The annual Visit Scotland Expo will be upon us all too quickly. If your business has a stand then you’ve gone to a lot of expense and are taking valuable time out so you had better make sure that when you attend your business gets the best value for money.
Ok so how can you do that? Here are a few hints and tips that I have picked up over time – they are not necessarily in any order.
Train your trade show team
Set clear goals for taking part in the show. What do you want out of it?
Have plenty of brochures cards and give-aways. Make sure everything has your company logo on it.
Make sure you use display racks for your brochures and keep them tidily.
Have a prize for a draw – collect business cards. Drop them in a fish bowl, top hat or an empty skull.
Have a portfolio showing the work you do and what you can offer.
Do you have a special show offer?
Obtain the list of potential customers attending the show as soon as it’s available. Work out who you want to meet. Write, Fax,text or email them inviting them to visit you at your stand. Put the message out on your website or in your enewsletter.
If there are seminars, work out whom you want to network with and make sure you are at the correct session to catch who you want.
If there is a seminar that could do you or your company some good then book it, arrive early, ask good questions, leave late.
At any show make sure you tour the room regularly looking for prospective customers – don’t always wait for them to come to you.
Don’t be stingy with your business cards. Make sure you all have plenty and give them out. No one ever got any business by not dishing out a card.
Don’t be flash with the expenses or too mean. Aim for a happy medium. By all means entertain customers, but be professional.
Prepare some “engaging “questions before you go to the show. Ask open ended questions – who, what, where, how, when……… Practice the questions to yourself.
Create a good first impression. Build rapport.
Call leads when they are hot, as soon as you get back fromthe show – why not simply send them a text?.
Don’t wait a month after the show to call. Make sure that extra time is allocated to sales staff to make calls after any show.
Make sure you have prepared any follow up materials before the show.
Make your business newsworthy. Event organisers and trade and local press and TV are always looking for stories to plug the show. Give them some news. Prepare a press release with a good story for every day.
When you pack your show items make sure they are accessible. Mark the boxes with the contents. If you are attending shows with partners make sure your boxes are easily identifiable. Spray the corners with paint. Cover them with stickers.
Don’t forget to pack a sewing kit, safety pins plasters and pain killers.
Pack a box with every day stationary items.
Know how to assemble your stand before you go. This way you look professional.
Arrive at the show early – at least 15 minutes. Take the time to prepare yourself for a long day.
Give colleagues on your stand specific targets.
Always lay off the garlic and spicy foods
Dont “over do things” at the drinks reception
Never sit, smoke, read, drink, and eat food on the stand.
Never ignore prospective customer by forming a cosy cluster and having a chat
Never use the telephone whilst customers are around ( they’ll just walk on by)
Never be late
Never cross your arms whilst talking – you’ll close the conversation
Never stand with you back to the aisle
Never say – “can I help you “
Never lean on the furniture
Never voice negative opinions on the show to customers
Never badmouth the competition
Oh and don’t wear new shoes or high heels – be friendly to your feet you’ll be on them for at least eight hours!