It can be the most exhausting time in your life. The endless planning and excessive amounts of money that we spend on Trade Shows. The budgeting, the hiring and sometimes the worst part can be the carrying. All of these things pop into mind when preparing for a trade show booths for your healthcare company. We want to give you 3 pieces of advice to get that attention you are after. I mean you are exhibiting at a trade show to build brand awareness, generate leads and develop relationships, right? Well, none of that will happen if you do not plan and prepare. Let’s Go and get trade show ideas.
How to Stand Out at Trade Shows
There are so many ways to stand out from the huge trade show crowd. Something as simple as colorful or humorous shirts for your staff. Or if you really want to be the big hit, do something huge and obnoxious. A game – for example, a roulette wheel. Yes, we are all businessmen and women, but still, have the kid in a candy store mentality. We will walk over if there is something going on at a booth that looks fun. What you are trying to accomplish is a gathering space to reel in potential business. Not into wholesale trade shows Then how about some props? Trust me, you want to have people wondering what your company jobs at the business to business trade shows is all about.
Pass out free stuff. And not just paper marketing materials. Most of that stuff ends up in the trash. I know, it hurts to hear, but it does go in the garbage. Pens, flash drives, candies, key chains, reusable grocery bags, sunglasses, umbrellas, chapstick… Anything you can put your company name and website on is a potential for future business. People love free stuff too so you get a brownie point there.
Train Your Employees
This is probably the most valuable tool. I cannot stress the importance of your staff having knowledge of trade shows, not to mention what they are promoting. Some attendees walk through the floor staring straight ahead only using their peripheral vision to size up the booths. You don’t want to be aggressive, because just like it is in a store; a huge turn-off. Although you don’t want to ignore them either because they can and will just leave. Teach your staff to gently approach attendees, “How are you enjoying the show?”. Most of the time this will stop an attendee and they will engage. With the right staff, you are off to an incredible trade show networking.
Rather than spend numerous days, weeks and dollars flying around the country to meet with customers, you can do it all at a trade show. You can get more done in a couple of days than you could in months. It takes a lot of preparation and again, it is exhausting, but it is time budgeting at its finest. Good luck at your trade shows and expos in USA.
What To Do When The Tradeshow Ends. (Hint, Your Work Has Just Begun)
For many of us, Trade Shows can be the lifeblood for client interactions. Trade Shows represent a hub, a common place for gathering all your industry contacts (and then some). So for many of us, we spend a lot of time preparing for the Trade Show, gathering ideas for dinners or meetups, scheduling meetings and producing marketing materials. And quite often, that seems like the greater portion of the work we do for Trade Shows. Of course, we attend the Trade Show, but if our preparation was solid, then much of the work at the Trade Show is done for us.
But what about after it is over? What about when the hotel empties out and you are standing in line at SWA tired and groggy? That my friends is when the hard work begins, however, it is incredibly overlooked during the entire process. So how can we get even more out of Trade Shows? Don’t stop focusing when it ends (because it never actually ends).
Here are a few tips.
Don’t Blow Your Load
You know what I mean by that, I hope! Basically, when you plan the Trade Show, make sure you include the “after show” work into the schematics. Not just so you can be better prepared, but also so that your mind doesn’t deflate when the show ends. Your mind will see the entire scheme of things and when you are standing in that long, Trade Show SWA line, you won’t feel that “it’s over” feeling come over you. Because it isn’t over, you need to do a lot more work or else all that planning and those dinners and that terrible SWA line will all be for nothing. Include the follow-ups from the onset and you’ll feel a lot more stable regarding it.
Always Follow Up
This one sounds simple, but really it isn’t. Most people never follow up. Sometimes they realize that the business isn’t a great fit, but other times they just forget or become distracted. Even if the business isn’t a great fit, you never know when you may need them. Taking time to establish a relationship really can’t hurt you.
Set Time Aside For Follow Ups
Following up with people is a project, so treat it as such. Send out Thanks You’s to those who bought you dinner or paid for yours. If you spoke to someone at length at the pool, send them a message telling them you enjoyed the conversation. You can even follow up with those who you potentially missed talking to.
The main key here is to make sure you consider the post Trade Show activities just as important, if not more important, than the pre Trade Show activities. The after is when you can win a new client, make a sale or gain a strategic alignment. Without doing the after work, you likely gain nothing.
