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Keeping Your Company Running While You’re at a Trade Show

If you’ve decided to attend a trade show but won’t be taking your entire team with you, you’ll have to think of practical ways to keep your company functioning while you’re away. You will likely be focused on how to put together a winning trade show booth, but you’ll also need to make sure that customers who visit your business will be impressed as well. If the trade show is local, this may not be too much of an issue, since you may be able to go to the office every few hours to see that everything is running smoothly. However, if the trade show is out of town, a reliable team that will maintain your company’s reputation is even more essential. Here are some of the ways you can make sure that you keep your established customer base satisfied while making new connections at a trade show.

Stay Organized

Before you leave for the trade show, organize your schedule and make sure you’re aware of any meetings or presentations that need to be conducted while you’re away. If you’d feel more comfortable being present for these events, try to reschedule them weeks in advance. You may also want to compose an email and voicemail message letting clients and team members know when you’ll be out of the office for the trade show, and how to get in touch with you if there’s an emergency. When you’re aware of the tasks you have to complete before the trade show, you’re likely to be less stressed at the actual event. This will free you up mentally to showcase all the best parts of your trade show exhibit while answering customer questions and generating leads.

Delegate Tasks

 

When you and your team are coming up with trade show ideas, make sure you know which employee is handling which task long before the trade show begins. This also goes for the team members who are staying behind to run the office. Ask one of your employees to be in charge of answering customer emails in a timely manner and leave another team member with the task of updating your social media pages so that your company is still consistently interacting with current and potential customers. Of course, team members who are attending the show with you should also have specific tasks like greeting customers or handing out promo items. Delegating tasks also keeps you from having to complete every trade show-related job yourself, which can increase your efficiency as you prepare for the show and make you more comfortable at the trade show booth.

Communicate With Customers

Finally, make sure that you’re staying in touch with your customers while you’re at the trade show. Let consumers know that they can still visit your website to place orders or submit inquiries. You can even do some live streaming while you’re at the trade show to let consumers know that you’re actively participating in a marketing event. This could boost your professional reputation and cause customers to be a little more understanding as you work to deliver products and services in a timely manner.

How to Recover After Trade Shows

If you’ve just attended a trade show or two, you know how stressful the preparation and presentation process can be. There are so many daunting tasks that come with presenting at a trade show, such as getting your trade show booth organized, coming up with creative ideas that will make your business stand out and arranging for a team to set up and break down your exhibit. Of course, you’ll need some time to recuperate after a trade show, so here are some helpful tips that will assist you in being more productive once you return to your office from a trade show.

Reevaluate Your Diet

If you’ve been preparing for a trade show for the last few weeks, you probably haven’t had time to cook a lot of healthy meals. If you and your team have been eating out a lot while you stay in the office to come up with trade show ideas or to create a booth that will stand out, you may need to be more intentional about eating healthier foods once the trade show is over. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins can help you regain your energy and boost your brain power, so you can continue offering great customer service after the trade show has ended.

Take Time to Rest

After you’ve attended a trade show, it’s essential that you take time for physical rest. This is especially important if you’ve attended a trade show out of town and have spent a considerable amount of time traveling. Give your body time to get back into the routine of running your business, particularly if you’ve just been in a different time zone. Try to get to bed at a decent hour after returning home so that you can be at your mental best when you return to work.

Spend Time Outdoors

If you’ve spent the last few days in a convention or conference center, there’s a good chance you haven’t been getting enough vitamin D. A lack of this vitamin can cause fatigue and joint pain and can even affect your mood. Once the trade show is over, try to get outside as much as you can. If there is an outdoor space near your office where you can work for a few hours and the weather is warm, take your calls and answer emails in the fresh air. You may also want to take a short walk or jog during your lunch break once you get back to the office to readjust your body after being indoors for such a long time.

Schedule Your Follow-Ups

 

Finally, don’t feel that you have to get back to all the potential customers and business partners that you met at the trade show right away. Chances are you’ll be catching up on office tasks and tending to existing customers for your first few days back in the office. Schedule a block of time for returning phone calls, responding to leads and thanking everyone who visited your trade show exhibit. This will keep you from being too overwhelmed and will increase the chances that you won’t forget to reach out to anyone who could help move your business forward.

What to Say When You Visit Trade Show Booths

If your team has been attending a number of trade shows lately, you’ve likely gotten some practice with interacting with customers and providing valuable information about your business. However, it’s also a good idea to attend trade shows as a potential customer. This gives you an accurate idea of the trends that other businesses are following when it comes to promotion and consumer service. If you’ll be on the other side of the trade show booth soon, here are some things you should say and questions you should ask.

Get Product Information

 

Get accurate information about the product as soon as you get to the exhibit so that you can make the most of your time. Learn about the company’s newest or most popular product and ask if you can get additional literature or online information about the product. This allows you to make sure that every team member at the table knows the necessary information about what is being promoted at the trade show. Of course, if you get the right answers to these questions, you’ll know if you need to purchase the product for your business and you get an idea of how you should relate to customers the next time you’re exhibiting at a trade show.

