Ideas for Successful Exhibiting

by Craig O.
(Omaha, NE)

Here's some exhibiting tips and ideas that I've learned after years of participating in trade shows. Perhaps these will benefit others.

  • Have new staff members who will be working your booth attend trade shows in related industries and observe what happens. Give them goals to talk with a specific number of company representatives about trade show tactics, as well as converse with a set number of attendees and learn about expectations for visiting exhibits. Have them document their findings. This will help prepare them for being more successful when representing your company at your booth.

  • Be sure to have a detailed trade show plan before booking shows, developing or updating your booth and, of course, exhibiting at an event. Your plan should included quantitative objectives for participation, your target audience and the type of events in which you want to participate, budget (including everything from entry fees and exhibit development to travel costs, shipping and marketing).

  • Detail your plans for promotion before, during and after shows. Use a combination of online and offline marketing tactics to promote awareness of your participation, booth location and offerings.

  • At the shows in which you participate, attend conference social events before the conference hall opens and meet attendees. Talk with them about what their needs are and what they expect from visiting the exhibition hall. Use this learning for the current trade show, as well as for planning for future event participation.

  • Train your booth staff prior to the show. Have them rehearse your company's "elevator speech" (a 15-second description of your company and benefits), have them prepare an approved list of questions to ask visitors to your display, and give them goals for lead generation/sales.

  • During the show, network with representatives from non-competing companies and share experiences. Take the learning and incorporate it into what you do.

  • Always follow-up on leads within three days of the show. This includes phone, email, mail, etc. Don't miss this opportunity -- reach out to potential buyers when the show (and hopefully your company) is still top-of-mind.

  • Document your results after the show, including recommendations for enhancing success at future exhibitions.
With each show (and I've been to a lot!), I learn something new - a new marketing idea, sales tip, exhibit trend, etc. The key is to realize that, like other marketing vehicles, show participation is a dynamic process. So, always look to learn and enhance what you do... for continued success. I hope this information is helpful.

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