During The Show:
Both you and your exhibitor booth space need to look and feel accessible and welcoming.
Here are some ways to ensure that will happen:
• Stand as much as you can in your booth space. If you need to sit, try and sit off to the side in a counter height chair but not behind your table.
• Stay fully present to what is going on in the trade show environment. This means no reading or having long conversations with your neighboring exhibitors or friends. This also means no eating, chewing gum or talking on your cell phone within the booth space as it gives off an unprofessional image.
• Think of some qualifying questions in advance that will stimulate conversation with attendees. Ask open ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
• Listen more than you talk! Don’t go into your sales presentation and give a lot of information until you know what they know. Find out what the attendee knows about your product or service, then have a dialogue ready. This is not the time to lecture but to listen and build a relationship.
• Show attendees, especially women, want to do business with others they feel a connection to. Concentrate on what you have to offer them – not what you can get from them. Speak to their hearts and their heads.
• Keep things light. Keep your energy up. Have Fun!
• Be generous and be willing to help the other exhibitors have a successful show. There is enough business for everyone and if you come from a spirit of cooperation rather than competition – everyone will win. Get to know the other exhibitors and what they are offering so you can become a resource to the attendees.
• Stay positive and away from gossip and whining.
• Keep your booth space neat. It’s easy for your exhibitor space to start getting cluttered after you’ve been there a while. Remember, this space is a reflection of your company and your office.
• Make sure your booth is staffed at all times or you may lose potential opportunity. If you need a break and don’t have anyone with you, befriend a neighboring exhibitor to help you out for a few minutes and stand in your booth while you take a break. Be sure you are not gone too long as some one may stop by and ask for important information that the stand in staffer may not be able to answer.
• Be familiar with the layout of the Event or Show and any programs going on so you can act as a resource for the attendees.
• Plan to attend at least one talk or workshop if they are offered at the event or show. Support your fellow exhibitors and learn something new!
• If there is a Networking Reception, be sure to attend to build relationships.
• Do not break your booth down early towards the end of the event or show. Sometimes this is the time attendees like to last minute shop and you may lose out on opportunity.
After The Show
Over the past 20+ years, I have seen many exhibiting companies spend a lot of time, money and energy on an event or trade show and then throw it all away because they didn’t follow up! This is a crucial step you do not want to overlook.
•Follow up with all of your new lead contacts within one week after the show or sooner. We contact people by email within two days after the event or show and thank them for coming by and visiting with us in our booth space and also thank them for signing up for our email list. We also tell the attendees what they will be receiving from us going forward.
• If attendees ordered product from you during the show, put your orders in right away and notify them of the timeline for delivery.
• If you told any of the attendees you would send them something…do it! How you handle post show interaction will tell the new lead contacts how you do business.
• Networking and sales is a process. Do not judge the event or show prematurely based on sales or contacts. Now is the time to nurture those contacts you made and turn them into valuable relationships to build business. Be patient.