Rookie ExhibitorIf you are a rookie trade show exhibitor, it can be very nerve-racking, especially when it comes down to the cost. Money goes into trade show booths, marketing materials, business cards, giveaway items, and the staff you count on to run the exhibit. The thought of just making the decision to go forward with it can be daunting, especially if you have never been to a show and don t know what to expect.

No need to worry because we are here to calm your trade show anxieties. First of all, take a deep breath and read our list of what you can expect at trade shows and how to prepare for them.

1. Have a Plan

One way to calm those trade show jitters is to know what you want to get out of exhibiting at the show. What is your goal? Do you want to generate a certain amount of leads? Or are you looking to network with certain exhibitors or attendees at the event? Whatever it is, make sure it s a goal that is achievable and communicate this plan with your staff so that everyone is on the same page.

2. People Love Free Stuff

If you have ever walked down a trade show aisle, you have probably noticed that many of the exhibitors are handing out free gifts. This is actually a very smart idea because you d be handing out items that have your logo on it, which would be seen every time the recipient of this item used it. Before you spend your money on these items, think hard about what types of free gifts your target audience would enjoy and would use outside of the show.

3. Don t Expect to Make a Sale at the Event

While a limited amount of people are ready and willing to take out their checkbook at the show, most attendees are more interested in getting information about your products or services before making a buying decision. If they seem very interested in what your company offers, get their contact information so that you can touch base with them after the show. Also, give them your business card so they may contact you with any questions.

4. Your Booth is Only as Good as it s Staff

Proper booth staff etiquette can make a world of difference from a display booth that has a large amount of traffic to one that hears crickets. Some major tips for your staff are to make eye contact, greet everyone who enters the booth, and to be able to answer any questions thrown at them by the attendee. Need more booth staff tips?

5. Follow Up

This is an easy step to follow, but one that is too often missed. As I mentioned in tip #2, getting the attendees contact information is critical, but what you do with that information is even more important. Since most attendees won t make a purchase on the show floor, it is up to you to make the next move and contact them no more than two weeks after the show. This can be done through mail or phone calls. Whichever method you choose, make sure to thank them for their time and offer to answer any questions they have. This will help build your relationship with this person and make them remember you when they are ready to buy.

These are just a few ideas on what to expect at trade shows. Our staff at Smash Hit Displays has been both exhibitors and attendees and would love to give you more ideas on how to be a trade show success. Call us today for more tips.

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