Trade shows, fairs, exhibitions, conferences, and other in-person events offer invaluable opportunities for businesses to connect with potential customers and generate leads. In a digital age where information is readily available at our fingertips, it is crucial for trade show exhibitors to provide visitors with compelling reasons to visit their booths. In this blog post, we will look into essential trade show planning tips, explore various ways to captivate your audience and stand out amidst the competition, including why attendees should choose your booth over a Google search.
Everything is ready and planned down to the last detail. The fair starts in 7 minutes, and you have spent all your time finishing everything during the last 7 weeks. And now you must talk to the guests and collect hot new leads.
“As long as they come now” you think… and hope for the best…
Would you leave 7 weeks of hard work to hope and faith – or have you invited the potential customers you would like to talk to at your trade show booth and made sure they come?
You probably know who your desired customers are. You know what they do and where they work. And you know they could benefit from your product. Exactly the product you bring to the fair.
But have you given your customers a good reason to come to your booth and get a presentation of the product?
Today, all the information we need about new products, prices, trends, and more is available online 24/7.
Your desired customers can as easily as nothing search the market and go straight to purchase without moving anywhere. So, why should they come to your booth?
Plan a special experience for them – an experience they can only get through the personal meeting at your booth. It’s chemistry. It’s dialogue. It’s talk, try, feel, hear, learn, and hands-on that makes the difference.
And it is your most important task to plan activities at the booth, which gives the guests exactly the experience it takes to stop their search in the market and choose to move on with exactly your products.
Get your guests involved in your project, your product, mentally, physically, virtually.
Involvement. It beats everything else. But it is difficult. And it does not come like lightning from a clear sky.
Just like a great story has a beginning, middle and end – so does trade fairs.
This part is at least, if not more, important as the ‘culmination’ of the fair.
In the prelude and invitation-stage, the guests interests are peaked. It is here that the targeted customer becomes aware of why he or she should participate. Make it attractive and organize the prelude so that the guest can get involved in an easy and fun way by:
The culmination is of course the fair, the event, the conference. The whole delivery and what you and the guest have looked forward to.
While Google provides vast amounts of information, trade fairs, exhibitions, and events offer unique advantages that cannot be replicated online.
They provide face-to-face interactions, networking opportunities, and immersive experiences that build relationships and foster trust.
Visitors benefit from engaging with real people, gaining immediate access to expert advice, and experiencing products firsthand. Trade show exhibitors must leverage these advantages to create memorable encounters, leaving a lasting impact that goes beyond what a search engine can offer.
So … What is your reason to attend? Is it to check out the latest products? Is it to check out the competition? Is it to make new connections? Is it to increase brand awareness? Find out what your reason to attend is and make sure that you try your best if you want your best customers to come to visit you.
This is where you follow-up with your guests. And this part must be as carefully planned as the beginning and the middle.
Take the first step towards following up already at the fair and give both yourself, the salespeople, and the guests a good starting point to continue the storytelling in a follow-up dialogue with a clear goal after the fair.
If you have been good at creating involvement in the beginning and followed up on it at the fair, you have created the very best conditions for continuing the dialogue after the fair.
With explicit goals and a well-defined target group, motivated staff, and systematic (and digital) collection of leads, the follow-up will be piece of cake. The only thing it requires is that you have complete control over these 5 areas:
Which leads do you need to take home to achieve your goals – what characterizes a good, hot lead for you?
What information do you need to collect about your guests/leads, in order to be able to follow up purposefully – what do you need to remember to get answers to and permission for?
What will you follow up with and how will you send out the material? Have brochures, prices, pdfs, etc. ready before you leave.
How do you collect leads to streamlining the following-up process – do you have the right (digital) tools available?
Who does what, when? How do you easily and quickly get your leads into your CRM so that they are part of the existing sales process?
Easy and targeted follow-up starts before the fair. Mindset, ownership, internship, and time in the calendar must be aligned and fine-tuned so that your promises do not become unmanageable to keep when you return from the fair.
And just to return to my friend from the Euro Shop – my path to becoming a customer with him, could have been much smoother if he had been completely focused on the above 5 areas – and had he kept what he promised …
Discover techniques for increasing trade show booth traffic and learn how to attract your dream guest. Even if your booth is placed in the far corner of the trade show venue.