Buying and setting up a booth at a trade show is no guarantee of success. Like so much of business, having a successful trade show is part art, science and entertainment. A whole lot of preparation doesn’t hurt either.
Dx3 co-founder Mike Cooke has these five tips for achieving your goals and having a fun, successful exhibitor experience.
Don’t be that booth with the two bored-looking guys sitting at the back of the stand, texting.
Step 1 – Evaluate your goals for the event. Be honest and specific.
Are you new to the market? Is it a coming out party? Are you looking for funding, business partnerships or sales leads?
Knowing what you want to achieve and who you want to meet face-to-face will make a huge difference in choosing the right event.
Step 2 – Choose the right type of event. Research, research.
If you have step one figured out, step two becomes a whole lot easier. The next question to ask is, ‘What kind of event is going to work best for you and why?”
Remember a speaking opportunity for the boss does not mean you will meet the right people and achieve your companies goals. The biggest attendance isn’t the best if only 10% of the attendees are who you want to meet. Your trade association event is always fun, but are you only talking to your competitors?
Organizers have a wealth of knowledge and can gain you lots of publicity before the event, if they know what you are trying to achieve.
Step 3 – Make the event organizer your business partner.
Good event organizers love proactive sponsors and exhibitors. Organizers have a wealth of knowledge and can gain you lots of publicity before the event, if they know what you are trying to achieve. They can often help set up specific meetings on your behalf for people or companies that you want to meet at the event. So don’t just put your money down and wait for the big day.
Step 4 – Get company buy-in and plan like crazy.
If the marketing department picks an event without consulting the salespeople that will attend, sales will just think it’s a waste of time. The C-suite needs to be on board as well. Arrange for your CEO to meet industry peers, your Sales Director to have lunch with some of your biggest customers, and your Marketing Director to meet the press.
Step 5 – Set on-site goals and rules. Train your staff, celebrate, and make it fun!
Don’t be that booth with the two bored-looking guys sitting at the back of the stand, texting. The busy booths (just like restaurants) attract more attention and stay busy. So make it fun and engaging and set some goals and rules.
Heres just a few ideas:
Walk off the booth if you have to take a call.
Rotate the staff and take regular breaks.
Talk to everyone who stops by.
Have three quick screening questions so that all booth personnel can quickly gauge if an attendee fits the profile that you put together back in step one!