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Trade Show Game Plan
By Jeff Butcher on November 5, 2012

Centralizing your industry focus in one location reduces travel expenses and places your products in an environment of excitement. Industry buzz adds to promotions, making Trade Shows the perfect vehicle to promote your company.

Since Trade Shows come with the associated expenses, it is wise to think about your goals when attending or exhibiting any shows. Looking beyond the obvious will enhance many facets of your organization. Trade Shows place shoppers and vendors in a room that sets the mood for a proactive business shopping experience.

Advance planning will help you to gain the most benefit. Everyone at a show is busy. Setting up meetings in advance, with a time range, will prepare customers or vendors so they are aware of your presence. Being flexible will help you to see more products and people.

Setting a hard time at a Trade Show is difficult, and a time window creates the best opportunity for your contacts to be on the lookout for you.

When exhibiting—most companies are good at bringing their exciting products and company catalog. A well-designed booth welcomes your customers into your mobile store in an inviting fashion. Booths with open spaces guide even timid customers to learn about your company and products. Preparing your mind in advance of the show allows you to look between the colorful booths to find the true hidden gems of information that can be found in every corner of the hall.

When displaying—be prepared to answer “the” question in an effective, informative and concise fashion. “The” question is asked at every show—every time. One hundred percent of the people that enter your booth will ask your people “What is new?” Usually, customers ask about new products before they even say hello.

A new product at a Trade Show generates conversation that is fueled by the customer. Trade Shows turn the sales equation around, and answering questions replaces selling. Rehearsing sound bites for each new product will help your team to gain the most attention for your company and products.

New products generate excitement, and proper display promotes items in an atmosphere where customers are looking to learn or buy. This special moment in time is when astute show planners display their people.

People in your organization are paramount in creating year-round business. Taking the time to meet your customers lays the groundwork for repeat sales. Face to face conversations allow your organization to overcome future problems and issues. Customers that know the people in your company feel safe in communications based on the familiarity that is gained at the show.

While we all enjoy the revenue stream that comes with selling products, networking might be more important than selling at a show. Keeping a pulse on the industry identifies new trends that are entering your marketplace. Getting outside the walls of your building opens doors to new opportunities. Accidental meetings in the hallway, or after show hours, often produce new ideas that can be implemented as soon as you get home.

Open minds look for opportunity. Seek out networking opportunities and make them happen by actively going beyond the comfort zone of those contacts you already know. Make it a priority to make several new contacts at every event.

At a Trade Show, people are prepared to meet new people, and those that put themselves out there first get more done. Meeting new people leads to new ideas. Might new ideas result in improved infrastructure at your company? Maybe you learn about a promotion that you can emulate and tailor for your group? Maybe you will find a cost-saving idea, or perhaps find a new service that improves efficiency back home?

Educational opportunities are abundant at Trade Shows. As hard as they try, Trade Show employees are often amazed at how often the education opportunities at shows are missed by attendees and exhibitors alike. Seminars are a great source of information, and many of them are offered at zero cost. Attending as many educational opportunities that are pertinent to your company is sound business.

Too often, people seek out others that provide information that mirrors their own opinions. Effort should be placed on looking for feedback that cultivates positive change. Feedback given directly from users provides the fodder to improve products and customer service.

Customers at Trade Shows are happy to share experiences. Often, a customer brings a problem to light in a helpful way. Loyal customers enjoy providing feedback in a manner that is positive, helping to cure issues relating to product performance. Longtime customers are happy to help improve your company, leading to real change. Knowledge is gained and corrective action can be taken before problems become a haunting online complaint.

Keeping a pulse on the industry inspires new thoughts that might push your company in new directions. Looking for ideas that help your company evolve should be a point of focus. A stale idea seen in a competitor’s booth can help you to visualize areas of improvement for your company. Getting out there and witnessing what the industry group is doing provides the motivation for your team to generate new ideas and opens the doors of change.

The all too familiar landscape of our office walls can lock us in ideas of the past. Trade Shows add vivid scenery to the imagination, inspiring new visions that can be implemented, allowing you to move future potential into today’s reality.

Go Forward – Move Ahead

Jeff Butcher
 

About the Author
Jeff Butcher's picture
Jeff Butcher is a veteran of the racing industry based in the Pacific Northwest.
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