So…You Want To Put On A Trade Show?

Trade Show Photo

In this day and age, we tend to get so caught up with online interactions, e-mails, texts, calls, that we forget how important face-to-face opportunities are for creating and maintaining both personal and professional relationships. When it comes to developing relationships with prospective clients, there may be no better time to shine in a face-to-face setting than a trade show or big event.

These are opportunities to make your mark, and leave the prospect with excitement and anticipation that you can do something great for them. This is the time to increase your brand awareness by making your brand more fun and memorable.

When we put on a trade show or event, we want the clients and prospects to leave thinking, “Now…THAT was a great event.”

  1. Plan accordingly.
  2. Select the right target audience for the event (ask yourself before committing: will we reap rewards/sales from this potential client?).
  3. Pick the right venue (“Location, Location, Location!” is of the utmost importance).
  4. Make a theme. (Example: We hosted a recent baseball-themed event, giving the client the chance to hit a “home run” on a local minor league baseball field).
  5. Have stories of your brand and your successes, incorporate contests, and prizes, hire an engaging speaker.
  6. Put the “show” in trade show, and it won’t be forgotten.

In addition to the importance of building your brand, we’ll leave you with a checklist of 8 Shumsky “Must Haves” to help make your event flawless. These types of items should be at every event, no questions asked!

  1. Bring yourself! Whether you’re representing your company, or a brand ambassador representing a big brand, you need to be on your “A-Game”. Get plenty of sleep and your caffeine fix, if you need it. Be personable and engaging. Be someone that YOU would want to talk to. The day will be long, but that means multiple opportunities to create personal connections.
  2. Bright displays. This is a chance to grab attention. Draw attendees to your booth or exhibit with big backer displays utilizing vibrant pictures and short videos. Things that will prompt the prospect to ask questions and get the conversation going.
  3. Business cards. Whatever you do, don’t forget your business cards! If you’ve allowed enough time, have updated cards designed and printed. Incorporate something unique into your card that will start a conversation, like the weight of the card, material, or include an icon/avatar that will prompt questions. You don’t want to be fumbling for a pen to write your contact information on, which brings us to…
  4. Pens. These are easy to give away. Everyone needs one at some point, and you can put your company’s website or your personal contact info on them. Plain and simple: pens are an easy and effective promotional product.
  5. Chargers/cords. You will no doubt be using electronics. Displays, lights, laptops, phones, projectors, speakers, etc. Make sure they are charged (bonus points for branded chargers). This can be used as a strategy to draw attendees to your booth. Rent or purchase a branded charging table for them to use, giving you a few minutes to create dialogue!
  6. Test. Test your equipment before the event. Make sure to review your presentation. Test that the audio is working. We have all been part of “technical difficulties” before, and while not a deal-breaker, they do divert attention and why not do everything you can to avoid potential hiccups?
  7. Food and beverages. As we said, these can be long days. Keep your prospects happy by keeping their palates happy and their bellies full. People like good food. Hire fancy catering, serve beverages and snacks throughout the day.
  8. Scissors/Tape/Sharpies/Rubber Bands/Paper Clips/Stapler…etc. Basically, this is a “first aid kit” for the days’ worth of presentations. Paper clips to keep business cards together, staplers for paper handouts, sharpies to highlight important notes, tape for everything. You might have to fix something at some point or make sure a table cover stays exactly where it is supposed to. These supplies tend to the motto of “be prepared”.

So…Now you’re ready for a trade show!