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Is It Time to Change Your Trade Show Booth?

If you’ve had the same trade show booth for a while, you may be reluctant to change it for a few reasons. If the exhibit has gotten positive attention from attendees, you may not see a reason to adjust. However, adding technological advances and other design aspects that are modern and trendy can help you appeal to a broader audience. It may also be necessary to change your trade show exhibit simply to ensure all your marketing materials look their best. Here are a few important things to consider when you’re thinking about giving your booth a makeover.

What’s Your Budget?

Your budget can also be an indicator when you’re trying to figure out if your trade show booth needs to be changed. If it’s been a few years since you updated your materials and you know you’ll be attending trade shows regularly soon, it may be wise to invest in a new booth. However, if you see you’re getting more clients online than at live trade shows, scaling back on your exhibit and using more money to create virtual commercials may be a good idea. If your budget allows for you to update your trade show exhibit so you can attract more attendees, this could also be a smart business move, since these attendees may be so impressed with your display and turn into long-term customers.

How Durable Are the Materials?

If you bought most of your trade show materials years ago, there’s a good chance that all or most of the parts need to be replaced, especially if you opted for more affordable materials to stay within budget. Check to ensure your signs are not faded or worn and check the beams and stands you use for your exhibit for corrosion or rust. If you see anything that wouldn’t make your booth look its best, it’s time to get some replacement parts – or a new trade show booth.

Are You Happy with Your Booth?

If you’re happy with the way your trade show exhibit looks, there’s a good chance attendees will get this message in the way you interact with them. You and your team members will be confident, and you’ll likely be familiar with all aspects of the booth, so you can work your way around it comfortably while answering questions. Take a good look at your exhibit before attending your next trade show and ask your team members for feedback on what could be improved. They will likely know if you need to make a few tweaks here and there or if you should change the booth altogether.

What Do Attendees Have to Say?

Finally, think about the feedback you’ve gotten from attendees in the past. When attendees like something they see, they are likely to tell others and/or post pictures on social media, which helps to get you even more exposure. If you have a large sign, a popcorn machine or another element of your trade show exhibit that has been making your business stand out for years, it may be best to keep the overall design of your booth and update elements as needed. Customers will appreciate your consistency, and this could help you to maintain your client base well after the trade show has ended.

Should You Expect to Get Sales at Trade Shows?

As you’re preparing for your next trade show, you may be wondering if it’s realistic to expect to make a profit from the event. This can depend on several factors since your main goal is likely to market your services and promote products. There are a few factors you can use to determine whether your trade show attendance will turn into sales, so keep these principles in mind.

Trade Show Size

The size of the trade show could let you know if you should expect to make sales. Of course, the event and venue size should also help you figure out how large or small your trade show booth needs to be so you can comfortably accommodate attendees who come to your exhibit with questions about your services and products. For the most part, if the show is large, there’s a greater chance attendees will ask about buying from you at the trade show. If the show is smaller, you may not get as many direct sales.

Trade Show Location

The place where the trade show takes place can also affect whether you should expect sales. A local show where attendees are already familiar with your business may mean you won’t make as many sales unless you offer free or new items that would make purchasing at the trade show more convenient. If you’re attending a show out of town, set up your trade show exhibit to send the message that making a purchase at the trade show is a wise investment because of the necessity of your services and products.

Trade Show Objective

Think about your reason for attending the trade show. If your main objective is to make sales, arrange to attend shows where commerce is encouraged. If you’re a new company or have a new product and want to ensure you get the word out to people who are very likely to do business with you, it may be best not to make sales the goal of your trade show attendance. Work with your team to come up with trade show ideas that will get your message across without making attendees feel pressured to buy something.

Trade Show Reputation

Finally, if you’re attending a trade show that has a reputation for helping business owners connect with attendees who are interested in buying on the spot, there’s a good chance you can make sales. If the show is known for its networking opportunities, and people are prone to make purchases weeks or months after the trade show, keep this in mind as well. When you’re attending shows that have an established audience, you should expect the attendees will likely behave the way they have during past trade shows. Prepare to make sales at the right trade shows by having a way to accept credit card payments and send receipts to customers instantly. Get ready for networking shows by updating your business cards and social media pages. It’s also a good idea to make sure your product demos are engaging and interesting, regardless of the type of show you’re attending. This will boost your chances of making a great impression at the trade show and securing customers after the event.

When to Stop Attending Trade Shows

Trade shows can be a very effective way to expose more potential customers to your business and to contact other professionals you can partner with to move your business forward. While it’s usually beneficial to attend more than one trade show so you can enhance your networking skills and even make some sales, there may come a point in your business when you need to stop going. Consider these factors when you’re trying to figure out whether the next trade show is right for your company.

How Long Have You Been Attending?

Think about how many years you’ve been going to trade shows. Are your trade show exhibit designs out of date. Have you used your company’s budget for more urgent business needs while forgetting about updating your trade show materials? The age of your trade show table and marketing materials may indicate it’s time to find another form of promotion, especially if many of your sales don’t come from trade show attendees.

How Many Sales Have You Had?

When you go to trade shows, do you make enough sales or lucrative business connections to come back the following year? Are customers excited about your upcoming shows and sharing the news on social media? Pay attention to these factors so you’ll know if going to another trade show is worthwhile. After all, even if you don’t make sales at the trade show, you want your marketing skills to lead to sales in the future. And, if most of your customers patronize your business because they saw you at a trade show, it may not be time to stop going.

What Feedback Have You Received?

Think about the type of feedback you’ve received at your last few trade shows. Are the people who visit your trade show booth excited about what you have to offer? Are your product demos engaging and interesting? Do you have a product or service that is easy to showcase? If most of your customers have positive things to say when they interact with you at your place of business, it may be best to do most of your business at the “office.”

What Is the Cost?

It may be time to stop attending trade shows if you find attendance is getting more expensive. You’ve got to have an attractive trade show exhibit, and you’ll need to bring team members with you to talk to customers. You should also think about the travel costs associated with going to trade shows. If most of your industry’s  trade shows are out of town, you’ll need to talk with your team to determine whether traveling so often is best for your business.

Are You Able to Still Run Your Business?

Finally, think about how efficiently you’re able to run your business as you attend trade shows. Do you have enough team members at the trade show and enough colleagues at your place of business to make sure everything is going smoothly? Are customers coming to your office upset no one is there to provide products and services because you’re at a trade show? Your customers should know they are a priority, and if you don’t have the resources to serve your clients while attracting new ones, it may be time to give trade shows a break so you can focus on customer satisfaction.

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.