1. Don’t overwhelm your visitors. I know, from having visited many tradeshows, that I tend to return home with lots of info, most of which gets thrown in the trash. I know I’m not the only one who does this, so as I planned my collateral material for shows, I decided that “less is more” and that my handouts would be copies rather than color brochures or flyers. This enables me to give something away to visitors (in addition to my biz card) but lets me keep my costs low. And, I’ve limited myself to 2 handouts, and my biz card. That’s it. As long as the handouts are content driven instead of sales driven, they will be kept.
2. Ask your visitors open-ended, compelling questions when they enter your booth. I’ve been wondering what would be a good conversation opener for my visitors. I don’t want to say something lame like, “How are you enjoying the show?” My plan is to ask one of two questions: “What kind of business are you in?” and “What are your top 2 challenges in being in business/getting your business started?” (depending on whether they’re a seasoned business owner or a newbie entrepreneur). I’m definitely interested in the latter question, as I can determine if I’m on target with what I think are the challenges of business owners, and can modify my offerings accordingly if I get info that’s different than I expect to hear.
3. Make a list and check it twice. I’ve created a packing list on a Word doc, and each time I have a display at a show or organizational meeting, I simply pull out my list and ensure that I have all of my supplies in my tradeshow box, or replenish what’s missing.
4. Have fun! You can work yourself into a frenzy with lots of planning for a show, and still be so frenetic that you pounce on visitors to your booth and scare them away. Before the crowds arrive, take a few deep breaths, get centered, put on your best smile, and get ready to just enjoy meeting very cool people. If you’re relaxed and “show up” as natural and relaxed (rather than going into full-blown salesperson mode), you’ll have a better time, your visitors will enjoy themselves more, and you’ll achieve your goals without even thinking about it.
Joshua Gair – Impact Entertainment Services