These Are The People That Make Trade Shows Suck!
Trade Shows can sure be a beast. They suck the life out of you, let’s be honest. Booking hotels, paying for dinners, buying some stupid candle holder with a picture of the Vegas skyline on it, all cost much money. And no one likes spending money. Unless that money is spent on building your own private llama farm. Then that’s money well-spent and it felt darn good.
Otherwise, trade shows can sure be for the birds. But what makes every trade show worse? Some of these people and things:
Business Card Guy
This is the guy that gives you a business card every time you see them during the trade show. And if it is a different trade show, they likely give you a new business card because they probably changed jobs. I know, I said “guys,” but I never seem to experience this with girls. Girls seem to have more common sense to not overload me with business cards.
Tip: Get one really amazing business card made. Hand it out to each person you meet once.
Trade shows can be amazing fun. There are often lots of free open bars. And open bars are fun because they have free booze and who the heck doesn’t enjoy some free booze? The problem enters into the equation when the free booze turn you into Nick Cage in Leaving Las Vegas.
Look, I get it. You’ve spent months holed up in a winter ice lodge you call Cleveland, buried in kiddy cheese pizza parties so this is your time to get out and live a little. That’s fine. But maybe eat something before you fuel your body with 8 martini’s worth of shots. Slow and steady wins the game. You don’t want to be ass-up in a Venetian hallway at 4pm. People tend to take pictures of that stuff and put it on Instagram and make fun of you. Or they rob you.
You tell me I’m good looking. I love it. You tell me I’m one of the smartest people you’ve ever met. I love it. Actually, I know you are bullshitting me and just trying to friend me up so that I do business with you.
Look, we all get it. Friending up is part of the game, but at least try to seem sincere. I can’t be the coolest person you know in every way possible. I am not even the coolest person I know. And I’m me. So consider that. Experienced trade show peeps can sniff out someone who isn’t being legit. It is possible to be friends with someone and also do business with them.
The Facebook Business Name Person: When you add me on Facebook from the trade show and your Facebook profile name is strange or unprofessional, expect a solid decline. Or at the very least, a firm ignore. I know you have to have a real Facebook with REAL FRIENDS somewhere and that this one is the one you plan to use to spam constantly.
Tradeshows really shouldn’t be this complicated, folks.
Thanks for your attention,
This Weekend, I Was Reminded Why Trade Shows Can Be Super Awesome…
Why Trade Shows Can Be Super Awesome
Over the weekend, I attended my first trade show in at least five years. I’ll be honest, I’ve felt like trade shows have lost their significance over the years due to our living in an ever more connected virtual world. Allow me to explain in more detail.
Tradeshows cost money. You need cold hard cash (or your business Amex, of course) to book rooms, buy plane tickets, purchase meals, and of course, treat some important clients to happy hour drinks and dinners, and of course, your badge. Spending adds up. A trade show can cost you upwards of $7,000 without even exhibiting. That’s a lot of money that could have been used for marketing budgets, development concepts or even employee incentives.
Furthering unraveling the idea of trade shows is that our world is so virtually connected. We can use Skype and Facetime and share screens and exchange documents and files without blinking an eye.
So wouldn’t it make the most sense to just skip the trade show?
Not so fast….this weekend I remembered exactly why trade shows can behold so much value. Real, in person, eye-to-eye contact can’t be replaced, even over Facetime. The ability to sit and talk to someone in person is the strongest way to make connections. And connections lead to new ideas and new deals. When you improve a relationship, you open the door to business potential. You build trust. You solidify deals.
What’s $6,000 if you make $20,000 on a business deal every few months? That just paid for itself. The other aspect that goes largely ignored is that having a few drinks loosens people up and sometimes those lowered inhibitions create a better bond and spawn new ideas. Have too many of those drinks and lower the inhibitions too much and you could lose a deal, of course. And no, you don’t have to drink to have a successful trade show.
And what about that cost?
You can save money at trade shows if you are on a budget. For starters, you don’t have to go every day, you could just select a few important days. This could shorten your hotel stay and offer you better flight options that might prove more affordable. Make sure you have goals and aren’t wandering aimlessly, this can help organize your spending. Always sign up for points programs, this can help you save a lot of money in the future. Almost all hotels have some sort of rewards program, similarly, so do airlines.
Over the weekend, I remembered how valuable trade shows could actually be. Sometimes we just need a little reminder.
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