Don’t just stand there. Sell something!

Ask a sales professional for advice on exhibiting at a tradeshow and you’ll get no end of advice, ranging from “hire booth babes” to “wear comfy shoes.”

So often, we overly-focus on the details of event marketing. The details are important, yes, but so is the big picture. If you want to improve your odds of succeeding at tradeshow marketing, ask yourself the following questions and be sure you’ve got good answers.

3 Questions
  1. What do I want to get out of this show? As obvious as this might seem, one of the most common mistakes exhibitors make is to show up without a clear sense of what they want to accomplish.It’s important to ask yourself this question and come up with a list of answers before every show—including shows where you’ve previously exhibited. You might want to promote specific products or services. You might want to connect with a handful of key individuals. Your goals will vary, but if you identify them advance you’ll stand a better chance of accomplishing them.

    Besides, if you don’t have a clear expectation regarding what you want out of a tradeshow, how can you accurately measure your return-on-investment?

  2. Why should attendees visit my booth? It’s not enough to simply show up and stand there. Take an objective look at your display materials. Are they in good shape? Are they high in quality? Is there something eye-catching in your display? If not, your display needs a makeover.

    And when it comes to booth staffing, it’s critical to have the right people in your booth. Seriously consider professionals who are trained to attract attendees’ interest and draw traffic. It’s an additional cost, yes, but what is the potential cost of missed business opportunities as attendees walk by without stopping at your booth?

  3. What is my follow-up strategy? The tradeshow is over … now what? Before you leave for the tradeshow, schedule the postmortem meeting with your sales and marketing staff.

    Your post-show meeting doesn’t need to be a big, time-consuming production, but sales professionals need to compare notes and review what worked, what didn’t work and what needs to continue or change at the next show. Discuss the number and quality of leads, the type of companies represented at the show and any other pertinent details and metrics. End with specific sales follow-up actions being assigned. If you’re short on time, or dealing with sales professionals in multiple locations, consider using a web survey in lieu of an in-person meeting.

For more tradeshow exhibition advice, we recommend Susan Friedmann’s online articles. (http://thetradeshowcoach.com/)

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