How To Exhibit At Trade Shows – Take Your Biz On The Road


exhbit trade_showI’m going to exhibit at a trade show this fall. Yep, On October 1st some brave women who have paid for booths will rock it up at the Sarnia Modern Womens Show at Hiawatha Park, Sarnia, ON and set up their booth to spend the day doing meet and greet.

Setting up your wares to exhibit at a trade show can be a tremendous amount of work – not to mention all the prep involved ahead of time so you haven’t wasted your time and money.

Since this is my first time exhibiting at this event, I decided to brainstorm a little and do a checklist to help help me prepare. Then I thought, why not share it?

So, here goes:

What the hell was I thinking? Also known as, what are my whys?

Well, it depends on what your biz is, but here’s some I thought of:

  • get orders and sell
  • book appointments
  • launch your new products or services
  • test some new products, services, pricing, or offers to see if there’s any traction
  • open new markets or territories
  • enhance your relationships with current customers
  • conduct some always needed market research
  • get contact names for your list
  • get media coverage – hopefully good
  • check out what the competition is doing
  • bump up your company image or brand
  • have a sales meetings pre-show – after all, everyone’s in the same place for once
  • educate the visitors that stop by
  • check around for new potential employees
  • get some good ‘show’ deals of things you need anyway, like printing, outsourcing specials, or find people that are a good fit to work or collaborate with
  • a great chance to finally meet some of the people you have only met or worked with virtually before
  • renew your existing network of contacts
  • learn something useful at seminars/workshops to take home
  • meet people who can introduce you to people you want to work with
  • check out others marketing and tech

I could probably keep adding to this list, but you get the idea.

What’s your goal? What do you want to accomplish there?

Knowing and remembering this will make not only your prep, but the entire experience easier. You can’t accomplish everything – so get specific. For instance, what type of customer fits your market? Do you have some low cost packages or products that can be bought at the booth?

Personally, my main goal is to test the market to see if the services and packages I have available are what the market needs. The preparation for this is to have a sales funnel in place and offer packages and services at a special ‘limited’ show price. Exhibitors may get an even deeper discount than visitors.
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”5″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Make sure you stand out from the crowd by knowing what success will look like for you at the end of the day[/dropshadowbox]

The old adage – ‘plan your work and work your plan’ definitely applies here

Get your booth mocked up well in advance so you have everything you need

Make sure everyone knows you’re attending

Put the event on your email signature

Add it to your FB page

Tweet it – yes, more is better

Send out a broadcast mail to your peeps

Put it on any other social media you frequent

Do research to find out who is going. Does the event have a FB group for exhibitors? Sarnia Modern Womens Show does – for exhibitors. Go there – make some contacts. They also have a website, so if you’re not an exhibitor but thinking of attending, check it out.

Okay, I haven’t posted in the FB group yet, but I’m on my way – as soon as I get this post published. Yep, I’m putting a link there to this post – someone else might need a checklist too.

Make your booth rock!

People need a reason to visit your exhibit. Some of the things I’m considering offering:

a free e book

a chance to win a free webite audit with a checklist for problems/improvements

‘show’ prices on services/packages – limited time

special exhibitor pricing on services/packages – limited time

Have clear guidelines for everyone at your booth – consistency is key if there’s going to be more than one person looking after visitors

Ask icebreaker questions to find out what people are looking for, or hat they are having a problem with. You may have the answer.

Try to find time for networking with other exhibitors

Follow up , follow up. Oh, did I say follow up? Probably the most important task for after the show. It could be the start of a valuable relationship.

I’d love to hear your comments or suggestions.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”5″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]IF A TRADE SHOW IS WORTH DOING, IT’S WORTH DOING WELL. [/dropshadowbox]


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About the Author

Bo Johnson

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