Trade Shows

Networking Tips for Your Next Trade Show

networkingSuccess doesn’t come easy anywhere – not even at a trade show where thousands of people are looking to buy the products they need. With so many direct and indirect competitors all around you, you have to work hard and work smart. Much of the ‘working smart’ involves networking, which is one of the most essential parts of doing any business.

Here are some networking tips for your next trade show:

1. Be proactive in approaching people:

When visitors come to your booth, don’t wait for them to speak to you. Be the first to connect. Approach them with a friendly and genuine smile and introduce yourself. Ask them what they are looking for and try to hold a conversation with them. Never give any of your visitors any reason to feel uncomfortable or awkward.

2. Be brief when introducing your product:

People do not have the patients for long descriptions; so be brief when introducing your products. In just a few sentences, tell your visitors what your company does and what products you sell. If they are interested and ask for more information, proceed to give the details. Do not take more time than necessary. If they get the feeling that you are trying a force your product on them, they may never return to your booth.

3. Exchange business cards:

Exchanging business cards is an important part of networking. But do not hand out your business card to whoever walks past your booth. Hold a conversation with your visitors first. If possible, get to know them personally and get them to know you personally. Before saying goodbye, give them your business card and ask them for their business card in return.

4. Participate in talk programs:

Every trade show has talk programs where exhibitors can talk about their products. Make it a point to participate in every talk program relevant to your line of business. When discussing your product, avoid technical jargons as much as you can since the audience can become bored easily. Make use of humor as much as you can to keep the audience interested. If you can make them laugh, they will make it a point to visit your booth before going home.

5. Use your off time to network:

All networking doesn’t have to be done at your booth; you can leave your booth and bring
people back to your booth. During your off time, go to the cafeteria or through the rows and try to draw strangers into a conversation. Do not talk about your product; instead, try to get to know them and their purpose of being there at the trade show. Once you get to know what they are looking for, ask them to come to your booth if they re a potential client.

Know Which Trade Shows are Right for Your Company with These Tips

infrastructure-optionsIn cities across North America, you can find at least one trade show going on almost everyday. With so many trade shows to choose from, it is not easy to find the one that that suits your company’s interests. If you choose the wrong one, you may end up wishing that you hadn’t even heard about it in the first place.

So, here are some trade show tips to help you choose the right trade show for your company:

  1. Determine the type of the trade show:

There are two types of trade shows: consumer shows and trade only shows. The former is suitable for companies that are looking to be where the consumers are and reach out directly to them. If you want to sell your products directly, then you should be in this type of trade show. The latter is suitable for companies that are trying to reach their customers through multiple channels. If you want to meet influencers and purchasers from different companies, then you should be in this type of show.

  1. Check the history of the trade show:

In the majority of cases, past performance is a reliable indicator of future performance. So, check the history of the trade show. Find out the date of inception, the number and types of shows they have done, the places (cities, states and countries) they organized the shows, and other relevant facts. While you should not actively seek to avoid new trade shows, you would be wise to choose one with a long history of successful shows.

  1. Get in touch with people who have exhibited in the past:

All trade show brochures and exhibition registration kits look impressive because they are designed to attract exhibitors. However, people who have exhibited in the past may have different ideas and they can give you valuable advice. Find one or more past exhibitors who have targeted the same audience as yours but who are not direct competitors and ask them what they thought of the trade show.

  1. Examine the Exhibitor’s Registration Kit:

Get the exhibitor’s registration kit and go through it to see if their goals match with your goals. Find the average number of attendees in their past shows and then calculate the number of prospective customers and leads according to your assumptions. For example, the average number of people who visit a particular trade show is 20,000 and if you are able to turn 40% of them into leads (based on your experience), then the number of leads you can gather from that particular trade show is 8,000.

  1. Estimate the costs of participation and sales revenue:

Although listed last, this may be one of the most important trade show tips. It costs money to participate in a trade show, which you would naturally want to recover from the sales revenue. The costs include booth rental, transportation costs, employee wages and other costs. Find out how many units of product you need to sell to recoup the costs. If you think you can generate enough sales revenue during the show to reach at least the break even point, then you should consider participating in the trade show.

Dress the Part at Your Next Trade Show

dress-the-part-business-attire-tipsWould you buy from a salesperson who knocks on your door wearing dirty worn clothes? Unless the person is someone you know, you would probably shut the door on their face. The same goes for trade show booth team members. If you are not dressed suitably, your visitors will not take you seriously. In order to impress the visitors and make them want to do business with you, you must dress the part.

Here are some suggestions on how to dress for the part at your next trade show:

1. Avoid casual clothes:

Although most trade show venues do not require you to wear formal clothes, they do frown on exhibitors wearing casual clothes. You should avoid wearing shorts and t-shirts and since they make you look too informal. In most cases, you should wear professional attire There are, however, some exceptions, such as recreational themed shows, where casual clothes are more suitable.

2. Wear formal clothes:

Most trade show venues expect you to be formally attired, which usually means that you have to wear a suit. Many companies require their staff to wear suits. But if you don’t want to wear a suit, then make sure to wear dress pants and shirt. If you are a woman, you can wear a skirt and a dress top or a suit. If all team members had a uniform that would be even better.

3. Wear formal shoes:

Shoes are an important part of your trade show attire and they should be worn in such a way to complement your clothes. Wear only formal shoes. Avoid wearing sandals, slippers and sneakers, since they are informal. If you are a woman, heals are great for a professional look. If you are a man, black and brown shoes are among the most common for a professional look.

