Whether an upcoming trade show would be your first or the 100th you’ll be participating in, you cannot take things for granted. Making a killer impression may have been easy at your last exhibition, who’s to say that the next one won’t turn into a big disappointment? You got to get it right; there’s no other option. Here’s how you treat every show differently and prep up:
You play by their rules and take the back seat for once: Well, it’s your show, agreed, but the organizers may have some rules in place. Respect them. When broken, the very same rules will show you in a bad light, flushing all your efforts down the drain. It’s not about losing control, but making their rulebook a reference point won’t hurt, while you are busy getting the booth designed and sending over the invites. And yes, if the event warrants a dress code, stick to it.
If you ignore the audience, they’ll play hard to get: Your booth design should be in sync with your target audience or better still, in sync with their mindset(s). Of course, it’s very much your booth, but you are out there exhibiting for the audience. For instance, if you are targeting the millennials, something old-fashioned would hardly be enticing; they’ll be more than happy to give your booth a miss. On the other hand, if your stand figuratively shouts that it’s youth-oriented, they’ll come in hoards and bring along more people than you expect to handle. The youth, in general, is impressionable; act while you can.
Don’t be so full of yourself: Imagine coming across a booth where the staff is all making merry – someone’s eating, others are drinking, while the rest of them are too busy to talk to you and would rather engage in a telephonic conversation; would you rather not head over to another booth? Exactly! The visitors will do the same. Do you get the drift?
Be messy at your own peril: Is the “scribbled-all-over” notepad from yesterday’s event still at your front desk, or have you been naive enough to hide the giveaways in plain sight? Either way, you would succeed in making the first impression, but a really bad one. Hide the clutter. Don’t obstruct the view of the audience or knowingly give them distractions to look at, while you make every possible move to divert their attention to your products and offerings.
Don’t be caught unaware: You want the visitors to come over to your booth, right? Then act like it. Prepare your staff for face-to-face interactions and have an elevator speech handy. Use technology in a possible way and do anything and everything you can to make it clear that you were expecting them indeed.
In the end, it’s all about understanding that there are other booths at the exhibition, and unless your first impression is good enough to lure the audience, you’d be losing out on quite a few leads. Be punctual, act like you know it all but be receptive to feedback because the visitors could be vocal about their experiences, and more importantly, start the preparations well in time.