Learn Company History

 

When you learn the history behind a company, you’ll be able to get a glimpse into the philosophy of the business and the care and concern that goes into creating the products and services that are being displayed. Of course, when you ask about the background information of the company, you can see whether the employees are well-versed about the business and can assist you with making a practical purchase.

Ask for Contact Information

 

The contact information for a company should be clearly displayed on or around the trade show table, but you should ask for ways to keep in touch with the business if you’re interested in becoming a customer. You know how positive this can be as a business owner, since it’s a sign that an attendee is interested in what you’re providing or knows someone who could benefit from being your customer. Ask the person at the trade show booth if there is a specific person you need to speak with when you’re ready to make your purchase as well. This will give you an idea of how much the company communicates and how the company works as a team, along with a glimpse into how organized the business is.

Know What You Need

Finally, you should know what you’re looking for when you get to a trade show exhibit. As a business owner, you know how frustrating it can be to meet the needs of a potential customer who isn’t sure which problem he or she wants you to solve. Have a game plan before you go into the trade show and know what type of products and services you’re looking for. Ask what the product does, how other customers have rated the product or service and how much the product or service will cost. This could be very helpful to the people behind the booth and make the customer service process more efficient.

How Long Should You Stay at a Trade Show?

Whether it’s your first trade show or you’re well known in the trade show community, there are some tips to keep in mind that will ensure you’re making the right impact on attendees who will hopefully turn into customers. One of the things you should consider is how long you should stay at a trade show, and there are several factors that can help you make your decision.

Trade Show Location

Think about the location of the trade show when you’re trying to decide how long you and your team should stay. If the show is in your home city or region, you can stay a little shorter than you normally would because you may still have customers that need your assistance during trade show hours. You can also have a team member or two stay at the trade show booth while you head back to the office to conduct business. This shows attendees that your company is still thriving even though you’re doing promotion at a trade show. If the local show is one that you’ve been to before, staying for three or four hours may be ideal. Promote the fact that you’ll be at the show and the times that your trade show exhibit will be active, so attendees will know when to come meet you in person. However, if you’re attending a trade show that is out of town, it may be best to stay at the show for as long as you can. This will allow you to take advantage of networking activities that may not be available at local shows.

Trade Show Size

 

When you’re coming up with trade show ideas to help you determine how much time you should spend at the show, think about the size of the event. If yours will be one of the main trade show booths in your line of work, staying for the duration of the show (from morning until night) is a great way to attract new customers. However, if you want to appear exclusive, have more than one event to attend that day. If you want to attract customers by advertising the times that you’ll be at a trade show, cutting your time short at the trade show could be an effective marketing tactic. If the trade show is pretty large, stay as long as you can, and make sure your trade show booth is colorful and creative, so you can grab the attention of people who could become customers.

Exhibit Set Up/Breakdown

Finally, think about how long it will take for you to set up and break down your trade show exhibit. If you have to arrive at the venue an hour or so before the start of the show to set everything up and if you need to stay at the venue an hour or two after the show, you should make the most of your time by staying at the trade show for as long as you possibly can. If you’re out of town and the trade show lasts for more than one day, attend as many days as you can afford. If it’s easy to break your booth down and the trade show is local, staying for a few hours could help you make the right impact.

 

Should You Host a Trade Show?

Now that you’ve been attending trade shows for a few years, you may have become known as one of the leaders in your field. If you and your team are usually at regional trade shows for your industry and have made a significant impact over the years, you may be considering hosting your own trade show. There are some things you’ll need to consider if you’re going to organize this type of event. So here are some trade show ideas that could help your team.

Book Hotels Far in Advance

Make sure that the hotel that is close to the trade show venue is booked months in advance. Of course, you can also have the trade show at a conference at the hotel, depending on the size of the show. Keep in mind that companies usually aren’t sure whether their team members will be coming to a trade show until about a month before the event. If you wait until this time to book rooms for the people who are traveling to attend your trade show, there’s a good chance the rooms will be sold out. It’s best to book a block of rooms and then change the names once you have a final list of individuals who will be attending the show. This will keep you from having to pay more for hotel rooms, or from booking rooms that are too far away from the trade show location.

Have Extra Supplies on Hand

You should also make sure that you have a trade show kit you can use for each of the trade show exhibits that will be at the venue. To create a trade show kit, simply put office supplies like printer paper, staplers, extra pens and pencils, and paper clips in a labeled bin and make sure that attendees know how and where to access the kit. You should also have a bin designated for medical issues or emergencies that could come up during the trade show. Allergy pills, pain medication, and bandages should go in this bin, along with items that can help business owners and representatives look their best, i.e. lint rollers or stain pens.

Consider Your Company’s Reputation

Even when you learn the steps that are necessary to make a trade show successful, you should think about how many people you can expect to attend the trade show based on your company’s reputation. For instance, if your marketing team has done a good job of promoting both your show and the business, this means that more potential attendees will hear about the show and want to attend. If you post pictures of your trade show booth from previous events or livestream customer feedback, you can increase the interest of people who could benefit from a trade show. If you’ve got a great venue in mind, a favorable relationship with vendors who can offer food and beverages during the show and a number of peers who would be interested in a trade show, hosting a show could be a great way to propel your business to the forefront your field.