I gave a presentation recently to a local chamber of commerce on ‘how to get the most from an expo.’ Over the course of my business career I have worked many expos, trade shows, festivals, etc. First I will say, they are a lot of hard work and the results are not always seen immediately. Plus, expos can be very expensive and time consuming. So if that doesn’t give you pause, then lets talk about about what can be done to ensure you do your part to make it as successful as possible.
Before signing up for an expo, trade show, festival, etc., think about why you are doing it.
What are your expectations?
- Get Exposure
- Get Leads/Referrals
- Build Relationships
- Sell Products
- Who is your Target Market?
Based on your answers, determine if the expo in question will help you attain your expectations. Once you have decided and signed up to do an expo, prepare and plan in order to maximize your results.
Before the Expo – Prepare and Plan
- Obtain and Read the vendor/expo rules
- Determine how much area you will have to display
- Are there any restrictions?
- If possible request ahead of time the most optimum space for your display, i.e. against a wall, corner space, front/back of the room, near the food/drink, etc.
- Will you need electricity?
- Floor covering
- What will be provided, i.e. table, table covering, back drop, etc.?
Before the Expo – Determine Needs
- What marketing printed material will you need? i.e. brochures, flyers, business cards, etc.
- Signage – banners, stand up signs, etc.
- Promotional products, give-a-ways
- Lead generation forms
- Door Prize(s)
***Get all of these materials ordered in ample time to receive before the day of the expo.***
Before the Expo – Advertise!
Do Not depend on the Expo planners to generate all the traffic to your booth. If your place of business is within a 100 miles of the expo, be sure and do the following:
- Notify ALL of your Customers and Prospects
- Offer a gift/discount if they come by your booth
- Put up a sign in your place of business
- Post on ALL Social Media Platforms often and up until AND the day of the Expo
- Hand out flyers at all the networking meetings/events you attend prior to the expo
- Put flyers in all orders prior to the expo
Tips for Setting in Booth –
- Make it welcoming and inviting
- Make it colorful
- Less is More – Don’t display to much to the point that it looks cluttered
- Have it be interactive – Have a reason for them to stop, look, converse.
- Offer a special offers/discounts just for the expo
- Have a candy dish/bowl
- Have a ‘fish bowl’ and lead generation forms to collect prospects information – Offer a door prize
- Have your door prize prominently displayed – Make it showy
- Solicit help for the day of the expo to help set up, man the booth, break down, and pack up
- Train your helper(s) ahead of time so they understand what you want them to do as well as what to say when they are manning the booth for you
- Do a mock set up of your booth ahead of time to ensure you can display within the guidelines of space provided
- Make sure you have all your ‘props’ and material together ahead of time
- Make a ‘what if’ kit for anything you might need the day of the expo, i.e. pins, tape, scissors, hammer, pliers, screw driver, etc.
Day of the Expo –
- Dress appropriately
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Arrive early to set up or set up the day before if possible
- Make friends with your booth neighbors
- Get set up in plenty of time to visit the other vendors. (Depending on your business, they may be your best prospects.)
- Wear a name tag
- SMILE! It’s Show Time!
DOs and Don’ts –
- Do wear a name tag
- Be ready to meet and greet
- Greet people and start a conversation
- Keep your table/booth area free of trash, etc.
- Have Helper Take Photos and Post on Social Media
- SMILE! Have a Good Time!!
- Stay until the End – I have met some of my best prospects at the end of many events
- Don’t sit behind your table
- Don’t be on your cell phone
- Don’t have so many helpers that prospects can’t get to Your Table/ Booth
- Don’t be over aggressive and/or pushy
- Don’t stand around talking to your neighbor and/or helpers and not paying attention to prospects
- Do not eat at your table
- Don’t break down and start packing up early
After the Expo – The Fortune is in the Follow Up
Did you know that 80% of trade show vendors do not follow up?
In fact, check out these statistics –
- Follow Up Within 24 to 48 hours
- Email ALL Prospects a Thank You for stopping by your booth
- Announce Winner of Your Door Prize in your email and on Social Media. Include a photo if possible.
- Call all HOT Prospects within 24 to 48 hours
- Mail Thank You Cards to those who purchased
- Add prospects to distribution lists
- Continue to Keep in Touch – Sometimes prospects don’t realize they have a need until sometime later.
Many of the items in the outline above are some of the services I provide especially around follow-up and keeping in touch. See my list of Services on our website.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have a group that would benefit from this presentation, contact me for information on scheduling. I recommend the presentation be scheduled to be presented about 8 weeks out.
If you have questions or suggestions to add, please let us hear from you. We would love to hear your stories about successful and not so successful events. We can always learn from those experiences that weren’t as successful as we thought they should have been.