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Exhibitor Tips for a Successful Trade Show

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Trade shows are among the most important sales generating tools for businesses. Converting a trade show lead to a sale can cost 38% less than a cold call alone*. But, many businesses have little to no training or experience with this type of sales generation activity.

It’s understandable that as an exhibitor you can get caught up in the logistics of getting your booth from point A to point B, securing the right location for your booth and preparing for meetings. All too often, these required logistics crowd out the even more important marketing aspect of a successful trade show.

Recruiting your company’s trade show exhibitors requires three key factors: appearance, brand knowledge, and engagement.

Here are a few basic guidelines that can transform your trade show presence, engage attendees, and increase your return on investment. Some of these guidelines might seem pretty straightforward, but you would be surprised at how often they are overlooked.

Exhibitors should be mindful of hygiene and their appearance and should have some consistency in their dress code to provide a branded presence. Things to avoid: chewing gum, eating, sitting, and talking on the phone or texting while exhibiting.

Ensure you have adequate staff to cover breaks so your booth is not left unattended.

Ask staff to watch their body language and be aware of their posture and where they rest their hands (avoid putting hands in pockets, folding arms, and slouching).

Brand Knowledge
85% of an exhibitor’s success is based on staff performance*. Staff should be confident in their knowledge and understand the target market represented. An excellent idea is to have some key talking points or opening lines prepared that help your staff determine the needs of potential clients, communicate company strengths, and what makes it unique.

Staff should be very comfortable with brand messaging and able to answer common attendee questions. Be sure you provide online resources and takeaways (print material or swag) to enhance the brand experience.

Studies have found that 77% of trade show attendees are potential new clients*.

During trade shows, these potential clients put a personal face to your company and brand. Therefore, the people representing your company in this type of setting should be high energy, enthusiastic, outgoing, knowledgeable, and approachable.

Demonstrate hospitality through maintaining eye contact, smiling, and engaging visitors to your booth through conversation.

Be unique: anticipate items that will be popular with attendees and draw attention to your booth through give-aways, product demonstrations and prizes.

Be active on Twitter and other social media using the official hashtag for the tradeshow, tweet relevant messages, engage with attendees and share photos from your booth. Balance is key; you don’t want to overcrowd the official Twitter feed, but you want your brand to stand out as relevant and interesting.

Exploring some of these best practices will help ensure a successful exhibition.  Strategically choosing staff and pre-planning your key messaging and engagement tactics prior to the event will create a more relaxed and inviting experience for staff and your potential clients.

Nova Scotia Business Inc. offers expertise and assistance for companies looking to grow their operations through trade and export activities. We can help you prepare your entrance into new markets through education, advice, financial support and missions.

Contact us to learn more about trade opportunities.

View upcoming trade missions here.

* “Making Trade Shows Work” International Training & Management Company.