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Trade Show Basics: Get These 2 Things Right

Tradeshows 101While attending this year’s Exhibitor Show in Las Vegas last month, I could not help but ponder why a simple rule of exhibiting is so hard for many to follow.  The Exhibitor Show is the trade show for the trade show industry.  This is the collection of trade show pros!  You would think that all the simple bases of exhibiting would be covered.  Yet… not the case, even by the experts.

If you do nothing else with your graphics, get these two things right with your trade show exhibit:

Clearly state 1. Who you are, and 2. Describe what you do.

Who you are and what you do.  That’s it!  Simple.  Basic.  Trade show 101.  Yet…so hard for so many.

Depending on the size of your trade show display space, you have roughly 3-5 seconds to catch that prospective visitor’s attention.  If they cannot clearly identify who you are and/or what you do, your odds of attracting their interest dramatically fall.

In today’s economy, the trade show floor is now being walked by more senior level decision makers.  With more to do in less time, no one has time to waste.  If your prospective visitor (and future client) cannot clearly identify who you are or what you do, then the easiest decision for them to make is to keep moving on to the next space.  They do not have the time nor do they want to spend the energy to try and figure out what solution you provide.  At most shows, there are simply too many other messages competing for their attention.

If you are a large organization, stating that you are XYZ may not be enough.  What division of XYZ?  And then simply state what you do.  What is the problem you solve?  What is the solution you are offering? What makes you different?  The idea is to help your prospective visitor easily make the decision that you are indeed someone that may fill their need.  After all, that is why they are there at that show.  They have a need and are seeking out someone to fill that need.

Following this rule will also help save your booth staff time, energy, and money by helping the prospective visitors qualify themselves rather than wandering into your space trying to figure out who you are and what you do and eventually getting to the point where it is clear by eating away at your staff’s time and resources.  This frees your staff to fully concentrate on true potential clients.

Adding graphics that help tell the story, some pointed bullet points, and even a testimonial or two all help encourage that prospect to stop… once they can identify who you are and what you do.  And making sure your booth staff is properly prepared and trained to work as a team on the show floor will only help increase your show ROI.

But it all starts with the basics.

Who you are and what you do.  That’s it! Simple.  Basic.  Trade Show 101.  And not so hard.

What's Working In ExhibitingRound out your knowledge of trade show basics by reading the What’s Working In Exhibiting white paper. With almost 100 tips, the report reveals the most effective strategies and tactics exhibitors are using today to boost their results and stretch their budgets. Click here to request your free copy. 

About the Author

Shawn Lacagnina was a sales manager at Skyline Displays of Houston in Houston, Texas.

2 responses to “Trade Show Basics: Get These 2 Things Right

  1. I really appreciate your webinars; I already have your products. Many don’t get it, you walk past their booth and don’t know what they sell. Classic booth, he sold fire extinguishers and his huge backdrop was “The New York Times” I thought he was selling newspapers until I asked vendor, he looked at me like I was the fool.

    I still hand-write names and addresses on thank you notes for coming to my booth — letters and hand write a note to everyone thanking them, sure it is slow in this crazy computer world, but I bet my responses beat the form letter. I take trade shows seriously, it is my company and I pay the bills. About 80% of our large clients have come from my trade shows. I treat everyone with respect and kindness and answer all their questions with short honest answers. You never know who the person is walking up to your booth, it could be your next huge sale.

    I set up funny displays on my tables to catch peoples attention and keep them laughing, this opens them up for conversation.

    Thank you,

    1. Thank you for sharing your great story, Chuck! You are a trade show master, and with 80% of your large clients coming from exhibiting, you are also a poster child for trade show success!

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