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Sunday Morning Coffee - August 8, 2010

Bump on a Log - Trade Shows

This week I was visiting with a company about their future marketing plans when the issue of trade shows came up.  I asked if they had considered trade shows as a way to market FEMA Showcase their product to consumers who would benefit from its use.  "No.", was the reply, "We've never had any luck at doing trade shows."

I didn't find that odd...because I've seen them "work" trade shows.

They, like so many other companies, "work" the show in this manner:

  • Set up the booth - Making sure there is a table between them and the consumer;
  • Drag out the chairs;
  • Sit there, munch lunch and wait for consumers to be overwhelmed by their booth.

Trouble is...they are not alone.  I've been to hundreds of trade shows and the majority of exhibitors make the same mistakes and come away from the event saying, "That was a lousy show, we're not going back to that one."

What should you do?  Here is your check list:

  • Plan for the show - Trade Shows are MAJOR investments in time and money.
  • Train for the show - How to set up the event, what should be said, how should people interact with consumers; who should go...
  • Pre-Sell the show - Most exhibitors don't and that's a mistake.  Why not create the insurance that people will come and be interested in your product or service;
  • WHO should work the show? - This may surprise you...but I've found "salespeople" are the WORST to send to shows.  Public relations skills...not sales skills are... needed;
  • Follow up - Business fails to follow up on 79% of the leads generated.  You must assign this to someone and make sure it's done.

Do THOSE things and your investment will pay off.  But...then it's work...

If you are REALLY interested in improving your trade show skills here are TWO video interviews I did with "Trade Show Master" Tobias Eichberg from Germany.  Spend ten minutes with Tobias and make your next trade show a success... 

Let's connect on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV and because this is a conversation as well as a "teachable moment" feel free to comment or send me an e-mail.  I'm interested in your take.