Get the Most Out of Tradeshows

By: shannon3113
Trade shows. They can be boring or exciting. And yes, your feet can kill you after standing all day waiting for a potential customer to turn in your direction.

The success of trade shows depends on exhibitors making the most of them. Many exhibitors don't comprehend the enormous potential for publicity at trade shows, conferences, association meetings, and expositions. They spend a fortune to be at the shows, but they don't capitalize on the publicity opportunities, which can impact their sales for the year.

Exhibiting at trade shows brings new leads, the chance to meet up with clients and catch up with old contacts. However, in addition to sales and seminars, trade shows present many excellent publicity opportunities.

Follow the tips below to ensure a successful and beneficial trade show experience:

1) Make sure the show is right for you. Not all trade shows and events have your customer coming through the door. Make sure you know exactly who is attending and that they are your target market.

2) Make a deal before you commit. Event organizers can - and do give booth discounts. Well organized events, at minimum, provide a list of attendees after the event so exhibitors can follow up. More organized events provide participant contact information before the event, as well as after. Other value-added benefits to inquire about include: being included in participant email distributions promoting the event, as well as an advertisement in the event show guide.

3) Write pre-show press releases which include a booth number. Get a list of the media attending from the organizer before the show and send a press release to them. Make follow up calls to the media and set up appointments at the booth for reporters to see what you're offering. Smart companies work weeks, and sometimes months ahead, establishing strong relationships that can pay off big, long before the show is under way.

4) Research the competition. By finding out about other booths and what they have to offer, you can better implement ways for you and your display to stand out. Use research results to brainstorm ways to make your booth and its products or services unique and appealing. In addition, some of your most qualified event leads come from networking with other exhibitors.

5) Make attendees work for their freebie. Giveaways are common at trade shows. But you can make your giveaway work for you by asking people to fill out a short survey to get it. Make the survey industry related and then announce the results at a press conference at your booth at the end of the tradeshow.

6) Speaking of giveaways, make yours meaningful to your business. Don't give something away for free just for the heck of it. Who cares if you collect 10,000 names because you ran a really cool promotion giving away a free iPod. If you're a personal chef, what does an iPod have to do with your business? Nothing! Therefore, you've just collected 10,000 NON-qualified leads. Instead, as a personal chef you could try, "Fill out this survey to get your free copy of the special report "More Time and More Money: Using a Personal Chef to Get out of the Kitchen and Save Money on Your Food Budget"

7)Have business cards handy. Give out business cards to anyone interested in your work. This way, they will have your contact information at hand if they decide to pursue your services, or they can check out your webpage if they are still considering.

8) Follow up potential leads in five days. Put your follow-up plan in place BEFORE your event. If you do not have a follow-up plan, then you're wasting your time. Most of your sales will come after your event. At minimum, your plan could consist of a "Nice to Meet You Note with a Special Trade Show follow-up offer," and adding your new prospect to your ezine.
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