the trade show
that the trade show is upon you, what is it that you are
going to do there? All
the planning in the world will not do you one bit of good it you
don’t execute it well or if things are tossed in your lap and
you don’t know what to do.
Most newbies hit the "trade show floor" without a
clue as to what comes next.
Visitor: “Good morning”
Trade show guy: “How
can I help you?”
Trade show guy: “No
problem. Here’s a
brochure that will tell you about us. You want a free Frisbee?”
Trade show guy: “No
problem. Hey, can I
get your badge so I can scan it?
I promise not to bother you.
We just need to keep a record of people that stop by.”
well sure, okay”
what was that? Well,
that’s was a typical trade show scene with someone working the
trade show booth who doesn’t have a clue what he is doing there,
and hates every minute of it.
order of business: If
employees do NOT want to be exhibiting at the trade show, leave
them home with a few unpaid days off of work.
You don’t need them.
They will not bring you one piece of business unless the
customer begs them, and they will give you a bad image.
trade show representatives are your ambassadors to your
community. They are
the ones that are interacting with the people that you hope will
be paying your bills next month.
If they’d rather be home watching Oprah, let ‘em.
Trade show booth opportunities should be held exclusively
for salespeople that want them and preferably have earned them.
This is gravy opportunity and you don’t need yawners and
sure everyone working the trade show knows to wear a nice set of
clothing and that everyone is on the same page.
It’s no good to have some people showing up in formal
business attire while others are wearing their company shirts and
your are in a craft, food or other messy business, men and women
should both be wearing casual dress clothing.
Professionals should look professional though the
professional style could extend to company shirts and pair of
the shoes comfy! Working a
trade show means that you will be on your feet for a very
long time. Unless you thought to supply your booth with
extra lush padding, your feet are going to be in agony by the end
of the day. Ladies…
do not wear heels! Keep
it a flat-soled, cushioned shoe.
It is also recommended that you bring a second pair with
you. Changing shoes
will give you different pressure points and make things a lot less
at trade shows get interesting.
We’ll just leave it there.
If possible, make sure that you have your cell phone with
you and that there is someone at a local office that you can
contact. If not, plan
to have a local runner at the trade show who can run out and get
or do something that you forgot to take care of or didn’t
a checklist for all the things you need to take to the trade show
and start this ahead of time.
Try to picture the show and walk through a presentation.
Make sure that you write down everything you need to touch
or use and this will be your Master Trade Show List.
Keep this forever and add on to it as you discover new
forget the obvious things like business cards, laptops, company
brochures, power cords, pens and paper.
trade show list should also include tape, stapler, roll of
duct tape, packing tape for boxes, scissors, knife, and a couple
of markers. Once you
start doing trade shows, it’s always a good idea to keep this
kit in it’s form so you don’t have to hunt each item down each
consider adding some comfort things to your trade show kit:
A box of wipe towelettes for your hands, lotion, powder, a
couple of boxes of cookies for your staff, and a few cans of
Slim-Fast in case you get a bit hungry and cannot get away for
shows can wear you out! Stand too long, talk to too many people, smile way too much
and everyone can get a bit cranky or drop the ball. Ensure that your trade show staff has an adequate break every
once in awhile. Schedule
this out so that everyone knows and nobody takes advantage of it
while others are going through burnout.
In general, try to give everyone a break every 2-3 hours to
walk around the show, use the facilities, grab a bite, and just
relax a bit.
you are a one person show, consider hiring a relief staffer to
come in during a slow time, just to give you a break.
If you must leave without a relief person, be sure to leave
a big sign on the table with a time that you will be back.
That way, if a serious customer comes looking for you, they
will know that you are on break and when to come back.
plenty of water during the show, eat well-balanced meals, get
plenty of sleep, and take a good B complex vitamin to give
additional energy during the show.
In general, it’s good to avoid alcohol on or before show
days, but especially during the show.
attention at the trade show
trade show is busy. That means that trade show participants are being pummeled
with hundreds of messages. The
hard part of working any trade show is to walk up to a stranger,
get their attention, be friendly, qualify them, and do it in the
middle of this chaos.
first words out of your mouth will be important in determining
whether the visitor will be staying at your booth or moving on.
Look at the example at the top of this page.
Standard greetings such as, “how are you”, “Can I
help you”, or “How’s it going”, are only going to give you
general comment back, and often it’s a negative.
up 3-5 opening lines that your staff will use.
Comments should be open-ended to require the visitor to
start to talk. Example:
“Good morning Ma’am, we provide a wide range of
services to seniors and convalescents in their homes.
Do you have family or friends in the area that are or will
be needing assistance soon?”
you’ve done here is to greet the customer, explain what your
company does, and ask them a very general but qualifying question
that requires an answer from them.
If you get any kind of a positive answer, you can move in
from there to determine who, what, how, when, why, and where.
you are asking question, you are in control, you are leading.
Ask questions that help you sell your products/services.
Don’t worry if it’s raining outside right now or how
they like the show. It’s
you should be using this trade show opportunity to ask questions,
don’t forget to listen 80% and talk 20%.
People like to be put at ease and when you ask questions
and let the visitor talk about themselves, they are more at ease.
trade show presentations
the trade show opens each day, ensure that everything is working
properly. A plug
might have been pulled or something knocked out of place.
If you have developed trade show presentations, make sure
they are out and that all staff is familiar with them.
If possible, consider trade show presentations that involve
the trade show visitor. Ask them if they have questions.
Most important… keep reasonable eye contact.
a demo example of your services is key to helping the trade show
visitor understand what it is that you do and how it can benefit
them. Show a feature,
outline the benefits, show proof, examples and then ask how the
service would help them.
all the strong features of the product or service and plan what
benefits you can talk to people about.
on to the next trade show booth visitor
that you’ve established a rapport and assessed their interest in
your service, make sure that you have their contact before they
leave. Once you have
that, you will need to find a way to disengage and move on to the
next trade show visitor waiting for you.
If traffic is low or nobody is near you, feel free to spend
additional time, but still be ready to go if you have to.
most cases, the conversation will come to a natural close, but in
other cases, you may have someone who is perhaps lonely or simply
doesn’t understand that you need to move on.
isn’t too terribly hard once you know what to do.
A simple closure statement such as, “Thanks for stopping
by” along with a hand reached out to shake their hand will
terminate a conversation. Just
be sure to try and schedule the follow up or at the very least,
let them know that you will.
you have conversed with a visitor and assessed their interest in
your product or service, you will need to find a way to disengage
from them so that you can be available for other booth visitors.
can spend extra time with booth visitors during low-traffic times.
But during high-traffic times, you will be missing important
opportunities if you continue talking.
the conversation will come to a natural close, but there are times
when your prospect is not in a hurry to leave and is not sensitive
to your need to attend to other visitors.
that happens, use body language and closure comments to give your
prospect the message. First, change your body position and reach
out to shake hands. Then communicate your follow-up plan –
arrange a time to call or offer a takeaway item. Thank the visitor
for their time, shake hands, and move on.