It is a well-known fact that a huge level of business is conducted at trade shows, which is why every organization should choose an optimized strategy for success. Preparing and putting together a good trade show experience includes items like the attention to detail, focus, hard work and dedication. Continue reading to gain 10 key strategies that are proven to help improve trade show success rates:

1) Set Goals & Budget

Having clear set goals laid out prior to the exhibition are the first key element to having a successful show. You will need a clear direction and purpose for your event to truly measure whether it was a success or otherwise.

Goals you set can be anything from gaining new business leads, acquiring new business contacts, direct sales, a product launch, or establishing a brand identity in a competitive marketplace.

It’s also prudent to ensure you set a realistic budget for the event which will include trade show stand design costs, as well as any cost outlay experienced due to attending the event. This will then be used as a measure against sales or leads to determine if the cost spent was well invested or not.

2) Research the Competition

Get as much information as possible on what the competition are up to, who’s attending the show and where their stands will be located. The trade show organizers can help give you this vital intelligence if you ask them.

By doing so, you’ll easily gain an edge over your competitors by building an exhibition stand that ticks all the right boxes and avoids common pitfalls.

Find out what works for your competitors and apply this to your own display, whilst avoiding gimmicks or concepts that have been shown to give little to no return.

3) Stand Design & Planning

Planning how your exhibition stand will look should take place several weeks, if not months ahead of the event. The success or failure if our trade show could depend on it.

If you have a fixed budget in mind but no ideas about creativity or the overall look and feel of the stand, it pays to speak to specialist exhibition stand designer to come up with ideas and present the exhibition design and build to you. Top trade show stand designers will have years of experience and will know exactly how to get the very best out of your budget and make a suitable impact at the event.

Get the ball rolling early, as exhibition stands take several months to design, produce and build so items like graphics, revisions, technology, and other necessities can all increase the timeline.

Be sure to also prepare the logistics of shipping, setting up and tearing down the exhibition stand afterward.

4) Spread the Word

You can create a buzz and get people excited about your attendance at a trade show long before it happens. Once you have confirmed placement at an event, use your company website, social media accounts, email marketing systems, direct mail and simple word of mouth to get potential attendees to visit your booth when the time comes.

5) Prep Your Sales Team

It is essential to have a winning sales team that will deliver results. Pick your best salespeople for the event and train them intensely, explaining the goals of your organization and what is expected of them. You can also offer them rewards and incentives for reaching certain performance or sales based goals. Be sure they are happy and motivated. They are the face of your organization.

6) First Impressions Count

Since there is a large variety of different vendors at a trade show, you will want to make an excellent first impression. Be sure to use eye-catching designs that incorporate technology and friendly staff that are available to greet and talk with attendees.

You can also offer refreshments like tea or coffee to make people more comfortable and available for conversation about your products or services while they relax. Having your sales team open, friendly and approachable will make an impact on the face of your company.

7) Get Noticed

It is always a great idea to have a good look at the exhibitor's list to find out who your competition is and also possible clients you may wish to work with.

You can create lists with different people you wish to talk to and which stands you wish to spend time with. You can also make your booth interactive to better engage your audience and entertaining them. Gamification is a good method that works well to gain attention and interest.

8) Promotional Handouts

During a trade show, many people will be overwhelmed by marketing, flashy displays, sales staff and many different exhibitors.

You want to ensure your visitors remember your company and giving away promotional items like stickers, bags, hats, stationery, downloadable smartphone apps, and other tools are an excellent method to stay in the minds of your audience.

9) Product Demonstrations

Offering live demonstrations is a great way to show how your products work and what they have to offer.

Never hesitate to display your products, distribute samples and offer hands-on interactivity with them. This will help with brand awareness and will help your exhibition booth and company be better recognized and remembered.

10) Follow Up

One of the most important functions of a trade show is to collect contact information and lead generation for further follow-up.

Be sure to send those select people personalized emails and notes thanking them for visiting, and let them know about the products or services that may be of interest to them. It is recommended you do this within a week or two of the trade show because this brings greater results rather than waiting. So never let a good lead go cold!

Published by Janice Cook