After a recent visit to a trade show, I felt I had to point out a few of quick thoughts that we all need to keep in mind. I am going to make this short and sweet and not going to give you too much, because that is the problem—TOO MUCH!
#1 – Too Much Fanfare Please, tone it down a bit. I understand that some businesses and products need a little more trumpet-blasting than others do. However, for most, it is just over-the-top. Usually, it is a professional fair, show or exposition—not circus. I also understand that you often need something to help draw attention, but if you would never do it at your place of business, perhaps you should not do it at a trade show.
Also, at least make sure the attention getter relates to what you do. Come on; if you sell accounting software, I don’t see how the clown doing balloon tricks makes any sense.
#2 – Too Much Stuff You obviously need a lot of marketing material at your booth, but don’t go crazy with this. When you give people too many options of things they can pick, they usually choose to pick up nothing. Narrow the parameters.
Part of the problem is that many sales and marketing people realize that a select few pieces of their normal material is insufficient for a trade show. Therefore, they put out EVERYTHING. Why not create a piece or two specifically designed for the event?
#3- Too Much Talk Why is it that so many sales people seem to take their normal sales process and throw it out of the window at a show? Even at the show, you still have to ask questions, uncover problems and expose need. However, for some reason, when standing at that booth, some sales people become automated-TV-commercials with no pause or off switch.
Prepare a list of questions to ask people that stop by. Have at least one powerful “hook” question that will make attendees stop and think and simultaneously, help you begin to qualify the prospect.
Trade shows are simply another prospecting avenue and deserve the same diligent and professional sales processes that you use with other prospecting methods.