In business, as in life, never underestimate the importance of being prepared. As the saying goes, you must first plan your work and then work your plan. This is particularly true in trade show exhibiting, where the success of a trade show display is largely dependent on proper planning. Without putting the right plan in place, you will encounter a number of potential trade show mistakes. These oversights can cause havoc on your trade show team’s morale, as well as your company’s bottom line. In order to avoid these errors, you must first know what they are!
The five major trade show mistakes to avoid are:
1. Picking the Wrong Show in Which to Exhibit
When you’re distracted by an overly hectic work schedule and being short-staffed and overworked, hastily made trade-show decisions to exhibit at an upcoming event can backfire. Because you were unable to put the proper amount of time into analyzing who will attend and exhibit at the trade show, you can wind up targeting the wrong audience. Without doing the proper research to learn about the qualifications of the trade show attendees and how they match up with your marketing goals, you are subject to missing your target and having an unrewarding trade show experience.
2. Selecting the Wrong Location for Your Trade Show Display
If you wait until the last minute to decide to exhibit at a trade show, you may have to put up with a less than ideal location—behind a pole, at the end of a dead-end aisle, near loading docks, close to freight doors or ceiling water pipes, or in a very dark corner. You may be relegated to a site far from the industry leaders, main attractions, guest services, entrances, exits, escalators, elevators, stairs, windows, and seminar sites.
3. Having a “Vanilla” Trade Show Booth with No Intrigue or Style
Just imagine a line forming at the custom-designed trade show exhibit next to yours, where there are compelling, dramatic displays with lots of attractions, audio, and interactive activity on a website, sensational giveaways and prizes, fresh-brewed coffee and hot buns, dancing acrobats, and an oversized TV screen with a luxurious lounge for foot-weary trade show attendees. Then imagine your trade show booth, with nothing but a drape. Guess who gets the traffic?
4. Having Your Trade Show Booth Staff Poorly Matched with Your Qualified Prospects
If you are attending a trade show that attracts primarily engineers, your trade show exhibit staff should be comprised of engineers who will be able to communicate with your audience in an informative, intelligent way. It’s that simple.
5. Allowing Your Trade Show Booth Staff to Waste Time by Talking to Unqualified Prospects
The key is to identify and classify hot prospects and the products and services they are interested in buying. There are new, sophisticated software packages that allow you to identify a half-dozen, weighted multiple choice questions in advance that will determine how viable a client prospect is. If you do not identify the hot leads and filter out those who are not qualified, your trade show exhibit staff will be spinning their wheels. They will spend unproductive time talking to prospects that do not have the budgets, who will be unable to meet specific time frames, and who do not have the ability or authority to purchase your product.