Getting Ready for a Trade Show

You have made your investment in a booth; have decided how your booth sign will look, and what your "tag line" will say. The application to be an exhibitor had been reviewed and completed, and you have submitted this information along with your check for your booth space. You are now ready to exhibit at one of the major shows in your industry.

Or are you?
The above takes place almost every day all over the country if not the world. But the experienced trade show exhibitor knows that there is more to a trade show beside a sign or graphics, a tag line and a booth.

The following are a few of the tasks that should be considered when you exhibit at a trade show.

  1. Invitations: Have you contacted your clients to invite them to this show? What about your list of present prospects and suspects? You should plan to send e-mails blasts, snail mail and make telephone contact with clients and prospects that you would like to invite, to have them stop by your booth. Many people do not attend trade shows because they are not invited.
  2. Letters & E-mails: Develop letters and e-mails that can be sent to your clients, prospects and suspects both pre show and post show.
  3. Show Theme: A trade show should be an experience. It should reflect a positive attitude about your company, products, people, and what to the future holds for your company.
  4. Company Booth Script: Everyone representing your company, and standing booth duty should be telling the same story about your company, products, delivery, pricing and service.
  5. Literature & Handouts: 72% of the literature collected at trade shows is thrown away before the attendee leaves to go home. If you want to hand out literature make it inexpensive, general and include something that the attendee can use while at the trade show.
  6. Opening Active Question: An opening active question cannot be answered with a yes or a no, and should cause the prospect to stop in order to respond and hopefully ask more questions.
  7. Qualification Form: You need more information than the attendee's name, title, company, and telephone number to determine if this person is a worthwhile prospect.
  8. Elevator Statement: Your elevator statement should be general enough to give a good understanding to the listener as to what your company does and the products and services offered.
  9. Booth Etiquette: Be prepared to do business. Treat your booth as you would your home. Make the space inviting, and your introduction pleasing.
  10. Client Profile: The profile of your client determines where your focus will be and how you should proceed.
  11. Set Goals & Objectives: If you do not set any goals or objectives for your company at the trade show, you are just an attendee not an exhibitor.
Trade shows are growing at a rate of 7% to 10% a year. A company should include trade shows as part, if not the main focus, of their marketing program. If planned correctly, trade shows can be the most cost effective and expeditious way to generate qualified sales opportunities.