Archive for March, 2018

Dealing with Difficult Attendees

Even if you’ve got the best trade show ideas and have an exhibit that is sure to wow attendees, there is still a chance that you’ll run into some difficult customers when you attend trade shows. Part of customer service is making sure you know how to communicate with several different personality types. Here are a few tips to help you deal with attendees who are less than pleasant.

Be Patient

It’s important you exercise patience with every attendee who comes to your trade show booth. If you find he or she is asking too many questions but hasn’t made it clear whether he or she will purchase a product or service, refer the attendee to your website or social media pages and state your customer service team will be happy to answer any further questions. This may be especially necessary when you’ve got other attendees waiting to speak with you or engage in a product demo. Patience is also important because you must keep in mind some people may be posing as difficult attendees just to test your customer service and provide honest reviews for other consumers.

Keep Conversation to a Minimum

While you do want to make sure you engage with every attendee who comes to your table, you also want to make sure you’re as professional as you are friendly. This can sometimes keep disagreeable attendees from feeling free to engage in arguments with you. Maintaining your decorum and encouraging attendees to send detailed questions or complaints to your corporate office could indicate you do have a policy in place to handle negative feedback. It also sends the message the trade show is not the place for long discussions about product or service dissatisfaction. The longer you spend talking to an attendee who is determined to give you a hard time, the more frustrated you’re bound to get, and this could deter other attendees from your trade show exhibit.

Have the “Answer”

There are times when attendees will be difficult just to see if you have the answer to a challenging question, or to make sure you are knowledgeable about your service or product. Study with your team before the trade show, so you know the details of what you offer customers before going to the trade show. This will make you more comfortable and confident when you’re interacting with consumers. Any time you don’t have the answer, make sure you assure the attendee you’ll do all you can to find a solution.

Ask Questions

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the attendee questions. When consumers know you’re listening and really want to help, there’s a good chance you can lower their defenses and come up with a viable solution. This can help to diffuse the situation before it gets out of hand and will help you to clearly understand the issues that attendees may be having. Through asking questions, you may find the challenges customers bring your way are not as difficult as they appear to be.

Creating Business Partnerships Before Trade Shows

If you’ve got a few trade shows on your calendar for this year, it may be a good idea to start reaching out to some of the other companies who will be in attendance. This will give you the upper hand in forming business relationships since you’ll be building rapport before you meet with potential business partners in person. Here are some tips to remember so you can turn your networking skills into substantial revenue after the trade show.

Be Consistent

If you decide you want to reach out to other businesses before the trade show, make sure you’re consistent with your communication long before potential partners get to your trade show booth. Your initial message could be one of admiration for the business’ newest accomplishments or products, and a request to meet with a team member once you arrive at the trade show. You can also offer your services to a potential business partner while requesting the potential partner assist you with some aspect of trade show preparation. This makes it easier for the business to see that a partnership would be mutually beneficial.

Be Interesting

Because you’re coming up with trade show ideas that will grab the attention of attendees, make sure these tactics will also interest the companies you want to partner with. Make it clear you’ll be debuting a new service or product at the trade show and ask the business executives whether they’d like to participate in cross-promotion. It also helps to have professional yet entertaining marketing videos on your website and social media pages your future business partners can refer to. For instance, you may want to bring your logo to life as a character or get your promotional message across with music to appeal to customers. When businesses see you’re willing to be artistic and unique in your messaging, this could increase the chances you’ll have a new business partner by the time the trade show is over.

Do a Test Run

Before you decide to set up a marketing campaign that involves “courting” other businesses you want to partner with, do a practice run. Show the companies live footage of previous trade shows, so they can see your trade show exhibit and get a better idea of your creativity and innovation. Talk to the CEO and leaders of the businesses you’re interested in partnering with, so you can get to know their professional philosophies and become familiar with their product inventory. This way, by the time you get to the trade show, you’ll be clear on how you want to work with the companies you’ve been in touch with.

Send Promo Items

Finally, remember everyone loves free stuff. If you want to foster business relationships with companies that also attend trade shows often, send exclusive marketing and promotional materials that are both functional and visually appealing. You can even send some prototype items that features both your logo and the logos of other businesses you’re working with. Giving potential partners something tangible that shows your willingness to work with them can help you develop lucrative relationships that will benefit your company for years to come.

Tips for Attending Small Trade Shows

If there’s an upcoming trade show in your area that will be small, you may be on the fence about attending. However, it’s important to remember if the right people are coming to the trade show, your attendance could be just as worthwhile as going to a large show. Here are some suggestions for attending small trade shows that can help you make a big impression.

Be Professional

Be just as professional at a small trade show as you would at a large one. Attendees deserve that and will likely remember your customer service after the trade show is over. Make sure your staff is dressed well, show up on time and create professional promotion items for attendees to ensure they have an authentic trade show experience.

Choose the Right Staff

Select the right staff for a small trade show. Choose individuals who aren’t afraid to come from behind the trade show exhibit and greet attendees. At larger trade shows, it can be easier to hide behind the table and simply smile and nod at the attendees as they pass by. You need team members who enjoy engaging with others and are knowledgeable about your services and products in case attendees have questions. A smaller, more intimate environment can also increase the chances you’ll learn more about other companies attending the trade show and make some significant connections.

