Tradeshows – Part 2 of 2 Exhibiting At A Tradeshow

successful your tradeshow experience will be and your return on investment will
all be pre-determined by how well you do your job BEFORE you ever get to the


1)      You will need to determine your
objectives before attending the show:

a.       Produce sales at the show

b.       Target key buyers

c.       Encourage early ordering

d.       Produce sales leads/Requests for

e.       Improve client relationships


g.       Attract new customers


2)      Many exhibitors determine the
success of a show based on:

a.       How many catalogs were given out

b.       How many attendees they scanned in
the booth

c.       The number of sample requests they

d.       How many people attended a special


these may all be “feel good” indicators of success, what you do with this
information and how many objectives were reached after the show, will actually
determine the success of the show.

As we
know, many attendees will walk down an aisle and take every single catalog,
promotional sample etc without the slightest thought about using your company
or even knowing who you are and what you sell. Your sales team may even scan
these people in to your database or take a business card . . . never to be
heard from again. At the end of any tradeshow it is amazing to find out from
hotel staff and convention centers how many catalogs and promotional items are
left in hotel rooms or found in the convention center trash. Your marketing
message may not make it to your intended target!


It is very
important to seriously think about who you are targeting at these shows and
why. Do you want to give out 1000 catalogs to 1000 attendees when a fraction of
them may ever buy from you?


Here is a
list of Top 10 Ideas for Having a Successful Tradeshow


specific show objectives

your staff on how to qualify a potential new customer. Make sure they know the
products benefits and features.

a)      If you are a one man operation –
hire a spokesperson or model to help you with your booth. There are many
persons that hire themselves out for tradeshows. Ask others in your area, call
the Convention and Visitors Bureau in the area where the tradeshow will be held
and get the name of some possible temporary employees.

b)      Send them a copy of your catalog
and a link to your website prior to the show.

c)       Have them meet you at the tradeshow
on set up day. Have them help you set up your booth and discuss the product
line as you are putting your wares or information out on the shelves. The
spokesperson does not have to know everything there is to know about your line,
but a few hours of training can make them look like a viable part of your team
and help you with your potential customers.

3)      Give your staff a list of preferred
customers and target list of new customers to watch for at the tradeshow.

4)      Make sure they scan all visitors
coming to the booth. Many show badges will now show you which attendees are
qualified buyers, staff members or visitors.

5)      Give your staff a list of
qualifying questions to ask possible new customers. Make sure they are not
questions easily answered with just a yes or no. An example might be “How
familiar are you with our product line?” This is a great lead in for your team
to explain the line.

6)      Train your staff to take good notes
and to follow up with any promised information directly after the show. – If
possible, they can call in to the home office and have this information
delivered to the attendees email or sent to their office before the attendee
leaves the show.

7)      Make sure to send out Pre-Show
invitations with some sort of show promotion.

8)      At the show use the pre-show
promotions to strengthen your relationship with the preferred or targeted

9)      Use “at show” promotions to attract
more attention to your products while in the booth. One of our customers gave
away an entire line of stress reliever animals, to highlight a new book series
featuring animals, to a group of educators. Their booth always had high
traffic. The tie in was perfect and that just added to the sale!

10)   Make sure to follow up after the
show. Send out another email to those who attended. Add some type of offer to
the email, or reiterate or extend the “at show” offer. – Send a “We missed you”
direct mailing to those who could not attend or to those you wished to target
but did not see while at the show.


in depth information on “How to Exhibit Successfully at a Tradeshow,” can be
found at under News/Calendar.

Tradeshows – Part 1 of 2 Attending A Tradeshow

Our company attends one to two large tradeshows per year, a smaller regional show and sometimes a morning “road show” held at a local hotel in our area. With the number of shows out there, sometimes it is hard to decide if you are getting your return on investment.


Here are some tips to having a successful show.

1)      Try to get a list of vendors that will be attending the show prior to attending.

a.       Use this list to highlight those vendors you use on a regular basis – these are the booths you will want to visit first.

b.       If you have the ability, run a report on the amount spent in the previous year with each of these vendors (this helps you when you are talking to them in the booth, as well as determining whether you should keep them on your vendor list, increase your sales with them, or find out what they can do to help you increase your sales your objectives with either new products, learning more about their existing products etc.


2)      Look at the remaining vendors and do some research on them to see if what they offer is something you may have overlooked in the past. Highlight these booths in a secondary color as booths to visit after you have visited your primary vendors.


3)      Most shows have some sort of education – get a listing of the classes, information on the instructors and assign your team to attend the seminars that most align with what your priorities are for the year. This could be classes on good customer service – which of course you would send your customer service reps to, but also your receptionist, and even your accounting department may be able to benefit from learning a few customer service tips on handling difficult customers and helpful organizational tips.


4)      Make plans for your attendees to be a part of the key note speaking engagement. Usually this is a very motivational speech that everyone walks away feeling good about themselves and with some tidbits to help them stay motivated after the show.


5)      Every company has objectives as to why they send their staff or salespeople to tradeshows. Make a list of these objectives. We usually provide our staff with a packet of information that includes the hotel information, directions to the convention center (if applicable) the booths we want them to visit, and the objective for each of the booths. This could be asking about new products, getting a case history on who purchases the products and the time of year their products sell best. It might just be to put a name with a face. Whatever your objective is, you need to put that in writing so everyone understands the purpose of their place at the tradeshow.


6)      Make sure to add in some fun for those attending the show. Sign them up for the tours or gala parties that will most likely be offered through the event coordinators.  Or plan a dinner at a themed restaurant or a night out at a famous night spot.


7)      When the tradeshow is over – plan a staff/sales meeting and go through your list of objectives. Find out how you can use what they learned at the show to better your business.


If you do these seven things, you are sure to have a much more motivated work force and you will reach your objectives.