4. Wear jewelry in moderation:

It is usually accepted for a woman to wear jewelry, but you should wear them in moderation. Classic jewelry, such as gold and silver earrings, pendants and bracelets, are attractive and even professional while not distracting anyone. Avoid loud and intrusive jewelry, such as bright coloured earrings and jangling bangles that attract attention. Men should avoid wearing jewelry altogether if they can.

5. Pay attention to personal hygiene:

You will be interacting with hundreds of people at close quarters, talking to them face to face and shaking hands with them. Personal hygiene is extremely important to give a good impression of yourself and company. Also, too much cologne and perfume can have the same affect, especially with people with allergies or are sensitive to smells. At best, potential customers will politely walk away; at worst, they will refuse to shake hands with you or even talk to you.

5 Must Do’s at Your Next Trade Show

importantTrade shows provide you with a platform to promote your company brand, generate leads and increase sales. If you do it well, you stand to reap rich rewards; but if you jump into one without considering all the different factors involved, it could turn out to be a sheer waste of your time and money. In order to maximize your returns, you must take the long-term approach rather than selling a few items.

Here are the 5 must do’s at your next trade show:

1. Make a detailed plan:

Planning is of utmost importance for success in a trade show. The more well thought out a plan, the better the chance of success. Therefore, as soon as you decide to participate in a trade show, sit down and make a comprehensive plan. Don’t forget to ask your employees for their input. Your plan should cover your goals, objectives, budget and schedule of expenses, have deadlines, booth size, staffing and training, marketing strategy, shipping of supplies, exhibit installation and dismantling, transportation, accommodation and follow up activities.

2. Train your employees:

Never send your employees to staff your trade show booth without training them properly. An untrained and ill-informed team member can cause more damage to your company’s image than a group of detractors. Select the employees who have a cheerful and outgoing personality. Begin the training well in advance. Hire a trainer if you are not up to the task. The training should cover your company’s goals and targets, products and services being sold, trade show do’s and don’ts, how to engage customers and gather leads, how to deliver presentations, and how to solve potential problems.

3. Create an attractive booth:

With so many booths to choose from, trade show attendees can be fussy when it comes to showering their attention on a booth. Most attendees will automatically head for booths that are attractive and have a crowd of people in it, if only out of curiosity. Concentrate on creating an attractive booth. When designing your booth, consider all options, including high quality graphics, multimedia (computer, TV, projectors, kiosks), contests and draws with attractive prizes, giveaways, and professional male and female models.

4. Gather qualified leads:

The main goal of participating in a trade show is to gather qualified leads. But not every attendee who stops by your booth is a potential lead. It’s for you to separate the good ones from the useless ones. You can use a variety of questions for the purpose, such as questions regarding their budget, purchasing timeframe and specific requirements. The questions can be either open-ended or closed-ended. Once you are sure that a visitor is a qualified lead, record his or her contact details and set an appointment at a date and time convenient to him or her.

5. Follow up:

Most of your potential clients will not come looking for you after the show; you will have to go after them. As soon as the trade show is over, follow up with your leads with emails and phone calls. Ask them for appointments. If they are unable to come to your office, ask them if you could pay them a personal visit.

Don’t Confuse Your Guest by Doing These 4 Things

Confusion-300x300The main purpose of a trade show is to give participating companies a platform to promote their brand. However, companies often enter a trade show without any clear goals. Some companies set up shop believing their presence there will be enough to generate leads and make sales. But when your booth team members have no clear idea what they are supposed to do there, they will become confused and make the visitors confused, who will simply choose to go to another booth.

So, don’t confuse your guests by doing these 4 things:

1. Trying to sell all your products:

Visit any trade show and you will find a number of startup companies trying to sell everything they have. This can be confusing to the visitors, who often come to a trade show looking for specific solutions and when they are unable to figure out exactly what solution you can provide, they will simply go to another booth. Therefore, you must not confuse your guests by trying to sell all your products at once. Instead, you should focus on selling one or two flagship products that the visitors can associate with your company’s name.

2. Being indecisive:

When you do not have clear goals, the team members staffing your booth are unable to sell your products and services to the best of their ability. Indecisiveness can drive your customers away. For example, a guest comes to your booth looking for a mobile phone with specific features. But you have so many different mobile phones that you have no idea which one has the features the visitor is looking for. As soon as he realizes that you are just beating around the bush, he will not waste his time hanging around your booth.

3. Giving too many options:

Customers like it when they are given a few options, but they don’t like it when there are too many options. It’s not their fault; it’s just the way the human brain works. Psychologists say that when we are presented with too many options, our brain becomes tired and confused, and chooses to ignore them rather than making a decision. The more options we are given, the harder it becomes for us to make a decision. So, when you give your guest too many options, they will simply walk away. Therefore, you should focus on only one or two products.

4. Giving too much information:

Every visitor to your booth comes looking for information. However, giving too much information can be counterproductive. This is because our brain is not designed to handle information overload efficiently. For example, a visitor asks you about a laptop computer you have on display. Instead of giving him a few important specifications, which he can understand, you start giving him a 10-minute monologue. By the end of it, you will have fed him so much technical information that he will be confused and likely decide to look elsewhere. Therefore, do not confuse your guests by overloading them with information.