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Top Tips for Start Ups- Things to Keep in Mind for Your First Trade Show

Congratulations! Your company has enjoyed success and with growth, you are ramping up your marketing and sales efforts. This is an exciting, important time for business owners where you can take your company to the next level. At this stage, trade shows can present you with a great opportunity to reach a large audience of potential clients in a meaningful and personal way. Check out some pointers for your first trade show.

Pre and Post Show Planning are Key

If you want to convert leads to sales, be sure your trade show efforts don’t begin with display set-up and end with display tear-down. Before the show reach out to any contacts you already have and also ask the event organizer for the pre-registration list of attendees. You can reach out to these individuals – using email, mail, and telephone—to let them know you will be at the event.

After the event, it is necessary to follow up with any leads you gathered at the trade show. Work closely with your sales team and develop a nurturing plan that makes sense for your audience. Only through these efforts will you be able to capitalize on your efforts during the trade show.

Dont Overlook the Importance of a Handshake and Business Cards

You may have a fantastic display, great booth location, and even a top-notch product, but that still doesn’t mean people will remember your booth. Sometimes the impact lies in the little things. By shaking a hand, making eye contact and giving someone your business card, they are able to put a name to your business. They don’t just recall a product, but a relationship they formed at your booth. This a great first experience with your brand.

Conversely, we have all met people that forgot their business cards. They might quickly scribble their name on a napkin, give you information electronically or simply take your card and say they will be in touch. Whatever the case, it is unprofessional and a poor first impression.

It Cant Always be Business Business Business

Whether you are a purchaser or exhibitor, you understand you are at a trade show to advance your company. Despite this primary objective, a trade show can get stuffy and mind-numbing when there is a constant conversation about business, products and bottom lines. We’ve all felt that burn out at some point.
If you want to drive traffic to your booth, lighten the mood and have some entertainment. There are more expensive entertainment options such as a caricaturist or a photography booth but also less expensive options like foosball or video games. There is no reason why people can’t have fun at a work event while making meaningful connections.

Offer Something Tangible

If you want to show appreciation for people visiting your booth, provide them an exclusive offer only available to event attendees. Remember, what makes trade shows great is you have the opportunity to meet people in-person and form a relationship. You can strengthen the trust of the relationship by letting that potential client know you value them. A generous product offer is a great way to do that. Incorporating an offer into your trade show meetings can open the door to not only a single business transaction, but an ongoing partnership.
Congratulations on your success as a business. Here’s to your success at the trade show!

tradeshows timeline sheet calucaltion roi
Trade Show Planning Timeline (PDF)

Download this all-in-one trade show planning timeline to keep track of your trade show deadlines. Our timeline includes exhibit design & build tasks, technology considerations, pre-show promotions, booth staff tasks, lead management and miscellaneous items. Also included is; budget planning information, a booth staff schedule, typical show services deadline list and a budget calculator perfect for trade show veterans and those newer to the industry.

About the Author

Cam Rooney was a Sales and Marketing Consultant at Skyline Exhibits Alberta.

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