Tradeshows are highly competitive environments.
There are hundreds of industry professionals, lined up side-by-side, vying for the attention of tradeshow attenders. To make a good impression, you have to be at the top of your game.
But getting to the top of your game can be tricky. Even tradeshow veterans overlook things that can give them an advantage over their peers. Fortunately you have the following tradeshow tips to help you rise to the top of the heap at your next tradeshow event.
- Get professional help. Unless you are an extremely gifted craftsman, a homemade exhibit doesn't stand a chance at most tradeshows. Today, the norm is professionally designed and highly portable exhibits complete with electronics and other features that draw a crowd.
- Go early. Early birds don't just get worms, they get the advantages at tradeshows, too. Plan to arrive early to scope out your booth. Chances are you will encounter a few things you didn't anticipate – and if there's only one electrical socket it's nice to know you were there early enough to claim for your exhibit.
- Know your neighbors. Make an effort to know your neighbors. It's nice to make new friends, but more importantly you'll want to pay attention to what your neighbors are doing in their exhibits. If they raise the stakes, you might need to get creative to keep up.
- Work as a team. Whenever possible, staff your exhibit with at least two people. While one person is talking shop with a prospect, the other can be out front welcoming new prospects to your exhibit.
- Be fun. The easiest way to bring people to your exhibit is to create a fun, inviting atmosphere. A choice between visiting your party-like exhibit versus your neighbor's classroom-in-a-box is really no choice at all for most tradeshow attenders.
- Think swag. People love swag – the freebies everyone gives away at tradeshows. Depending on what you give away, swag can be costly. But with a little creativity and research you can come up with freebies that leave a lasting impression without breaking the bank.
- Have a Plan B. You know what Plan A is, but have you thought about Plan B? You should, because sooner or later you are going to encounter a tradeshow scenario in which Plan A gets thrown out the door and you'll be forced to improvise (e.g. no video, no electric, no handouts, etc.)