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5 Points To Outline Your Trade Show Exhibiting Plan

Tradeshow Plan 5 pointsWhen faced with a large task, one of the best ways to approach it is to “Divide and Conquer.”  You break apart the problem or task at hand, and deal with each smaller, individual portion until the whole process is complete.  This rule can apply to your trade show planning, as well.  There are countless aspects of planning and execution that, when grouped altogether, can be quite intimidating to complete.  Here’s how to break it down and swiftly move yourself from beginning to end.

  1. Make A Pre-Show Strategy.  What is it that you want to accomplish at this show:  Meet new leads? Gain face-to-face time with your existing clients?  Scope out the competition and others in the industry?  Whatever it may be, decide on your most important factor and build your plan around that.  Involve your trade show exhibit booth staffers as well, so that you can present a unified message and goal.
  2. Do Your Work Ahead Of Time.  Don’t wait until the show is already started to implement your strategy.  Get ahead of the competition by sending out invitations to your trade show booth a few weeks before the show to set up meetings with clients.  This will help you make the most of the precious time you have at the show, and let your existing clients know you care about their business.
  3. Give Attendees An Experience.  Providing a learning experience at the show, such as a quick seminar in the booth or a demo of a new product, will make a greater impact on your trade show booth visitors.  This will make you more memorable and thus, more likely to close a deal later on.
  4. Have A Post-Show Strategy Prepared.  What do you do with all the leads you took when you get back to the office?  A plan for fulfillment or follow up is a crucial step that is often times botched or simply forgotten.  Keep your leads organized while at the show.  Separate them into A, B, and C piles.  Enter them to your CRM system according to their rating.  Create a quick and simple, personalized cover letter for your more important leads, fulfill them, and send them out.  Then, repeat the process as you go down the list.  Do not wait!  The faster these are fulfilled and out the door, the better chance you have at gaining a sale.  Not to mention the sooner you’ll have peace of mind at getting the monkey off your back.
  5. Measure Your Results.  This process can be tricky as it can come weeks and even months after the show and fulfillment have taken place.  Keeping all those leads organized after the show will really pay off when you are doing the follow up.  Know who your A leads are and which sales rep they were assigned to.  Ask your reps to give a 1, 3, or 6 month follow up report so you know where they are at in the sales cycle.  At that point, you can begin to determine if the show, and your marketing plan, were worthwhile based on the sales and potential sales you have coming in.

Of course, there are many more details that can go into each of these steps, but by breaking it down into smaller sections it can be easier to handle. Use this plan as a jumping off point to recognize your big objectives, then fill in the details as your plan evolves.

What's Working In ExhibitingFor a deeper look at what you can do to make the best trade show exhibiting plan, read the What’s Working In Exhibiting guidebook.  Click here to request your free copy of the white paper that tells what exhibitors say works best for them in 7 key areas of trade shows. 

About the Author

Bryna Kelly was a Marketing Assistant at Skyline Exhibits, located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

2 responses to “5 Points To Outline Your Trade Show Exhibiting Plan

  1. Hi Bryna,

    Is is proper to send information to business cards you gather in a bowl for a free gift. I have struggled with this for years. Interested in your thoughts!


    1. Hi Patty –
      Typically, a fishbowl giveaway is going to draw the wrong people into your booth. The bowl will be filled with names of people who just want the prize, rather than people who want your products. A better method is to be an expert provider of solutions, and then you won’t need generic giveaways to drive qualified traffic to your booth. You could use the raffle or prize as a starting point in a conversation with an attendee, or try advertising a show special to get interested buyers to commit to action right then and there.

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