by: Jennifer Fortney
- Your booth matters – Perception is 9/10ths of the rule, always. Investing in the presentation of your booth is one of the most important things you can do to attract people to your booth. Make sure the layout allows for people to come into the booth and shows how your product might retail.
- Put together a media kit –CD or print – with your booth number and make sure you are one of the first to get it into the media room. Check back often to see how many are taken and to replenish. It also gives you an opportunity to rub elbows with media and the organization.
- Be aggressive – it seems that so many people think that you shouldn’t be aggressive at a trade show, but I have found that those who stand in the aisle and are aggressive, without assaulting people, tend to end up talking with more potential customers and discover more opportunities than those who just sit in the booth waiting for people to come to you.
- It’s a balance – There is a balance to the slightly more aggressive approach and allowing someone to stop and take interest on their own. Often times if someone stops to look at your product, let them. When they begin to touch and feel then you can engage. The best way to achieve this is to have your product on a retail display in packaging. If it catches their eye, they will stop.
- Have an agenda – it’s important that you, and your team, have a collective agenda, or goals, and work as a team to make it happen. I was in the new products section one day and saw someone from a major retailer while I was restocking take away cards. It led to them eventually taking on my client’s product. Example: three distributors, purchase orders from five retailers….
- Make sure everyone working the booth knows the key messages and has practiced a short pitch to start the conversation and interest people in your product.
- Walk the show – making time to walk the show allows you to see what your competitors are doing, how other people are attracting prospects to their booth, and provide ideas of what you can do better.
- Make friends with people in the media room and also with the organization. Building relationships is the name of the game at trade shows and these relationships may help open the doors to media. When media ask for companies, you should be one of the first that comes top of mind.
- Offer candy or a snack at your booth – walking a large show is exhausting and individuals will reach in to grab a sweet treat to help keep them going. In that moment, they will stop and see your product rather than sauntering by. It is a moment of engagement. While there is being aggressive (see above), I recommend a soft introduction - saying hi and asking them how the show is going and if they seem like a prospect, begin to engage them in conversation.
- Take a break – trade shows are tiring whether you’re walking or working a booth. Remember to step away, get lunch and re-energize. A smile can attract more prospects.