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Trade Show Tips for the New Exhibitor

Being a new exhibitor can be daunting and leave you wondering where to start first. Listed below are a few tried and true tips that have worked for others over the years. Hopefully they can help you if you're just starting out in trade show marketing.

If possible visit a few trade shows and try to get an idea of what may work for you. Exhibitors within your industry and outside of your industry can give helpful advice about what works well for them. Tap into their experience as you begin to plan your first trade show. Also, as you walk through the trade show be sure to notice which booth is drawing a consistent crowd. If it seems appropriate, ask the sales staff at that booth about their techniques and why they think people stop by their booth more than others.

Ten Tips for Trade Shows

1. Many trade show exhibitors start filling their calendars anywhere from twelve to eighteen months in advance. Always plan early.

2. Make a list of goals and objectives for the show. This list should be very specific outlining how much you plan to generate in new sales, how many new business relationships you plan to acquire or a new service being offered by your company.

3. Business markets are evolving continuously so be open to new ways of presenting your services. Trade show attendees see hundreds of exhibits throughout the course of the show. Make sure you present a unique display so you are memorable.

4. What you're selling at a trade show is usually a first impression. Remember to be professional and courteous always. You are on display as well as your products or services.

5. Working a trade show alone is not advisable. Trade shows last ten to twelve hours daily and often go for several days in a row. This is too much for even the most energetic person. Hire at least one other person to help you out.

6. It's ok to ask questions when a new attendee stops by your booth. It's nice to know who you're speaking with, who they work for, and in what capacity. This will help you determine if the attendee is a prospective customer or not.

7. Take the time to create a lead-card system before the show starts. Record as much pertinent information as possible to ensure a smooth post-show follow up.

8. Be nice and polite to everyone you meet. Even on the way to the vending machine. Everyone may not have a name tag on and as the old saying goes; you never know who you're talking to. The junior executive today can be a senior executive tomorrow.

9. The most important part of the trade show occurs after you've left the show. Following up with your prospective customers will make or break the outcome of your efforts. Consider sending thank you notes to as many of your leads as possible. People still admire receiving a kind note in the mail and they will also appreciate what you remember about them.

10. Give your trade show participation a fair chance to work. All results will not be immediate, but the relationships created are. Think long term as well as short term.

Trade Shows can be very rewarding when planned well and a good follow up plan in place. Also, don't be shy in asking a few veteran exhibitors for help. Most people are glad to share their experiences and tips. Good Luck!


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