Be a (Trade) Show Off

Be­com­ing a trade show su­per­star can re­quire a sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment, but of­fers your com­pany an im­pres­sive pay­off. Here’s how to make your booth the star of the show and your time a fruit­ful in­vest­ment

Alberta Venture - - Contents -

Be­ing a trade show su­per­star can take a sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment, but of­fers your com­pany an im­pres­sive pay­off. Here’s how to make your booth the star of the show and your time a fruit­ful in­vest­ment

Tracey Moore’s fa­ther used to run a trade show ser­vice com­pany,

so when she founded Ex­hibit Stu­dio 10 years ago he be­gan to pass down his hard-learned wis­dom. One les­son that stuck with her was to treat ev­ery cus­tomer with the same level of re­spect, whether they’re spend­ing $500 or $50,000. That’s come in handy as Ex­hibit Stu­dio, which be­gan as more of a bou­tique com­pany, came to sell trade show booths whose price tags ran from one ex­treme to the other – from lit­tle more than a ta­ble and ban­ner to gi­gan­tic, in­ter­ac­tive $100,000 ex­hibits. Just as they both de­serve the same re­spect, they both serve the same func­tion, too. “Trade shows give you the face-to-face, and they al­low you to de­velop the re­la­tion­ship po­ten­tial that a lot of other medi­ums just don’t,” Moore says. “You’ve got five sec­onds, maybe seven sec­onds,

to get some­one’s at­ten­tion, and if there’s a row of 20 booths, you need peo­ple to see who you are and what you’re do­ing, oth­er­wise they’ll just keep on walk­ing by.”

With that goal in mind, here are some more tips for mak­ing the most of your next trade show:

Start small

Moore rec­om­mends rent­ing, not buy­ing, a booth for first-time trade show ven­dors. But rent­ing the hard­ware for a trade show booth costs about one-third of what it sells for, so if trade shows seem like a good fit for our com­pany, the eco­nom­ics for buy­ing out­right make sense pretty quickly. Let’s say you buy a typ­i­cal 10’ by 10’ ban­ner stand – you can al­ways still rent a 20’ by 20’ for the big­gest trade show of the year.

Rock your booth

If you’ve got some lee­way in your bud­get, you can per­suade your aver­age trade show guest with the trends of the day, like iPads, video screens, even vir­tual re­al­ity. If you’re one of the world’s largest cor­po­rate con­glom­er­ates, then you can re­ally blow your guests away: GMC, for ex­am­ple, had a wa­ter gun-shoot­ing con­test – guests had to hit tar­gets to lift four trucks. But if your bud­get doesn’t have enough ze­roes for that kind of the­atre, there are some low-bud­get de­sign prin­ci­ples to fol­low: keep it clean and clean-cut. “The worst thing peo­ple do is turn their booth into a brochure,” Moore says. “They miss the point – it’s sup­posed to be like a bill­board, and you need to catch peo­ple with im­ages and a quick idea of who you are and what you do.”

Know your mis­sion

Some com­pa­nies, like those that go to home and gar­den shows, will sell their goods at the trade show and cal­cu­late their profit in re­la­tion to their ex­penses – staff, booth, trans­porta­tion, and so on. But oil and gas com­pa­nies, for ex­am­ple, don’t go to trade shows to sell bar­rels of oil. Some go just for the brand recog­ni­tion – “they want to be seen and re­mem­bered,” Moore says. Know why you’re there, and learn how to track your prof­its, even if it takes time.

Fol­low up

This is more of a gen­eral sales tip, but Moore says that fol­low­ing up with leads is just as im­por­tant as go­ing to the trade show in the first place. “If you think about a ­sales­per­son who leaves the of­fice for three days to find leads, you have to have a pretty strong pro­gram in place to fol­low up,” she says. ­“If the sales guy comes back with all these leads in their pocket but they have to catch up on ev­ery­thing they’ve missed, soon it’s two weeks be­fore they can even send some­thing to the per­son who was in­ter­ested.”

Send your best

Moore rec­om­mends send­ing two staff ­mem­bers, so one can leave or help other cus­tomers. She says that a com­mon mis­take is not be­ing pre­pared enough to ask the right ques­tions when some­one comes into the booth. “They need to be able to fig­ure out within the first few min­utes whether you have a qual­i­fied lead or just a tire kicker, be­cause the longer you talk to the tire kicker, the more prospects walk by.” AV

“The worst thing peo­ple do is turn their booth into a brochure”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.