Participating in a trade show is a great way to connect with potential clients as well as increase visibility of the company among a specific sector of the population. In order to make the most of this type of opportunity, a trade show exhibitor must make certain preparations before the show, make sure everything goes smoothly during the event, and have a process in hand for following up on any contacts made once the event is over. Doing so helps to make participation worthwhile, both in terms of increasing public recognition of the company and its products as well as gaining new customers.
Preparation before an event is very important. Here, the trade show exhibitor must seek to obtain the most desirable location possible in the exhibition area. For many events, specific spaces are allocated in the area at the time the exhibitor contracts to participate in a show or other event. By obtaining a layout of the area, it is possible to identify which spaces are found near entrances into the area as well as those locations which will tend to attract the most foot traffic. By securing a space that will see a lot of traffic before the other exhibitors, the chances of gaining attention are significantly increased.
A trade show exhibitor must also make sure that all materials for the display booth are packed and delivered to the exhibition site within a reasonable time before the show begins. Typically, personnel who will manage the booth during the event should arrive at the location one day prior to the show’s opening. This provides plenty of time to set up the display, check the power connections and any equipment that will be in use, and in general make sure everything is in order. This advance setup also makes it possible to begin networking with other exhibitors, possibly picking up some tips and a few leads before the show gets underway.
During the event, the trade show exhibitor must make sure the booth is manned whenever people are allowed into the exhibition area. Ideally, the booth should be arranged in a manner that invites people to come into the space, sit for a moment, chat with the exhibitor, or possibly view a video presentation. Printed material that visitors can take along when they leave is also important, as is the ability to allow visitors to leave contact information that can be followed up on after the show.
Once the event is over, the trade show exhibitor will see to the dismantling of the booth and arrange for the display to be shipped back to the company headquarters. After returning to the office, making telephone calls, sending emails, and preparing mail to send out to those who expressed an interest in the goods and services offered by the business should be a top priority. Ideally, those contacts should all be made in three business days or less after the trade show closes, while that attendance is still fresh in the minds of those attendees. Doing so increases the chances of continuing to build on the rapport established during the show and ultimately leading to securing new customers.