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Avoiding Rookie Mistakes At A Trade Show

trade show rookie mistakesAre you currently in the process of setting up a booth for a trade show for the very first time?  Congratulations!  Trade show displays are one of the best ways for an organization to make a major (and lasting) marketing impact on their targeted client demographic. Businesses in virtually every industry and vertical market have long since relied on this proven promotional tactic to entice the masses to step up to their booths and bannerstands and get an up close and personal look at what their business has to offer.  Sounds like a marketing home run, right?

Success With Trade Show Displays Requires Strategy And Focus

Well, yes and no.  While setting up a booth for a trade show does deliver countless benefits such as face-to-face customer engagement, affiliation and partnership opportunities as well as ample chances to eyeball the competition (totally fair game during an event!), reaping maximum benefits from trade show booths does require some pre-event strategizing and at-show focus.  All too often, business leaders simply (and wrongfully) assume that they can set up their banner stands and trade show displays, flip the switch to “auto-pilot” and sit back and wait for the leads to start rolling in.

Know Which Missteps To Circumvent For Optimal Return On Investment

Fortunately, just like any promotional initiative, there are some key rookie mistakes that businesses can avoid right out of the gate to help ensure success.  If you’re ready to start taking the marketing arena by storm never:

Overdo it with your trade show displays:  Companies that flaunt for the simple sake of flaunting can be a major client deterrent.  Nothing can repel potential clients faster than seeing booths and bannerstands that scream “BRAGGART!”  While a few eye-catching bells and whistles are nice, make sure most of your exhibit stays focused on informing the crowd.

Underdo it with your trade show displays:  Nobody likes a cheapskate. If your booth for a trade show looks like something out of a time machine, update it!  Remember, this is the first impression many clients will have of your company;  you must look financially stable and relevant at all times.

Wing-it with your pitch:  Even the most articulate and persuasive salespeople find that pitching to the crowds at a marketing convention is an entirely different approach than cold calling, appointments, etc. Always train your team (you can even hire an outside provider who specializes in convention sales tactics) to ensure that they are prepared to best represent your organization no matter who peeks into the booth.

Miss an opportunity to check out the other exhibitors:  All too often, rookie exhibitors feel like they have to be chained to their trade show displays at all times.  Yes, there should always be at least 1 or 2 staff members manning the exhibits, but it’s important to always make sure your team has the opportunity to walk around and check out the goings-on during the function.  As previously mentioned, checking out the competition is an event-approved benefit and should always be a priority when attending.  However, chances are, there are also a multitude of non-competing businesses there as well; make sure that you and your team make the rounds and network, network, network!

Being a rookie isn’t all bad.  Remember, there are positive aspects to being a first-timer at trade shows, too.   You will bring a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to the show and be able to see things that the veterans may have been overlooking for years.  Combine that insight with these tips and you can make your first trade show a success!

What's Working In ExhibitingTo help you get started with your trade shows, read the What’s Working In Exhibiting white paper.  This 32-page guide will cover all the basics and more including almost 100 tips on the best tactics in 7 key areas of trade show marketing.  Click here to request your free copy. 

About the Author

Skyline Exhibits offers trade show display design and event exhibits to match any size and budget, ranging from tabletop displays and portable displays to modular inline exhibits and large-scale island exhibits.

4 responses to “Avoiding Rookie Mistakes At A Trade Show

  1. Pingback: Setting Up a Trade Show for the First Time
  2. The number one rookie mistake, I have found, is to start planning for a trade show too late. They end up paying a lot more for their booth than they would’ve had they planned ahead.

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