The good folks at Bags of Ideas in the U.K. reached out to me asking if I’d be interested in sharing a new infographic from them. It’s great: succinct, easy to understand and to the point, like any good infographic. Take a look:
How do you know when it’s time for your company to invest in a new exhibit? While the answer will vary from company to company, there are a number of common factors that can help answer that question.
Is your current exhibit old? In the exhibit world, a tradeshow booth is old somewhere between 5-7 years. Now, that doesn’t mean you should automatically replace your booth as soon as it hits that age, or if it’s older. But an older exhibit is a sign that it might be time to consider upgrading. Of course, some companies use the same exhibit for decades. Yup, seen it happen.
What do your main competitors’ booths look like? If your company has stayed put while most of your main competitors have invested in new booth properties, it can make you look a little old and out of touch. In some industries, that’s the touch of death. In others, not so much.
Has your company’s exhibit needs changed significantly? One client I worked with found that their target market had matured to the point they were no longer needing to display so many products, but instead needed to assist those distributors with other things. That meant downsizing the booth to accommodate those needs. If you have new products or services that are not getting the notice they deserve, that may mean an upgrade is needed.
Has your company grown significantly? Some companies need a booth to match their market presence, which means a larger booth. It also means keeping up with the Joneses.
Is your current exhibit stretching your shipping budget because it’s very heavy to ship? Shipping and drayage for wooden crates and booths can eat up a significant portion of your tradeshow marketing budget. Unless heavier materials such as wood and metal define your company’s looks, it’s worth considering a lighter approach. Fabric graphics, aluminum frames and structures and the like can significantly cut your shipping costs for years to come. With fabric graphics that are easily changed for different exhibiting needs, a new lightweight booth may be just what the doctor ordered.
Beyond these items, you may have another reason to put a new company tradeshow booth into place in the near future. I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment!
This is a guest article by Todd Millet, known as Tradeshow Joe.
When was the last time you were managing a trade show booth with way more visitors than it would ever be possible to talk to at once? You probably already know how frustrating it can get. Even so, this is obviously a good situation for your business, and here is how to take full advantage.
Acknowledge every visitor.
No matter how busy you are, it is essential to say hello to everyone who stops at your booth. A simple, “Hi, I’ll be right with you,” will keep your visitors from feeling ignored and lost in the crowd. The reassurance will help give them the patience to wait for you to help them out. This concept is even practiced inside many large corporate retail stores within specific niches, such as pet stores or sporting goods stores. Even on Black Friday, employees are commonly instructed to acknowledge every shopper, even if they have to wait a moment to be helped. This is shown to increase conversions in retail, and to the same effect, it can increase conversions at the trade show!
Provide self-help resources.
People are curious by nature. If you can provide ways to appeal to their curiosities, they will spend their waiting time learning about your company. They may even have a question in mind and begin observing your booth in more detail while attempting to find the answer. Even visitors that leave before a conversation begins will learn something new about your business.
Determine interest level of time consuming visitors.
We are all too familiar with those booth visitors that just won’t leave you alone! It’s like they have an endless grab bag full of questions, many of which are pointless. Yet, we don’t want to be impolite. After all, it might result in a sale! This is exactly why it is important to interpret the intentions of these visitors. Are they actually interested in buying from you or helping your company in some way? Asking questions about their company can help accelerate this process. Sometimes, it is worth your efforts, but when it is not you should have a plan to divert them away so you can get back to focusing on the rest of the crowd. Have a business card ready to hand them and kindly wrap up the conversation, directing them to another resource for more information. In cases where the visitor might be a promising lead but they are still taking up entirely too much time, ask if they would like to meet at a later time or schedule a phone meeting after the show.
Try to get visitors into group discussions or demonstrations.
This mostly applies to new visitors that are still in the question phase and not yet ready to convert into leads. When you are overcrowded, getting group discussions going can be a very effective way to handle the situation. Everyone can learn about your company or products collectively. You will find that this approach is not much different than greeting a single visitor. The initial routine will be the same. Just get a little more wind in your lungs and speak up!
Use your booth staff wisely.
If you have more than one employee at the booth, having a specific focus for each staff member can make things much more efficient. When one person is taking an order, the other should be available to help the rest of the visitors. If some of the staff members come and go at your booth, make sure you have a direct, and instant, line of communication. If your booth gets crowded in a hurry, you can call for backup.
So, are you ready to face the crowd? Take a long breath, put on your armor, and pack a sandwich. It’s going to be a long day and the outcome is in your hands.
Todd Millett is a web marketer and content developer at Trade Show Joe (TradeShowJoe.com). He graduated from University of Louisville in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. His interests also include music production, video production, blogging, and web development.
Put the pedal to the metal! Time to gear up for fall! Summer is winding down and we get to return to normal soon!
Whatever normal is.
And whatever it is, the chaos, hustle and bustle of a big tradeshow isn’t anything near normal for most of us. Depending on the show, there could be a few thousand attendees to tens of thousands. Not only that, but you’re onsite for several days. And chances are you traveled hundreds or maybe thousands of miles to get there.
So how do you prepare for such an event? I would wager there are two main areas to address: physically and mentally. If you want to go further, you can prepare emotionally or spiritually but I’ll leave that to you.
Prepare for long days. Even if you’re out late at corporate meetings, dinners or parties, do your best to get a good night’s sleep. And those late nights come after a long day of mostly standing on your feet talking to booth visitors.
Eat well. It’s so easy to fall prey to eating junk on the road. You grab a burger here, a soda there and before you know it you are running on inferior food. Eat the good stuff: salads, veggies, high protein meat, low carb foods. You know it’s good for you and it’ll keep your spirits up.
Keep to your routine as much as possible. I typically drink decaf coffee, but for a long time when heading out on the road, I would grab the ‘real’ deal – fully caffeinated – thinking I needed the extra boost. I soon found myself jittery from the extra boost, and threw me off, especially when giving a presentation later in the trip. Now I stick to the script: “Decaf!”
Realize that it’s a marathon. But a short one. Yeah, kind of counter-intuitive. But if you understand that you’ll be doing this all day long, for three or four days and then you can really crash, it’s easier to keep the event in perspective.
Be open to good things happening. Every time I attend a show, something good happens. I think deep down I’m a skeptical optimist: I hope for good things, but prepare mentally for the worst. So when good stuff happens, like making a good connection, getting a good lead, killing it in a presentation, be grateful.
Understand that not-so-good things will also likely happen. Could be that a long-time client is going elsewhere for business, or part of your booth didn’t show up, or somebody on your booth staff gets sick and you’re undermanned. It all comes down to the old Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.
And of course, remember to wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be oh-so-glad you did.