Article #50, October, 2006
Make Your Booth Successful
Having a booth or table at a Trade Show, Expo or Business Fair can be very profitable or a complete waste of time and money. With preparation, you can certainly increase your odds for the first option.
First, ask yourself: when you go to a Trade Show, Expo or Business Fair, what attracts you to the various booths? When you see a slovenly-dressed attendant sitting down or worse yet - talking on her cell phone, does that just draw you to the display? Of course not!
Making sure a positive, energetic person is staffing the booth is probably the most important consideration. S/he needs to be dressed professionally for that type of event, and NO SITTING DOWN! Yes, I know it's a long day. If you're pregnant or infirm, then by all means sit down, but know you will be less able to attract people to you. There will be a few minutes of slow time here and there to rest.
I will not pretend to understand your industry, so I will assume you can create an attractive table with appropriate display items. If you're unsure, go to an Expo and observe the most popular booths. Why is everyone hanging out there? Being outrageous in appearance and/or behavior will always attract people to check you out.
Now that you have the aesthetics handled, you need to determine your goals for the event. Are you trying to sell products right then and there? How much product? Will you deliver it then or have it delivered at a later date?
Are you trying to collect information? What kind of information? How many people's information do you want? Set yourself some aggressive goals before the event.
I have a client (let's call her Sue) who owns a tutoring company and is working toward increasing her number of clients. She found an opportunity to have a table at a fundraising event at a local high school. Here is what we discussed and I suggested this week:
Have a clear idea of who you want to attract to your booth, and why they should give you their time. Also, be clear on what your intention is for the day - what do you hope to accomplish? She primarily wants to book fr'ee consultations, and secondarily to collect contact information.
So, why would anyone even stop to talk to Sue? Having a compelling, short statement that will stop people from just walking by is very important. For example, as people are walking by, she could ask them if they are looking for a way to assure their high-schooler's acceptance into a good college, or something equally emotional that would make caring parents stop and listen.
After they stop, why should they book an appointment or even hand over their personal information? Give something away! I suggested she could give away a fr'ee consultation to everyone, and give away a personal assessment in a drawing. In fact, I suggested she give away 5 personal assessments to really entice people to enter the drawing. I also suggested she inform visitors of the dollar value of the fr'ee consultation and the assessment. Booking the appointments right there on the spot when possible saves everyone time, but giving the person an appointment card and then calling to confirm the appointment are important.
In summary, to set yourself up for success at a trade show or expo, put your best foot forward by exuding positive energy and looking and sounding professional. Know exactly why you are there and what you hope to accomplish by the end of the event. Be prepared for success - have your appointment books, order forms, credit card machine, etc. Provide an incentive to visitors to your table in exchange for their information.
Email me any questions and I'll get right back to you with an answer!