Making the most of your trade show
By Mat Kelly
If you are getting ready to set up a trade show booth for a show, then you are already being business-savvy and doing the smart thing. Trade shows are one of the best ways to market your products or services and advertise your business to interested buyers. Even for successful companies, trade shows can increase sales and public exposure dramatically. Trade show booths allow businesses to directly connect with the people that purchase their products or services.
Though the reasons for exhibiting at a trade show are obvious, simply setting up a trade show booth is not enough if you really want to make the most of your expense and time. Generating leads and making sales are your priorities and your trade show booth – both the physical space and the display – can help you do this. When you are displaying a trade show booth, you want to project just the right image for your company; one that makes potential clients want to learn more after their first glance. Although people’s eyes should be drawn to your trade show booth, it shouldn’t be because it is simply flashier or louder than the others. Flashy or loud may be good for sales if your business is video games or music, but if your business is selling gourmet foods to restaurants you probably don’t want to advertise your booth with a flashing neon light or loud ear-splitting rap music. Your trade show booth should reflect your company’s brand and market, while still offering just that little extra effect that makes it stand out. This may sound difficult, but it really isn’t. It just takes a little pre-trade show planning.
For the sake of keeping it simple, let’s say that your business is selling candles wholesale to retail outlets. You want your trade show booth to let people know immediately what your business is all about and understand immediately why your business is unique and worth looking into. Remember, depending on the trade show there may be other businesses that sell the same thing you do, so just simply stating your business name and what you do will not be enough. You don’t want to be obnoxious, though, so having a hundred lit candles placed all over your booth would be too much. Don’t overwhelm potential clients – it will turn people away. A better idea would be to display your best candles around the booth, unlit, and then have professional brochures placed next to each type of candle that you are advertising. Offer coupons for large discounts or money-back guarantees on a first bulk-purchase – this shows that you have complete confidence in your product. And consider a giveaway like a tealight or other small candle so attendees can take your product with them. This encourages them to use your product and to contact you if they are interested.
Remember that it is your expertise and professional demeanor that people will remember the most, despite all of your display magic. Though the day may prove to be long, remember to sound fresh and excited when talking to each prospective client. Every interaction is a chance to make sales and generate leads. Practice your sales techniques in front of a mirror if you think that will help. Ask friends and colleagues what they think of your sales pitches, and be willing to accept constructive criticism. Most of all, with each potential client, project confidence. If you can show that you really believe and are excited about your product, your enthusiasm will be contagious.
A trade show is a good venue to generate sales leads and establish new business contacts. Making a sales presentation is easy – you know your product and can speak to its features and benefits. You likely have several different presentations depending on the audience, length of time you have to speak and the product you are showcasing. Use these presentations while you are meeting with prospective clients at your trade show booth and you will feel confident that you are providing them with the pertinent information they need about your company and products. Think of a trade show as a place where you can make many sales presentations all day long to a targeted audience of people attending the trade show. This is the best way to exude confidence and make sales.
Mat Kelly is the president of ExhibitDEAL, the Original Exhibit Wholesaler specializing in trade show booths. They provide 20, 10 and 8-foot pop-up displays as well as custom trade show displays – on the web at http://www.exhibitdeal.com/