It’s a deflating feeling. Your fee is paid. You’ve made the trip. Invitations were sent to the list of trade show attendees inviting them to stop by your booth. You’re ready for a crowd, but instead of beating a path to your table they linger elsewhere while you drink bad coffee and brood.
What went wrong? Trade booth flops are often the result of too little notice paid to the laws of attraction at shows where exhibitors are vying for attention.
Dependable tactics you can use to improve traffic and convert browsers into prospects include:
Showcase what’s new. Whether it’s your first appearance at a trade show or your fifteenth, the question on every attendee’s mind is always “what’s new?” Getting up to speed on developments in their industry is what brings most people to the shows in the first place. Prominently display your latest product or place information on a new service where your prospects can’t miss it.
Hold a giveaway or raffle. Visitors to your booth fill out a form with their name, company, address and phone number. You get new contacts for your database, they get a chance to win a gift card or other prize.
Have literature on hand. Gathering useful information is a top priority for most trade show attendees. They want to know how you can help their businesses be more profitable, what products or services you can provide to increase their competitive edge, and what tools you can offer to take them to the next level. Make sure you give them your best sales pitches in printed form with an ample supply of brochures, ad reprints and flyers.
Use islands and counters. If you have the option, islands and counters are worthwhile additions to a booth design. You can use them to draw attention to special items and make maximum use of limited space.
Downsize booth staff. You want to make your booth inviting, not intimidating. Too many of your people sitting around ready to pounce on a prospect can frighten people away. When things are slow, send a few out on a break or have them investigate what’s going on at competitors’ booths.
A trade show is a chance to see and sell a high volume of people in a short amount of time. Don’t treat it like a last-minute garage sale. Organize your offerings in an appealing way, encourage prospects to interact with your booth, and provide informative take-away materials, and you’ll be way too busy to notice that the coffee’s gotten stale.