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How to Make a Terrific Impression at the Trade Show

How effective is your business presence at trade shows? Ideally, you want to inform people of your products/services and to make an incredible impact. Trade shows provide opportunity to rub elbows with people in other industries, relate to customers, and to make your brand name more conspicuous.

How are you going to make a great impression? A lot of vendors make the mistake of simply putting together a display, bringing their products along, and showing up; thinking that this is enough to make the trade show a success for their business. There is a lot more to be addressed and a lot more opportunity to create for your business. There is a definite art to trade show displays. Professionals can offer advice and engineer displays for your business. Some businesses feel more comfortable making their own trade show displays and relying on intuition and experience to succeed in their trade show appearance.

The following are tips to consider when preparing and engaging in trade shows:

Tips
- Trade shows are meant to showcase products and services. Existing and old products are good, but new and to-be products are even better. Especially if you have done the same trade show before, coming back with fresh material will be appreciated by other vendors and customers. It is also good to update your approach in informing people of your products/services and revamping your displays.
- If you are a first-time trade show displayer, consider renting the smallest booth. This wont make you as noticeable as others, but it will provide a chance to study different approaches and gain experience without spending a lot of money. Think of the first time as a time for learning and taking notes, and next time you will have something to draw from.
- If your business has a Web site (why wouldnt you have a Web site?!), list the dates, location, and booth number of the trade show. When the event is over, make sure to erase the content so your site is kept up-to-date.
- Business cards are a must. A good idea is to have your most notary product on your business card. Customers and other vendors will be seeing a lot of displays and meeting a lot of people, you need to be highlighted in some way. The more associations a person can make to your business, the more likely it will be that you are distinctly remembered.
- If you are on good business terms with other vendors related to your industry, think about promoting each other. For instance, if you are in the jewelry business, you could link-up with vendors selling dresses, shoes, hair products, etc. They can refer customers and other vendors to you and likewise. This will expand your sales potential and will provide word-of-mouth marketing (which is still the best form of marketing to-date).
- There is nothing wrong with going formally dressed. Looking good and professional gives off the impression of confidence in your business and products.
- Attend a couple trade shows as an attendee before going as a vendor. This will help you understand what trade shows are about and you can study how other vendors address the customers and others in their industry. Take notes on what displays are the best and are getting the most attention, then attempt to emulate with your own display when the time comes.
- In addition to promoting on your Web site, mail promotional material to past and existing customers alerting them of your trade show appearance. You can offer coupons or other discounts with the promotional material in compensation for stopping by the booth.
- Overestimate the costs for traveling, your booth, and advertising. It is better to have a little extra than to have to short yourself on the booth or advertising your presence at the trade show.
- Before planning your display, think about all of the objectives you would like to meet with your presence at the trade show. Do you want to promote a certain product? Do you want your brand name to become more popular? Do you want to generate more leads? Organize your display and materials so they will be conducive in meeting your objectives.
- Keep the design of your display open. It will be more difficult to move around and connect with visitors if you are standing behind a table the whole time. You want to give off a free and inviting aura and be able to walk around and meet people.
- Do not sit down in a chair. Wear comfortable shoes, so it will not be uncomfortable to stand on your feet. If you must sit down for a limited amount of time, consider bringing a tall stool, so it will take less time to get up. You want to be as inviting as possible and look excited to be there; it is hard to accomplish making this impression when you are sitting down. - Keep the main attractions of your display immediately apparent. Do not leave your display cluttered so it will be difficult for visitors to discern what your display is showcasing.
- Always have at least two backup plans if you are relying on materials to be delivered to the show for your display. The worst possible scenario would be if displays were late or nonexistent and your time at the trade show and potential would go wasted. Plan for the worst and the worst will never happen.
- A great advantage would be to know about your space at the trade show before the show begins. Are you going to be in a corner? Are you going to be in the back? Is your booth going to be front and center? Are you going to be close to other booths? Knowing the dimensions beforehand can help you plan for success.


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