Although trade shows are held throughout the year for every industry, both the end and the beginning of the year represent the rush season. You may soon be among those dutifully manning a trade show booth, introducing your latest and greatest products. At that point, you may probably think you’ve already done everything possible to make sure that distribution and retail decision-makers stop by for a profitable visit. However, there are a few additional steps which can help you make the most of the face time you spend with these key individuals:
* Work the pre-registered list. Of course, you’ve already reviewed the pre-registered attendee list and highlighted the people you want to meet. For those you haven’t been able to set an appointment with, pay close attention to the name badges of booth visitors. When you spot someone on the list, introduce yourself and make that person aware you’re familiar with him/her or his/her company.
* Even if your target already works with another manufacturer or vendor, acknowledge the fact, but talk about your product’s features. For example, “I know you’ve had a lot of success with your current product, but have you seen the new features we’ve added to ours (or the new generation product that represents a quantum leap over every other product in the same category)?” Everyone always wants to maintain a competitive edge, so your offer to show this initially casual visitor a product that represents a significant improvement in the marketplace can only get a positive response.
* Keeping in the same mode, always focus on the booth visitor. Engaging the visitor in conversation to learn his/her needs is the best way to recommend how your company can meet them. You and everyone who works your booth should know the product lines inside-out, but just delivering a spiel is counterproductive because it implies that you’re more interested in moving product than providing individualized solutions. Position yourself as wanting to be more of a partner than a vendor.
* Finally, make sure that attendees feel welcome to visit your booth. This may seem like a “duh” statement, but body language is important in creating first impressions. Standing at the booth’s border with folded arms creates an intimidating appearance; chatting with other booth staffers sends the clear message that you don’t want to be bothered with any of those annoying potential customers.
Just keep in mind that whatever size the trade show, there are plenty of exhibitors who recognize opportunity when they see it – and when it sees them. You’re in the right place at the right time – so do it up right.