Add Some Fun to your Next Business Meeting or Trade show

Most business meetings are boring and no one is really excited to be there except maybe the person they hired to speak or motivate you. Add some fun to your next business meeting or tradeshow by adding items that light up the room.

I remember one year we went to a tradeshow and they had an afterhour’s event. Each attendee who signed up for the afterhour’s event received a light up necklace with the name of the sponsor. These were a huge hit. You would see attendees wearing these every night during the show.  I, to this day remember the sponsor’s name.

There are many other items that can be a fun part of your event. For instance, for night time events, including an installation of officers, a holiday party, a tradeshow appreciation dinner and other evening type events you could add your logo or sponsors logo to light up ice cubes, light up beer glasses, margarita glasses, shot glasses or even light up wine glasses. The possibilities are endless, and think of all the fun that will be anticipated as attendees walk in to a dimly lit room with glowing Drinkware. Your event will be talked about for weeks afterward and your logo will go home with the attendee for even further impressions.

Light up items are great for tradeshow give-a-ways too. Everyone loves to receive gifts that glow or change colors. Try handing out a light up clock, calculator or computer mouse at your next event. You will have them lining up to your booth to get a light up item imprinted with your logo. Of course you should establish rules ahead of time, like the attendee should listen to your spiel before you just hand one over, or possibly only give them to your better customers and have an item like a LED tip light up pen for the attendees that are new to you.

Tradeshow a Success!

We were very productive last week at the tradeshow in Las Vegas. We found many new products for our customers. And many of you took advantage of our offer to help you find new ideas and products and we were glad to be of service!

 

It is so important to be armed before going to a tradeshow (especially of this magnitude – over 1400 booths). There was absolutely no way we could see every booth, so having a plan in advance made the show easier to navigate and really get down to business. We divided the show up in to 3 days. The first day we highlighted all of our top preferred vendors in pink, the second day we highlighted vendors we would like to see in yellow – These were vendors that might have ideas or products that would help YOU our customer's with your upcoming events, or they might have been someone we saw at the New Product Pavillion with products that we thought would be perfect for our product selection – and the 3rd day, we highlighted in blue those vendors that were recommended to us by other distributors, or those that sent us pre-show emails about products or services that might work for us as well and those that we may have breezed by on day 1 or 2 with products that looked interesting, but were not part of the original plan.  This breakdown and following the pattern, helped us to stay on track and not get caught up in trying to see all 1400 vendors whose products might not fit our corporate image.

I have to say the best piece of advice we received prior to attending the show was a list of items to take from Cliff Quicksell, an industry veteran and trainer – he suggested taking a FlipVideo to take video’s of vendor booths and products so that they could help us sell their products on our websites. It was FABULOUS!! By Monday, you should be able to see all the videos we took on www.CEShoppes.com/video

Tradeshows – Part 2 of 2 Exhibiting At A Tradeshow

How
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
tradeshow.

 

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
information

e.       Improve client relationships

f.       
Demonstrate
products

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
received

d.       How many people attended a special
presentation

 

While
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

 

1.   
Set
specific show objectives

2.   
Train
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
customer.

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.

 

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

How We Work a Tradeshow

As I said in an earlier post, our entire office team went to our industry tradeshow. There were over 850 booths, with literally thousands of products. I am a bit anal when it comes to what happens at a tradeshow. We have 3 things in mind when we attend.

First, are the education classes; we all need to learn new things about the business and what the trends are for the year. Second, is to see the products that are shown in our new catalogs and third, when and where the fun events are held that we are going to attend while at the show.

To show you how important this is to our business I am going to relate a little story in regard to how I go about giving direction. Some will say it is overkill, but this is how I manage things in my life. I am a huge fan of lists.

It is important to see and feel the items that will be appearing in our catalogs. Our first catalog of the year, “Select,” was mailed out in January, so it was very important that the vendors in that catalog be sought out and each employee see the products first hand. It is also important to ask questions about each of the products, like who purchases this type of product? Do you have any case studies on your products that we can use? Production time, imprint colors, set up fees etc..

During the show, I sent each one of my employees on the show floor with a 10-page document. The first page was just an outline of the education classes they would be taking and a schedule of what everyone else was taking, including room numbers and times. The rest of the document outlined the vendors that were in each of our new catalogs, and their booth numbers, the overview of the educational classes, the events that they needed to attend and how to get to the hotel and convention center.

I just happened to stop by one of the booths, after my team had been there. My hands were full of catalogs and samples (I hadn’t felt the need to bring the bag provided to me the previous day). The booth just happened to be that of a bag and box vendor, and I am sure they thought I was only stopping in the booth to get a “free bag” to empty my hands. – However, I started asking them questions about their “Green Products” and told them that they were one of the vendors that were in our upcoming catalog called “Idea Showcase,” a catalog with over 14 pages of “Go Green” products that would be mailed at the end of that month.

I asked if maybe some of my team hand stopped by at some time during the show and asked questions about their products as well. The representative in the booth started laughing and said ‘Was that you who made the long list of vendors and booth numbers? I saw pages in one of your employees’ hands and asked if we were on some sort of list and they showed me this thick packet of pages of what they were supposed to do here at the show.”

We both laughed. It was at that moment that I realized my team of employees must think, at times, that I am a bit over the top. The factory representative showed me the rest of her product line, a lot of bags and boxes made from recycled paper, and sustainable goods. I won’t go in to detail here about all the exciting new products we saw, including the items from our new catalogs, but I will give you a link if you want to see the new line of Custom Books for Green Living.

By the way, I did get a free eco-friendly bag to put my items in before I left the booth.