Fall is often considered "Trade Show Season" for the service industry, chances are you are considering, or have already planned to attend a trade show. Getting ready for a trade show, especially if it is your first, can be intimidating. If you can pull it off though, trade shows can bring enormous potential to your business. Go in poorly prepared and chances are you’ll walk away with a look of solemn disappointment on your face. One of the worst feelings in business is standing in an empty booth while your potential clients head to the competitor's booth across the hall. Creating a professional booth is not just a good idea but an absolute necessity. That being said, here are a few things every booth should have:
Thought-out Marketing Materials.
Don’t leave your booth visitors empty handed - bring well-designed and beautiful pamphlets or brochures to explain what makes your business unique. A big stack of business cards is also a must for customers that want a more direct connection with you. . After these items are taken care of , you’ll want to focus on the extras; swag-bags, hats, mugs, key chains, these are all great give-away items, but you’ll likely see tons of them. Try to come up with a unique gift to give to those that come and talk with you. Something that stands out in a crowd of cheap pens and branded water bottles. This will not only leave a lasting mark on the customers but also give your booth a must-visit vibe. Raffles and contests can achieve this same effect but again, be careful not to repeat the same washed up techniques of your competition. You want to give away something that everyone will want, but no other booth has. Customers will see this as a sign that your business offers the same.
A professional, eye-catching booth.
Ensuring that your display draws in passersby is often overlooked and underutilized. Don’t count on your product or service alone to bring in visitors. Large, bold and professional signage along with out-displaying your customers with a big screen TV or projector is a sure-fire way to draw the crowds. EZ-UP tents are popular for a reason, this is a great, albeit expensive option for upgrading a standard booth. However your local sign shop should be able to provide you with some great looking pop-ups at a reasonable price.
A Solid Pitch.
We’ve talked about getting customers to your booth, now to the most important part; keeping them there. A good, solid pitch should be at the core of every business, and if you don’t already have one down, setting up your booth might be the least of your worries. A great pitch will take 30 seconds to one minute and give your customers a reason to stay and ask questions.
Always bring a big dose of confidence to the table. If you’re not confident in your company, visitors will smell it a mile away and not even approach your booth. Set a goal for the trade show, prepare a pitch and execute. Treat this as seriously as a job interview and you’ll be in a good place.
A Reliable Team
While going it alone at smaller conventions is doable, it looks unprofessional and leaves customers that are waiting to talk with you out in the wind while you pitch someone else. Having a reliable, confident team improves your chances of making a sale while showing customers that you have built a foundation of employees that believe in your company. You’ll cover more ground and answer more questions, but make sure your team is up to the task. Each of your team members is a representation of your company, so they must look the part, act the part and know how to talk with clients.