Strategic Tips For Success At Trade Shows

August 22, 2018
Looking for the best possible ROI from attending and presenting at your industry’s leading trade show? Get these strategic tips…...
Strategic Tips For Success At Trade Shows featured image

Looking for the best possible ROI from attending and presenting at your industry's leading trade show? Get these strategic tips for success at trade shows...

Being Effective at Trade Shows

Business owners tend to spend a lot of money to attend trade shows with the slightly naive, yet understandable view, that by default they will naturally attract new clients and all sorts of interesting leads. Yet, trade shows are competitive places with many vendors vying for the attention of the same delegates and attendees.

In turn, it is imperative you take the time to consider an effective strategy in terms of how to squeeze the most return on investment from your trade show of choice as people will not magically be drawn to you and your business. In fact, you can often see a few deflated business owners or members of their team, sat by themselves, almost with their head in their hands due to the lack of engagement and business that’s coming their way. 

Whether your goal is to attend the largest trade shows in the world, or you're scoping out a list of trade shows by industry, as the leader, you are ultimately responsible for the outcome you experience at trade shows. The power is in your hands.  

In this article, we’re going to look at a few strategic tips for success at trade shows in order to attract, engage and convert visitors into customers.

1. Attract

The first thing you need to do is to attract people to your booth.

Visual displays are essential, though one of the most effective ways of attracting attention is to actually speak on stage and give a presentation about a pertinent problem your target audience faces -- And solve it!

If you are doing such a talk, then the best advice is to make sure it’s 90% value-added content and only 10% promotion.  In truth, nobody really cares about your company or product, they only care about finding a solution to their problem. Help your audience understand your product or service is their best solution.

By providing an in-depth and insightful presentation you are positioning yourself as an expert in your niche, meaning people will be naturally drawn toward you, and seek you out.  In contrast, if you stand on stage only promoting your product most people will turn you out and you most likely will not attract the attention you seek. 

2. Engage

The second step is to engage.  

We’ve covered the speaking aspect, which can be a very engaging way to attract attention. However, at the fundamental core of engaging people is providing additional value through incentive.  Some examples:

  • Free samples
  • Prize drawing
  • Complimentary item with sign-up or subscribe

And offering bonus information within a keynote presentation.

Indeed, one of the best strategies when selling beauty products, for instance, is to offer a free hand massage or facial using the products in question - this way you are creating a sense of reciprocation, in that when you give something away for free most people feel the emotional need to give something back (even if this is their attention).

In this vein of engagement, it helps to stay on top of current trends. In your preparations, have a good understanding of what your competition may be doing and which popular trends attendees favor.  USBs have been clever trade show giveaways.

If you've done your research, a question you may be considering is how do you use USBs for promotions?  

The best way, would be to provide something of value, rather than a sales pitch. Most people will respond much better to helpful content or digital tools.  Most people aren’t willing or able to engage in a useful way with something that’s purely promotional. 

3. Convert

Conversion is all about turning prospects into customers.

At trade shows, the majority of business leaders focus too much on selling on the spot, and less attention is given to actually engaging and adding value for their target audience.  

Success Tip: When you engage your audience the process of converting them to buy becomes much more effortless. Opt for asking simple questions, rather than regurgitating heavy handed sales patter. 

Also remember social media. Inviting trade show attendees to connect with you and your business at industry exhibitions helps keep your brand top of mind and keeps the contact warm.

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