In the decade we have spent assisting exhibition goers with accommodation and logistics, we have learned valuable lessons about how to prepare for a trade fair. Good preparation pulls you through any event in any location and earns you returns on your initial investment to go in the first place. We want to share our experience in a concise six-step guide that will simplify just any trade show preparation.
1. Map Out Your Entire Journey in Advance
It’s crucial to start planning up to a year in advance, if possible. Half a year is also doable, but has more excitement to it as you have a lot of moving parts to consider. The show dates are only your jump-off point. You have to pad those dates with additional time for travel. Are there direct flight options? How long are flights? What other transportation do you need? Are you going to stay the entire run of the event? This last question is very relevant for events that go on for four days up to a week.
2. Think Positive – Stress Only Drains Your Energy
Veteran exhibition goers know that even the smallest expo can be exhausting under the best of circumstances. You don’t need to worry about how things are going to turn out before you go. The focus should be on the positive outcome. What we mean is that you should have a specific goal in mind, when you do make your trip, and single-mindedly work towards achieving it.
3. Lead Tracking Is Your Best Friend
You go to exhibitions, because you want to sell. Whether it’s to existing clients, new clients, new regions or sectors, you determine later once the adrenaline rush is over. To know how you have performed and which consumer segment you’ve gotten traction with, you need to invest in tracking your leads in real time. Whether that’s software you can use at your exhibition booth or a person whose sole job is to take this information, you can’t go without it.
4. Focus on Your Strengths
Tempted as you may be to address any weak points you might have as a brand or as a team for the event, we discourage you from doing so. A trade fair is where you have to lead with your best foot forward. If you know a certain product is most likely to grab the attention, focus on making it the centerpiece of your exhibition booth. Send in the people who have robust social skills to represent on site. It’s all about understanding what is working for you right now and utilize it to the fullest.
5. Do Not Stop Talking (Even When You Think It Won’t Get You Anywhere)
Any business trip, even the ones planned and optimized to an inch of their life, costs thousands and you can’t afford not to use any opportunity to talk about your company. Brand recognition is an organic process more or less. There has to be buzz around your products or services, but you’re the first person responsible for generating the initial momentum. Speak with as many people as you can, because you never know when a seemingly random contact won’t result in a lead. But that does not mean you have to pitch what you’re selling in every conversation. You are a person first and a friendly, genuine person is a much more effective brand ambassador.
6. Follow up on Every Single Contact Made During the Event
Networking is key to your success at any trade show. Before you feel too good about how much you’ve talked about the course of three or four days, all that effort means nothing unless you take all that contact information and use it. Follow up! On every single contact. If you’ve invested in lead tracking like we’ve told you, then you’d have an easier time doing so. We suggest you make a flexible template email you can alter when need be and do this as soon as you’re back at work. The first week is crucial to get this all done while the memory of the trade fair is still fresh.
And this is how you can win at every trade fair in six easy steps!