The quality of your trade show displays will make or break your trade show experiences. Exhibitors new to trade shows tend to focus on the flashy; they want to create trade show displays that will draw crowds. But that’s not the point.
It’s not the number of people your trade show displays draw that matters; it’s whether or not your trade show exhibit engages them when they’re there. Use the tips for trade show displays below to create trade show displays that will engage people and get them interested in your products and services.
1) Think neatness and visibility when putting your trade show displays together.
Use a display board to hang some of your products at customer eye-level to draw them into your display. Make sure your display is organized and tidy; customers will be turned off by messiness or by having to do too much searching to find what they want. Have all your prices clearly marked.
2) Build the impression of demand into your trade show displays.
Customers will want your products more if they think they’re in high demand. Place a strategic sold sign on one or two items. You might even leave a display spot empty, giving the impression that you’ve been too busy to restock.
3) Pull a crowd to your trade show display.
Use interactive trade show displays, such as quizzes, computer games, contest draws, scheduled demonstrations; it doesn’t need to be fancy to draw people’s interest and get them to cluster around your trade show display rather than the others. At a gardening trade show, I once saw over 50 people crowding around to watch an exhibitor demonstrate how to turn compost!
4) Have a stock of promotion items that you can use as trade show giveaways.
Small items that people can take away and use (while being reminded about your business) are best. Be sure you place these items in a location where people will have to walk into or through your trade show display to get them.
5) Use a prize draw or contest.
Having some kind of prize draw or contest as part of your trade show displays is a great way to collect contact information from booth visitors. You can give away promotion items to encourage people to participate.
6) Make it easy for booth visitors to get information.
Use signs in your trade show displays to give information about prices, minimum orders, shipping costs, or any other basic information they might need to know, to save them the trouble of having to wait to ask when you’re busy with another potential customer.
7) Make sure you have plenty of promotional literature on hand.
You’ll want to have a good supply of color fliers and brochures as well as order forms, price sheets and business cards that you can hand out to trade show display visitors so it will be easy for them to find all the information they need about your business later. You should also have a press kit prepared for the trade media.
8) Be ready to do business.
Be sure you have a good supply of order forms, pens, credit card slips, or anything else you need to conduct sales and keep track of people’s orders at your trade show display.
9) Have your trade show displays manned at all times.
Someone has to be there to greet browsers, engage them in conversation, and take their questions. If you can’t be there every minute the trade show is open, you’ll need to have at least one other person help man your booth.
10) Actively engage trade show display visitors.
Give people who approach your trade show display a friendly welcome, and welcome their questions. Be sure your body language is friendly; don’t stand there with your arms crossed over your chest, for instance. “Chat” with booth visitors, and find out what aspect of your business they’re most interested in. Be prepared to offer specific solutions to their questions. The trick is to draw them in without intimidating or overwhelming them.
11) Follow up promptly.
Send out email, regular mail, or make the phone calls to follow up on the contacts and leads you made during the trade show as soon as possible. The faster you send them out, the more your business will stand out from the rest.
Trade Show Displays Have to Do Two Things
So there are two main considerations when you’re putting trade show displays together. Your trade show displays have to be visible and interesting enough to get people over to take a closer look. But once they get there, you have to make that closer look worthwhile by engaging them with conversation and information. Do these two things well and trade shows will be an incredible sources of contacts and customers for your business.
Written by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, working with exhibitors and meeting & event planners to improve their event success through coaching, consulting, and training.