Ways to Ace Your Next Tradeshow Event
1. Do your research
The bulk of work concerned with tradeshow events begin months before the event itself, and part of this important chunk of work has something to do with research. Spend a good month studying the attendee list, trying to identify the “whales”—the most important people you can possibly talk to while you’re there. If possible, set up meetings with them.
“Trade shows are full of perfectly charming people who are lots of fun but essentially irrelevant to your business. If you are talking to one of these people, and you miss your chance to talk to the whale, then you are in trouble,” YesTo co-founder Ido Leffler said.
2. Build up the booth
Tradeshow events are your chance to make an impression on potential customers and contacts, and the largest weapon you have in your arsenal is your booth. Your booth will make the first impression: it is the first thing your potential clients will see, and therefore, judge you by.
Yes To co-founder Lance Kalish remembered their experience of setting up their own Taj Mahal inspired booth 10 feet above the regulation size: “There is a certain expectation that your booth and your presentation will reflect the reality of your business’s size and market share; our booth reflected the company we planned to be in a few years, not the company we were at that moment.”
3. Build relationships
Though it’s possible, it’s highly unlikely that the clients you meet in the show will actually close a deal then and there. So when you talk to booth visitors the goal is not to sell, but to build a relationship with potential clients through questions and information gathering.
But the ultimate goal is to set up a follow up meeting, ideally, as soon as possible, while the tradeshow experience is still fresh. Writer Brent Gleeson explains why: “Regardless of how exciting the conversations may be and how deep the level of interest is during the event, this will dwindle substantially the following week when everyone is back to ‘real life.’”
4. Make sure to hand out the perfect giveaway
Giveaways, in the context of tradeshows, exist as tangible reminders of your business. It is therefore vital to hand ones that would not end up in the bottom of bags or hotel room trashcans. Make sure that they can use the items you hand over, and use it regularly. Provide items that does that and you’d hit two birds with one stone: you would have left them with a reminder that also increases visibility for your product name and logo.
You can invest on high-quality tote bags people can carry around with them—they will serve as walking billboards.
5. Stay in touch “After each meeting, write the key details down: name, contact information, and any personal details you can recall -- for instance where his or her son goes to college,” writer Laura Montini remarks.
Personal remarks pertaining to details they told you about themselves build trust, and assure them that you have been listening to them.