A workaholic can be defined as a person who compulsively works hard and long hours. If you’ve ever prepared for, been in charge of, or walked the floors while at a trade show then it’s pretty obvious a workaholic is what you need to be when planning for a trade show.
Even though all of those long hours have been put into the preparation leading up to the trade show, you can’t forget there’s still the actual day or days of the event. Now the fun truly begins when you need to turn from the educated trade show planner who knows what drayage is to booth space worker. And so the workaholic in you continues with these simple tasks you can incorporate into your next trade show, conference or marketing event.
Who should work your booth
You’ll want to choose the right people with the right knowledge. For example, if you are recruiting for sales then make sure both HR and some sales staff are attending. If you are pushing your wholesale line of products, then you’ll want the wholesale sales staff there and not the IT guy who knows nothing about sales or your wholesale product lines.
Once your staff is chosen, you’ll want to make sure they are prepared to actually work the tradeshow booth. Buy an audio book to have the staff listen to or even just a simple YouTube video or two can go along way in refreshing the staff on how to look, act and feel the days during the show. A trade show ultimately might be about sales, but it’s also about building and retaining relationships. So make sure they put the best attitude on!
Getting people into your booth
It’s really quite simple. Be friendly, make eye contact and smile. But more specifically ask people one of the following things:
(1) “What brings you to the show today?”
(2) “We’ve got ‘X’ being raffled off today and just a business card will get you entered. Would you like to join?”
(3) Have you… fill in the blank with what question is best to ask attendees to see if they qualify as your ‘hot target’ or not.
Example: Our client, Custom Service Solutions, figured out through their past shows that asking the simple question, “Do you use compressed air at your shop?” quickly qualified attendees on whether or not their one-of-a-kind product MiJet would be useful or not. Think about what hotpoint question you can ask to get more potential attendees to stay in your booth space!
up your swag game
Your staff’s most valuable job next to getting attendees in your booth space is giving away your branded promotional items. And the easiest way to do this is to have your staff circulate through the show giving out swag. Our best advice is to make your swag an easy to carry, memorable and so useful they will want to keep it and use it. Listen, everyone gives away pens – okay they are useful but definitely not memorable. How about something like silly putty in an egg that will surely put a smile on their faces or the faces of their kids. Definitely consider the cost though. If your swag is expensive like a stainless steel water bottle or a sampling of your own product, then save it for the ones who will truly gain from your giveaway.
Do have a raffle
Collecting business cards is crucial at a trade show. After all, it’s your mailing list for follow-ups. And the best way to collect business cards is to hold a raffle. A great idea is to have raffle off an item or items that are the ‘it’ item of the month. Something that is so super-cool everyone will want to stand in line just to put their card in your raffle bowl. The busier your booth space is the more other attendees will want part of the action. Of course, don’t forget the after show raffle work too. Send out an email thanking them for participating and softly let them know they didn’t win, but invite them to join your mailing list or an upcoming webinar you’re hosting.
Impress upon show etiquette
Do NOT ever sit in your booth space! Remember no one cares if your feet hurt or how tired you are. Even if there is a chair in the booth, leave it empty. Improving your trade show image is also important and standing up, looking ready for anything is one of them. Plus, if you were not the one who planned this booth space, be respectful of the time and effort that went into it by not sitting. The point of a trade show is the face-to-action so get out there in front of as many people as possible. Your company is paying hundreds to thousands or even tens of thousands for you to be there and a trade show is ultimately a short period of time.
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