Trade Shows – Owning the Floor

Rolling out the carpet, pulling up the retractable display, and filling a large punch bowl with hard candy just does not cut it at a modern trade show. You need to drive traffic to the booth, capture leads, and make the very best impression in an incredibly compressed time. Our last blog introduced the concept of pre-show planning. Now, let’s discuss the show itself.

Let’s first start with the old real estate mantra, location, Location, LOCATION! Many shows let you bid on or pick your booth location. Pay attention to entrances, lounges, bars, and the main stage. You may also want to see who else has chosen their space. Are they a big draw exhibitor or your largest competitor? Can you get a corner booth that will provide two directions of travel versus being stuck in the middle of an aisle? Or, better yet, can your budget support an island booth?

Once your location is set, the single most valuable resource you have is who will be representing your company in the booth. At the show, for all practical purposes, this is your office. First impressions should not be that of a booth worker, sitting down, talking on the cell phone, eating a hoagie while they drip sauce on their laptop. Admit it, you have seen this at every single show you have ever attended.

Booth personnel should first and foremost, want to be there. Believe it or not, salespeople might see the show as a waste of their time. They have clients to meet with and calls to make. Standing in a booth often seems like a waste of their time. Who would be great in the booth? Consider your customer service team. They rarely get to travel but might have decades-long relationships with customers. Customers they have never met face to face.

Booth traffic builders, product demonstrations, press conferences, entertainment on and off the show floor are all considerations when building your plan. Check out the full section on During the Show planning in our eBook. Trade Shows for Manufacturers Guide. In our next post, we’ll wrap it all up with Post-Show promotion.

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