Having attended several trade shows in the past month covering outdoor gear, military development, and corporate training – our team is constantly intrigued by common elements being left out of the standard trade show display.
Our top three elements for a good trade show display
#1 Train Your Team
If there is ever a time for having a 30 and 60 second elevator pitch memorized, it is when you are manning your trade show booth. You should have two or three prospect types identified for your business. Examples prospect types could be consumer, wholesale, or industry press.
The FIRST thing your trade show display should support is the benefit statements around these core business prospects. Your booth team should be trained to make a friendly greeting and immediately ask “are you A,B,C, or other?”
Once you’ve identified what they are, give them the appropriate benefit statement and handle the following questions appropriately.
#2 Energy. Charisma. Optimism.
No one wants to engage with a boring booth staff. Attendees don’t usually want to engage with someone and start a conversation. Your booth staff should be polite, inviting, and professionally engaging.
This means that your team shouldn’t be going out for late night parties and show up the next day exhausted. You have a once in a lifetime chance to make a first impression and communicate clearly and accurately.
#3 The Follow-up Plan
If you don’t have a follow-up plan in place BEFORE the event, that fancy-dancy trade show display will have a drastically reduced return on investment.
This is the element that often gets forgotten after an event when team members become exhausted and days and weeks pass before follow-up contact is made with interested event attendees.
What do all three elements entail?
Some tips for combining the best team elements to support your trade show display
#1 Pay someone else to setup/takedown the booth
In many cases you can find cheap, temporary labor at a variety of staffing firms. They don’t need to be rocket scientist or genius salespeople. They need to be able to lift boxes, operate a screwdriver, and plug-in equipment. A few hour of temp staffing can eliminate having your energy sucked out of you before the show even begins.
#2 Establish booth partners and friends
Reach out to the event organizer and coordinate two or three booth around you with teams you know.
If you don’t know any of them, reach out to them a few weeks earlier and introduce yourselves on a conference call and meet the night before for drinks.
By having friends around you that have casual familiarity with your team, everyone can agree on ways to find out what each other vendor is trying to accomplish. A lot of karmic goodwill can be shared with people that are just ten feet away.
#3 Hold short, repetitive contests with your team (and even include your booth partners/friends)
Try to hold a simple, yet friendly contest as a spur-of-the-moment reward for doing a great job. You want to provide a reason for your team to push just a little harder to be in an ‘Top of the Game” mindset.
If you work with two or three partners nearby, an impromptu competition amongst teams can open up some great team collaboration.