The Do’s and Don’ts of Every Trade Show

When it comes time to present your company, startup, or idea to people from around the world, you want to be prepared in the best way possible. Sometimes, all you get is 30-seconds to convince someone to either invest in you, partner up with you, buy from you, or franchise one of your businesses.  And, so, there are definitely some trade show do’s and don’ts you need to know before you show up for the big day.

Ready to master trade show management? Here’s how to get started…

The Do’s

1) Listen More

When people make an effort to stop at your exhibit booth, chances are, something piqued their interest. They’ll start to tell you about this interest. Therefore, our rule of thumb is as follows:

Listen 80% of the time; talk 20% of the time

Make sure to let people feel like they are part of the conversation. They will like you more for it and, therefore, be more likely to invest in you by the time it’s all said and done.

2) Stay in Touch

Make qualified leads out of people who are generally interested in your business. Take time to really listen to every person and identify what it is they are looking for. Once you make connections with exhibit hall attendees, be sure to stay in touch. Craft a great follow-up email that lets them know you haven’t forgotten about them and are looking forward to working together with them.

3) Provide Giveaways

People love free things. That’s why giveaways do so well. Just be sure they are somehow related to your business – if you hand out coasters and you are trying to promote a shoestring business, what’s the relation? Make it easy for people to remember.

The Don’ts

1) Don’t Be Negative

Do not talk negatively about the competition, even if you want to. It immediately shows people that you feel threatened for some reason; could it be because your product is not good enough? Instead, talk to show attendees about your services in an educational manner.

2) Don’t Be Unfriendly

Do not stack your exhibition team with negative and unfriendly people. Your booth staff should be energetic, engaging, and moving at all times. Do not allow staff to sit in chairs and stare at their phones. You want to ensure your trade show booth is as approachable as possible.

3) Don’t Be Unprofessional

Do not have food sitting around (like snacks and lunches). Nothing looks more unprofessional than the sight of half-eaten sandwiches and French-fries littering your nicely assembled exhibition space. Also, try not to eat around lunch time, and if you do, bring gum so your breath stays minty fresh.

The Top 5 Trade Show Mistakes to Avoid as an Exhibitor

Every single year, thousands of trade shows and exhibitions take place in the U.S., allowing businesses, inventors, entrepreneurs, and startups to showcase their products or services to potential investors, partners, and consumers. It’s a great way to launch a new product or service (or a franchise) into international success. It all starts with an educational and interactive display that gets the exhibit hall attendees excited.

However, there is a lot that goes into trade show etiquette, which is why you want to ensure the next time you show up to an exhibit hall, you won’t make these mistakes.

Here are the top 5 trade show blunders to seriously avoid:

1) Lack of Sufficient Staff

Nothing is more unprofessional to conference attendees than your exhibit booth not having sufficient staff present. People have questions they want to ask, information they want to know, and demonstrations they want to see. If you send one person to represent your business and 2 or more people want to learn about it, the remaining bystanders are going to end up walking away and passing up your business. Remember: they want intimate, one-on-one attention.

2) Last-Second Preparedness

A lot goes into the coordination and presentation of a trade show exhibition, which is why it is not something you will want to put off until the 11th hour. From the banners and pop-up displays, to the digital tools and handouts, if you wait until the last second, you’re going to end up paying thousands in rush-order fees. It’s just not worth it!

3) Overwhelming Displays

People are inundated with information from the moment they wake up — they don’t want to show up to your exhibit booth and feel overwhelmed by the displays. If there is text everywhere, plastered all over every piece of content, where are they to focus their attention? What is the ultimate point of the product? Keep it on-point, on-message, and digestible for the average person.

4) Lack of Passion from Temp / For-Hire Staff

More businesses are considering outsourcing the representation of their trade show to a staffing company. However, one of the worst things you can do is have individuals with no industry experience or passion representing your product. Only you and your team can do that, and, yes — the people at these trade shows can spot passion (or lack-there-of).

5) Repeat Materials

Many trade show attendees attend a given trade show multiple years in a row. They will start to notice if you recycle your materials; not to mention, the styles and designs will begin to appear aged. You don’t want to come off as cheap, which is why it’s worth sprucing content up for each new trade show.

ExhibitDay: Trade Show Management

We know that preparing for a trade show, measuring its effectiveness, and organizing the whole event can be stressful. ExhibitDay provides the free tools you need to track and manage all of your exhibits, and focus on results.