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The Ultimate Guide to Surviving and Thriving at a Trade Show

Replacement-Graphics_newYour industry trade show is a great opportunity to develop connections, build your client list and ultimately expand your business. However it can be a taxing environment and is unlike any other business event you might attend throughout the rest of the year.

Attending a trade show is also an investment with fees for a stall and the cost of promotional materials. To make the most of this investment and the opportunity a trade show provides you need to not only survive the show but to thrive there.

Be Prepared

The key difference between surviving a trade show and thriving at a trade show is preparation. Flyers, leaflets, pamphlets, guides, brochures, white papers, press releases, banners, stands and displays have to be designed well in advance and ready at least a week before the show.

Ducking out in the middle of the day to print out photocopies doesn’t just look bad it also takes you away from the important work of lead gathering.

Pitch Perfect

Have your sales pitch polished to perfection. The trade show is the most intensive selling environment you will face all year. A constant stream of potential clients will pass you all day long and you need to be able to give each of them the same quality of sales pitch.

Practice in the mirror, practice on friends, practice on colleagues, anyone who will give you two minutes to recite your pitch and fine tune it. Have people quiz you with follow up questions to make sure you have all the important info a client might want, ready to go.

Rest is Best

To get the most out of the limited time you have at a trade show you will need all your strength. This means no early morning, three hour long drives to the exhibition centre then setting up the morning of the show. Get there the day before, set up the day before if you can and be in your hotel bed early.

It might seem like an unnecessary expense of time and money but the extra vitality you will have for bringing in leads will be more than worth it.

Fuel Up

It is going to be a long day. Make sure you can see it through without having to snack at the stand or leave for lunch. A big hearty breakfast should keep you going throughout the day.

Make your Stand Stand Out

You don’t want to be forgotten in the morass of other stands. Think of smart ways you can make your stand different from the rest. Simple things like a prominent colour can make a big difference.

Vibrant colours like pink, orange and yellow can make an impression on clients that have seen nothing but the standard red, white and blue stands all day.

The Final Furlong

The last half of the last day of a trade show is when everyone starts to feel they can slack off. Having been on their feet for days and done more schmoozing more than an automated schmoozing machine, many are happy to go home with the leads they have.

But while everyone else is resting on their laurels you have an opportunity to break from the pack. Have a strategy in place to draw in those weary clients, maybe a refreshment zone in your stall where people can rest for a few minutes and have a coffee or a water. Then, when they are relaxed you can give them the soothing version of your sales pitch.


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