Select the Right Exhibit

If the trade show is small, there’s a good chance you won’t have a lot of space for your trade show exhibit. Choose materials that will showcase the best parts of your business without taking up too much room. A small trade show is a great time to use bright colors and appealing designs for signage since these features will make you stand out even when you have limited space. If you normally bring items, such as a raffle table or a popcorn machine, to attract guests, it may be best to swap this out for a small podium with a tablet, prompting attendees to enter their contact information for a chance to win prizes and stay up to date on your promotions and sales. Of course, some free samples on your trade show table wouldn’t hurt, either.

Take Advantage of Networking

Finally, remember a small trade show is a perfect time to network with other business owners and attendees. You’ll likely have more time to connect with people at the trade show. And, if you’re not a fan of huge crowds, you’ll probably feel more at ease engaging in professional conversation. Be sure to have your business cards and contact information readily available at your trade show booth and have some of your cards on hand so you can give them to attendees and encourage them to keep in touch with you. Just because the trade show venue is small doesn’t mean you can’t find the ideal business to partner with or make connections with people who will turn into long-term customers who will help to move your business forward.

Should You Hire a Separate Trade Show Staff?

Now that you and your team are planning for another successful trade show, you likely know a bit more about your staffing needs and what it will take to appeal to attendees while still running your company efficiently. This may lead you to wonder whether you should hire a staff specifically for the trade show. There are several things to consider if you think a trade show staff is best for your company, and it’s best to make sure everyone on your team is on the same page so your next trade show will be organized and effective.

How Often Do You Attend Trade Shows?

If you have a trade show on your calendar every month or so, it may be a good idea to hire a separate trade show staff. This will allow you to continue business at your company’s actual location while your trade show staff talks to attendees and represents your business. A trade show staff is a great way to gain new customers while retaining the clients you already have. You won’t be short-staffed at the office, and you’ll have a staff of people at the trade show who can make a good impression on potential customers. However, if you only attend trade shows once or twice a year, it’s probably best to inform your customers about the show a week or two in advance so you can bring your staff with you, since training a new group of people you’ll only need every once in a while may not be practical.

How Elaborate Are Your Exhibits?

If your trade show booth is very large and your exhibit has several parts to it, a trade show staff may be a good idea. The more hands you have on deck, the easier it will be to set up the exhibit. You’ll also have people there to greet customers and answer questions about your products. And, if each person has a specific job to do, no one will feel overwhelmed or anxious when more attendees start to show up. A trade show staff will also come in handy if you have a raffle or other parts of your exhibit that involve a raffle or prizes for attendees. This way, one or two staff members can work the raffle while others greet attendees and answer questions.

Do You Have Time/Money to Train a New Staff?

Finally, after you’ve determined the design for your trade show exhibit and you know which information you want to convey to attendees, you’ll need to make sure you have the time and money to train a new staff. It may take hours or days to ensure the new staff is properly trained, and this could affect your ability to interact with customers and make sales. Make sure the effort that goes into hiring a trade show staff is worth it for your business based on customer traffic (online and in person), the amount of trade shows you attend, and the overall nature of your business. Keeping these factors in mind the next time you prepare for a trade show could make for a more worthwhile trade show.

Learning a New Language for Trade Shows

If you have several international clients, would like to gain more international exposure or recognize the need to be culturally diverse when it comes to communication, you may be considering learning a new language. You can make your trade show booth even more appealing when you have team members who speak the language of the customers you want to appeal to. And, of course, the more people on your staff who speak a foreign language, the more your company will be community-centered and open-minded. Here are some suggestions for learning a new language for your next trade show.

Take It Slow

Remember to pace yourself when you’re learning a new language. Although this may be one of the trade show ideas that will take a little more of your attention and focus, remember this is an important part of trade show prep and this skill will help you in the future of your business as well. Learn a few key phrases that will help to break the ice when attendees come to your booth and be sure to learn how to say things, such as “Thank you”; “Nice to meet you”; or “We’re here to help.” You may not be fluent in a new language before your next trade show, but phrases that let customers know that you’re intent on providing great service will go a long way.

Practice with Team Members

Before you get to the trade show booth, practice the language you’re learning with your team members. If you and your employees get comfortable talking to each other in a new language, it will be easier for you to communicate with trade show attendees. When more than one team member is focused on learning the language, this sends a great impression to your customers and shows your business is committed to being culturally aware. It’s also a good idea to learn more than one language based on where your business is located, and which individuals attend trade shows for your industry often. For instance, if you work in a community where there is a large Hispanic population, it’s best to learn Spanish. If you find that people of Indian descent attend your industry’s trade shows most often, learning Hindi is a good idea.

Present Appropriate Marketing Materials

Make the right changes to your promo materials at your trade show exhibit to show customers you are committed to relating to them. You may need to work with a translator who can accurately transform your marketing copy so you can maintain the same level of professionalism as with your English documents. It may also be necessary to provide new images that are culturally diverse and will appeal to a larger demographic.

Ask for Feedback

Finally, don’t forget to ask for feedback as you learn a new language. If you have a team member who is a native speaker, check in with him or her often to guarantee you’re phrasing things correctly. You can also check with your customers to see how you’re doing and ask them for new and innovative ideas when it comes to incorporating more than one language into your business and trade show communication.