Ever wonder why some trade show exhibitors succeed while others do not? Ever think that making a statement at a large trade show is impossible to do? You are not alone.
But’s there’s help!
Take the example of the 16th-annual RSA® Conference, the world’s leading information security conference and exposition that was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco in February 2007. More than 17,000 attendees sought networking and education programs, and there were more than 340 exhibitors, 19 educational tracks, and 220 business and technical sessions on a wide range of topics. The keynote addresses were from Bill Gates, John Thompson, General Colin Powell, and Ray Kurzweil.
The Conference also included 40+ Peer2Peer sessions, Town Hall Events with FTC Chairman Debra Platt Majoras, and two major exposition attractions: the Interactive Testing Challenge and Innovation Station. “The overarching goal of RSA Conference is to arm information security professionals with the tools they need to excel in today’s industry,” said Sandra Toms LaPedis, General Manager and area Vice President of RSA Conferences, based in San Mateo, California.
This example may seem like an overwhelming challenge to the trade show exhibitor, but, according to LaPedis, there are trade show basics that can help trade show exhibitors succeed.
Have a Strategy
You should meet with your peers to develop your trade show strategy. Is it to increase your database of new prospects? Is it to close business immediately? Do you want to introduce a new product or highlight the capabilities of an existing product? Having a firm understanding of your mission at the trade show will help develop your pre-show promotion, onsite activities, and post-show follow up.
Clarity in Booth Signage
Never assume people understand what you do and how it can help them. It is important to be clear and concise in your message. Tell your trade show attendees what you do by using trade show booth design signage that clearly states what you offer. In security, it can be authentication, firewall, networking products, etc.
Do not crowd your signage with a lot of text or assume people know brand names for products. Keep it clear and focused on attendee or prospect needs. For instance, instead of stating that your product has won several awards, point out the cost/time savings benefits of using your product.
Train your trade show booth staff to be friendly and engaging, but make sure they are also informed and passionate about your product or service. An enthusiastic staff acts as a magnet to attract visitors.
Have your trade show display staff scan visitors’ business cards to get that information into your database.
Follow Up on Leads
Qualify leads by understanding where your attendees are in their purchasing cycle. Ask the right questions. And follow up with leads after the trade show.
Have an Inviting Trade Show Booth Design
Make your trade show booth comfortable and open to avoid claustrophobia. Keep the flow of traffic moving fluidly.
At the RSA Conference, awards were given out to trade show exhibitors who followed these basics. One exhibitor’s booth included a car with a broken window, highlighting the importance of security. Another award was given to an exhibitor with fun, outgoing, enthusiastic trade show booth staff that had extremely friendly, welcoming attitudes. Awards were also given to trade show booths that had clear messages and a well-trained staff that followed through.