Ten Tips to Improve Your Trade Show Booth

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Ten easy tips.
By Linda Bishop

1. Good hosts wait at the door with a smile on their face ready to greet guests. Sell more at trade shows by doing the same thing. The aisle in front of your booth is the sidewalk leading up to your house and the right outside corner of your booth is your front door. Position yourself at the "door" and make people feel welcome.

2. Good hosts don't spend much time on the couch. They move around, making people feel welcome and starting conversations. At a trade show, don't sit behind a table and wait for prospects to come up and ask for literature. Get in the mix.

3. Good hosts are excited about throwing the party. When you're asked to work a trade show, what's in your head? Are you excited and happy, or do you view time spent in a booth as drudgery? If you spend hours in the booth wishing you were somewhere else, potential customers pick up on your unhappiness and wish the same thing. If you're glad to be at the show, prospects are glad they stopped by and talked to you.

4. People are more comfortable speaking to you when they don't feel you're trying to sell something from the moment you meet. Good hosts chitchat. An easy way to get the conversational ball rolling is by talking to guest about one subject you know you have in common-the tradeshow.
    Have you attended this show before?
    Why did you come this year?
    Are you enjoying yourself?
    Are you finding the information you're looking for?
    Do you like the location?

5. At parties, people like good food, interesting beverages and fun favors. I'm not suggesting you turn your 10 x 10 booth into a buffet area, but you could give away candy bars, healthy snacks and bottles of water. Most people who accept a freebee will feel obligated enough to spend a few minutes answering questions and listening to your story.

6. Walk the show. Hand out business cards and personally invite attendees to stop by your booth. When a "host" issues a personal invitation, it is more likely to get accepted.

7. Don't forget people like to have fun. Find ways to provide it and generate larger, more receptive audiences for marketing messages.

8. Watch for trade show VIPs. They could be speakers, well-known members of the industry, or media representatives. Know their names and something about them. If you spot VIPs, be friendly and start conversations. Invite them to your booth. If they stop by, you create buzz.

9. Identify your best prospects prior to the start of the show. If they stop by your booth, treat them like guests of honor. If they don't stop by, walk the show, seek them out and extend a personal invitation to visit.

10. Good hosts promptly return calls from guests. If a prospect expresses interest, follow-up and call within four days after the show closes.

Of all the tips, the last is the most important. Call prospects while memories are fresh, interest is high and feelings are positive. Start calls by mentioning all the fun everyone had. If you played the role of a good trade show host, they will be glad to hear from you and receptive to a conversation.

Party on!

About the Author:
Linda Bishop is author of "Selling in Tough Times" and President of Thought Transformation. Offering training in all industries, Thought Transformation focuses on the tools and marketing tactics for individuals and enterprises looking for strategic resources to increase their sales. She had a twenty-year career in the printing industry culminating in a promotion to Vice President of Marketing. Linda Bishop can be reached at +1 (770) 846-3510 or lindabishop@thoughttransformation.com.

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