How to Prepare for your First Trade Show

How to Prepare for your First Trade Show

Exhibiting at a trade show is very different to attending a trade show. There is a long list of things that new exhibitors need to consider and plan in order to ensure that their first trade show is a success.

If you are facing your business’s first trade show and are unsure of how to go about it, read on for our step-by-step guide on what needs to be done to ensure your first trade show runs smoothly and you can look forward to reaping the rewards of a fantastic stand for your business.

Organization

A successful exhibition begins and ends with tip-top and highly tuned organization. A tried and tested way of getting everything air tight when it comes to organization is by creating a call sheet. You will want to focus all your attention and all your planning on just one call sheet that will have all the information regarding the trade show. Make hard copies for yourself and your team and save it electronically just in case you lose your printed copy.

As your call sheet is your trade show lifeline, loosing it would mean, everything potentially unravelling and then the panic would certainly set in. So your call sheet is your holy grail in the lead up to, and on the week of the exhibition itself, so make sure you guard it with your life.

Stand Design

The design and look of your stand is what will draw people in so you will need to invest a lot of time ensuring it looks fantastic and is the best possible representation for your company. Different trade shows encourage different styles of stand design so look into the style of past successful exhibitors for some inspiration, but be careful not to look too similar to any other brands. You want to stand out and draw attention through unique and eye catching designs and layouts.

Look for top trade show design companies like, Dynamic Gift marquees, who specialize in branding company trade show marquees, which are ideal for outdoor and indoor trade shows alike. You may also want to hire a trade stand designer who will be able to talk you through different ideas and options and help you through the design of your stand.

This is a great idea for first time exhibitors as you will learn so much from your first trade show that you will be able to put to use in the following trade shows over the years. For your first show, however, it is always best to ‘err on the side of caution’ and seek professional help to make sure that you leave nothing to chance and you make the desired impression.

Get Your Team Focused

It is not just you that is representing your company, it is your whole team, so you are going to need to make sure that you are properly prepping up and training your team to ensure they are representing your company in the best possible way.

Trade shows are hard work and can be exhausting and they can also be a little intimidating for the more introverted members of a company, so a couple of team meetings before the show, is always a good idea to ensure your team are feeling prepared and confident. Talk through tips on how to strike up conversations with people who are passing by your stand. Go through networking and mingling tips as these will be invaluable for effective networking at the show itself. Go through basic body language techniques with your staff, if they are not well experienced in face-to-face meetings, by starting with the basics of a strong handshake, confident eye contact and solid conversational techniques.

These may all sound really obvious, but if you have shy staff, who haven’t had much experience in client interfacing then you will definitely want to start with the basics and work your way up to the more complicated trade show techniques, such as negotiating and closing those all important deals.

Create Key Questions Check-List

Again your staff may never have been to a trade show before so you are going to need to help them out as much as possible before you get there to ensure your team is a well-oiled, confident and socially intelligent operation. So think of the sorts of questions you want your staff to be asking any visitors to your stand. Connecting with people on your stand and reeling people onto your stand is not easy so think of how you want to position your company to peak people’s interest.

Provide your team with some ice-breaking questions, really simple, non-salesy questions, such as “How are you finding the show so far?” or “Have you traveled far today?” all the way through to more business focused questions that can be asked once a visitor has been on your stand for a while and you are reeling them in. Questions, such as, “What is your biggest concern for working alongside a supplier, such as…” and have a list of benefits waiting for them for when they’ve given you their main concern. Or a question like, ‘What can we offer you that would make you switch suppliers?” is an effective technique in throwing the control over to the client so that you can learn more about what they are looking for in future partnerships.

Write Notes on Business Cards

One of the biggest learning curves out there is to find the best way to organize all the information of the visitors you get to your stand. A trade show is pointless without effective follow up so make sure you are taking down visitors details so that you know how to approach them once the trade show is over. The best way to do this is a note on the back of their business card. A simple couple of bullet points on a business card, should do the trick in jogging your memory regarding the most important points you talked about, so you know how to contact them post-exhibition.

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