many companies do not realize how much time, effort, and money go into trade shows. Not only for the day of the show, but also before and after the event. The team at Bicom Systems has been to A LOT of trade shows. We took our expertise and compiled a list of Trade Show Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind for your first show or the next time you attend one.
Do Scope out the Competition
Before you attend a trade show, it is essential to check out the competition that will be there. Trade show organizers will provide a list of exhibitors also attending the show. Take that information and do your research to find out who your competitors are. If you already know your direct competitors, keep an eye on their social channels. Chances are, if they are attending the same show, they will promote it on their pages.
While you’re looking at the list of exhibitors, it is a good idea to find out what companies are near your booth. Make friends with booth neighbors. You may end up with some new partnerships, or at least some cool SWAG.
Do Bring SWAG
Speaking of SWAG, make sure you bring some! In a busy exhibition hall, you must stand out in the crowd. Bringing unique SWAG items, something more exciting than a branded pen will help you do that. The SWAG will get members to your booth, and then it will be up to your sales team to seal the deal.
If you don’t want to order branded items or your budget is small, an alternative option is to hold a raffle. The prizes do not have to be large, and in fact, they can be of your product! A raffle or giveaway will still drive traffic to your booth and be a good conversation starter with leads.
Do Train Your Booth Staff
The booth staff members should have specific roles, operating times, and metrics to meet. Encourage them to set personal goals like “talk to five people per day” or “visit at least ten booths.” Light, attainable goals will have your staff feeling comfortable and confident during their time at the show.
An essential rule to make is to ensure the booth is never left unattended. Of course, staff members must take breaks during the day. With that being said, it is a good idea to schedule breaks and times that certain members should be present at the booth.
If you are attending the booth, you must be able to answer any questions a lead may have for you. When staff is not confident in talking about their products, it can translate poorly with leads and ultimately may decide if they partner with you.
Do Follow Up
At a trade show, you will be meeting lots of new faces and collecting even more business cards. It is important not to lose sight of these connections and follow up with them as soon as you get back from the show! When you email your leads list, spark their memory with the conversation you had, or an inside joke.
In the subject line of your email, put that you met at X event. Think outside of the box to make a lasting impression so your email doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Don’t Participate in the Wrong Show
Obviously, you want to attend as many trade shows as possible, but how do you know what ones are best? It can be tough to choose or know which shows will give you the best opportunity to meet new leads.
An excellent tip to follow is when considering shows to attend, take a look at the show’s website. There are often sections on their website with tabs like “why you should attend” and a list of exhibitors, and you will notice if other strategic partners are participating in the same show from that list.
Ultimately, choosing the right trade show can come down to trial and error. You can ask your provider what shows they are attending and tag along or their thoughts on other events you are considering. Your provider will point you in the right direction, and you will learn on the go to adjust for next year.
Don’t Staff the Booth with just Anybody
Available bodies may be hard to find. However, the trade show staff must be in the appropriate department and knowledgeable on your products. Think of your staff working in Sales, Marketing and Development. Not so much your HR, Accounting, or Administrative team members.
As we mentioned earlier, if a lead approaches your booth and the staff member cannot answer basic product questions, it could make or break your sale. When you invest in a trade show, you must also invest in the people attending.
Don’t Bad Mouth your Competition
Remember the old playground saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? That notion applies on the trade show floor! There will be tons of competitors at the same trade show as you. Instead of bad-mouthing them and sharing their downfalls, share what your company brings to the table.
Don’t Forget About PreShow Prep!
You wouldn’t just get in the car and go on a spontaneous trip, would you? Ok, that does sound like fun, but most people would pre-plan. PreShow Prep is extremely important! You must not forget about the paper materials you need and marketing tactics to encourage people to attend the show. Just because you can spontaneously go to a show doesn’t mean prospects can. They need to plan, and you need to give them enough time in advance. You can do this by advertising on social media and sending out reminder emails.
Did you know that 82% of exhibitors experienced increased booth traffic because of pre-show marketing? Get on that prep work!
Do you want to know what shows the Bicom Systems team is attending in 2022? Follow us on social media to keep track of our whereabouts. If you’re in the area, reach out to our sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting with one of our Account Managers.