Trade show skills necessary for exhibiting successfully
Various types of trade show skills are required for exhibiting successfully because it helps in making highly efficient and effective events in order to accomplish desired results. These trade show skills include the following:
- Knowing exactly what you actually desire: At the time of starting any campaign, you must have to ask your team as well as yourself, “what actually you want to achieve through this exhibition?” Will it be market leadership, customer relationships, presentation of new products, market awareness, generating fresh qualified leads or..?.
- Stand up and get ready: You need to make yourself very active will planning the whole trade show. Try to give your full support in managing all the aspects related to the exhibition. Reserve enough of your personal working time to handle all tasks properly.
- Treat your exhibition like an asset investment. Both require long term thinking, a sufficient budget, and a solid ROI calculation (in advance and after the show).
- Start early with your preparations. Not later than 6 months before exhibition start.
- Exhibiting with social media support. Never forget that exhibiting will not be successful if used as a singular “stand alone” marketing activity. Always combine it strategically with a smart use of business social media like Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest etc. as well as other marketing tools like direct mailing, press releases and many more. By today the active presence on LinkgedIn and Google+ should be standard trade show skills.
- Always use the most assertive media: Nothing is better than face-to-face. A tradeshow is the ultimate opportunity (besides executive seminars) to get lots of prospects and customers in the same room for face-to-face discussions. Right after face-to-face are phone discussions, then high impact mailers.
- Target people specifically: Define who you want to meet by title and function at the tradeshow. You can specifically search for them in your database of past tradeshows, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, etc. At the same time, by using predictive analytics to know who to call and when to call in your targeting.
- Know your key attendee questions: Track all of the questions that you get asked at your booth and summarize the answers to them for everyone who works at the booth or meeting rooms.
- Develop kind of elevator speech components, a variety of profound 30 sec. introductory statements to your new booth visitors. Always have their possible business problems in mind and how to solve them with your product or services.
- Use judo, not boxing: This skill is very interesting. Judo uses the momentum and weight of an opponent against them by going their same direction, then shifting them in the direction you want to go. Observe and listen, then take the conversation the way they were taking it and move it towards your intentions. Don’t just jump in and immediately start spewing your “canned speech”.
- Always stay attendee minded. From the first minute to the very last minute before the show closes. NEVER phone, eat or have a talk to other team members visible to the people walking by your booth.
- Be assertive, not aggressive:Assertive is somebody who is willing to introduce themselves to anybody who walks by, aggressive is somebody who won’t let them leave and won’t let them get a word in edgewise. So, be assertive and do not be aggressive.
- Remember that clarity trumps persuasion: Besides the cool feature, you need to be to be clear when you tell people exactly what you do. It is highly important that you are simple as well as specific. Only after you are specific should you use metaphors in your language.
- Treat exhibitions like appointments: Get on the phone 3-6 weeks before the event and invite these people to meet you at the show. Set specific appointments during every spare minute during the exhibit. Set appointments at meeting rooms and other locations when people can’t get into the exhibit area. Keep an appointment database when everyone is coming to meet you. Follow up immediately at the show if they miss the appointment.
- Qualify your attendees. Simple badge scanning of your visitors is not sufficient! It makes no sense at all to go for maximizing the pure number of (unqualified) leads. Write down all acquired information about your visitor and his needs directly after he has left your booth (and not hours, days later or not at all).
- Follow up straight away. Never wait until you are back in office. Since most exhibitors will start their follow up actions after the exhibition, you would get hidden within the crowd. Convince your team to get the business card data and additional information into your CRM system during the show day and follow up that night with an e-mail, LinkedIn and/or Google+ connection, and a phone call the next day.
This is only my personal list of most important trade show skills. Many more are available and necessary, always depending on the type of trade show or exhibition, your type of business, your objectives etc. But you can be assured that without the mentioned trade show skills you will not succeed.