Love them or hate them, trade shows are where you find new customers. Each show takes a lot of time, money and effort, so you need to know that you are making the correct decisions to get the most out of your investment. You are proficient at your business, but you are probably not a trade show expert. Listed below are five critical trade show faults that can cripple your success and how to avoid them.
Prior to the show
A lot of your trade show success (or failure) depends upon what you do to get ready for the wedding day. Avoid these pre-show pitfalls.
1. A poor trade show display
Your trade show booth is your first impression. It ought to be fun, lively and effectively tell people what your business is focused on. This isn't the place to skimp on the budget. A trade show display that isn't vibrant, isn't clear about who you are and what you do, and doesn't ask visitors to come in for a closer look is a trade show killer. Naturally, don't make the rookie mistake of placing a table or stand between you and your possible clients either. That's simply a barrier that will make it too easy for them to walk right on by you.
2. No social media
It's 2018 and sociable media is your best friend. If you aren't promoting your business on sociable media, linking it to the trade show's own social media accounts and interacting with your clients, you're in big trouble. Why? Because your competitors are. They're creating a following and letting their fans know just when and where to find them. Oh yeah, they're also determining themselves as experts in the industry. If they're the experts, what does that make you?
3. No defined goal
If you go to a trade show thinking, "This is great. I'll get my name out there!", you're not incorrect, but you're also not going to have in any way of measuring its success. What will make the show a genuine success for you? Do you need to find 50 new leads or just 5 really solid leads? Should you network with people in your industry or connect with potential new employees? According to statistics, only 35 percent of trade show exhibitors measure the portion of trade show leads that result in a closed deal. Determine precisely what you want to achieve and then create a plan for making that happen and the way to quantify your results. Even if you don't achieve your goal, at least you understand that you'll need to improve something to have more success the next time.
During the show
You've done your prep work. Great! Now it's show time. Avoid making this classic mistake if you want to have a great show.
4. Wrong person in the booth
Here's another area where it doesn't pay to skimp. Many business owners hire interns or temp personnel to man their trade show booth. How difficult is it to stand there and give away business cards, right? Well, not very, but that's not what you want to be taking place.
The individuals that are in your booth signify your company and your ability. They should be able to answer questions competently and, preferably, even set appointments and negotiate for you. Face-to-face marketing allows you and your team to meet clients personally and develop connections. You're wasting that opportunity if your clients are talking to temporary staffers that don't know your business.
After the show
The show is over. Now you can pack it all up and relax until the next one, right? Nope. The worst oversight most businesses make comes the show has ended.
5. Not following up
You put good money in that trade show display. You gave away merchandise and free items. You even gave up your own Saturday to attend the show and create a fistful of new leads. Now, if those leads get tossed into a drawer or your computer file, you've thrown away all of it. Once the show is over, it is time to follow-up on those leads. A study for major industry events found that 80 percent of exhibitors didn't follow up on leads following the show. Don't wait around too long. While you have their information and they still remember your conversation, this is the time to reconnect and nurture those leads into legitimate customers.
Trade shows are a great opportunity to get your business name out there and discover customers who are able to eventually become long-term clients. By keeping away from these common trade show mistakes, you'll make your business stand out from the crowd and keep your booth busy, and profitable, at every trade show.