Winter is coming – and with that come the last quarter, end-of-the-year trade shows. On average, businesses attend 22 regional trade shows and 14 national trade shows every year. Rather than fight the fatigue of conference and trade show overload, embrace it and make it a successful wrap up to 2017.
By now, you and your team may be trade show pros, but it never hurts to have a refresh to deliver your best impression and make your attendance a success. You don’t have to rely on all the flashy gimmicks or over-the-top presentations. Stick to what’s worked in the past and amplify it. Give trade show attendees an experience that is engaging, educational, and entertaining.
Here are three areas to cover before you set out on your final work conferences of the year and trade show best practices, tips and tricks to keep in mind and take into 2018.
First impressions are everything, which is why your team must be on top of their game with every work conference. Even if people are casually walking by your booth, it doesn’t create a good impression if everyone has their head down distracted by their phones or computers.
Conduct staff training pre-conference. One way to prepare for upcoming events is by conducting role play of possible interactions with customers or potential clients. This will help your team feel more confident in how to address questions and represent your company in the right way. Also, schedule staff training whenever someone new is added to the conference travel team. Don’t miss the opportunity to put your best professional face forward. Always come prepared, check out our post on what to bring to a work conference.
Finalize dinners and event sponsorships. Coordinate how you will be connecting with your audience beyond the conference room floor. Is there value in becoming a sponsor of the conference or hosting a special happy hour or dinner with select attendees? When reviewing your fourth quarter budget, creating a more personalized experience [link to personalized experience blog] can help you stand apart from the competition.
Your trade show booth setup is the first thing conference guests will see. Ensure your visual display is as eye-catching and interesting as your product or service. A poorly designed trade show both may indicate to a passersby that your team is unprepared or uninteresting. Visually engage visitors with well-planned trade show displays for the ultimate experience.
Finalize trade show booth additions. The shell of your trade show displays and all the supplies you need for setup should be ready to go, so now’s the time to add the final touches. This can include a new customized banner, updated business cards, or swag bags filled with additional personalized items to provide value for anyone who stops by your booth. Visualize the setup and create a checklist to ensure all items make it to the show.
Confirm shipping arrival dates. With any trade show, there is always last-minute inclusions or swap outs that need to make it to your final destination. Check the shipping schedule deadlines to ensure all your equipment and furniture make it to where it needs to go. If you are taking your own transportation to the show, use your checklist when packing up your vehicle.
The way you talk with your co-workers is usually far different from how you would interact with work conference guests. Here are trade show best practices to keep in mind and relay to your team when it comes to guest interaction:
Friendly is key – but exude extra professionalism. Most trade show attendees are meeting you for the first time and may not relate to your sense of humor or jargon.
Maintain personal space. Although the excitement of the trade show floor can be contagious, make sure you are presenting a welcoming vibe rather than an overbearing one.
Introduce yourself. This may seem obvious but initiate a connection by introducing yourself and your company position.
Don’t do all the talking. While you may feel like you need to get as much information out as possible, take time to reflect on what those who stop by your display are saying or asking.
Make sure your freebies serve a purpose.Conference swag is a staple of the showroom floor, but is the trade show merchandise you’re giving away providing value? As an example, since winter is the height of cold season, attendees will likely be extra appreciative of hand sanitizer freebies, which you can customize with your business name.
Create an interactive booth space. The trade show floor is all about interactions, so make your trade show displays inviting by offering an element that makes people want to stop by. Whether it’s a prize wheel, scratch-off giveaway, or mobile device setup to demonstrate your product/service, people don’t want to see what you have to offer. They want to experience it.
Focus on quality over quantity. In some instances, it’s not about sharing a laundry list of everything your company provides. It could be an introduction of one new product/service. It can be focusing on one new feature or a special exclusive to trade show attendees. Gauge your audience per conference, and select the best of the best of what your company has to offer.
As you finalize your trade show strategy for the rest of 2017 and the upcoming winter conferences, remember to keep the experience authentic and gimmick-free.
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