How to run a successful Trade Show booth?
Every exhibitor seeks the secret of running a successful Trade Show booth. But to uncover this holy grail, one should first define what success really means.
What is a successful trade show booth?
Success is always relative and depends on the investment you make and the expectation you put in the event.
Some key elements of most companies’ success are: positive ROI, good visibility, brand awareness and media coverage, new potential customers that couldn’t have been captured otherwise and an updated vision of the industry’s landscape.
But reaching these targets is a long haul and requires multiple elements to be managed properly.
If you want to run your trade show booth successfully, you will need to follow those rules:
Planning a trade show booth takes time. It takes a lot of time to manage the multiple pieces you need to organize, and three weeks won’t break it. Give yourself at least 3 months, but it would be optimal if you could plan 6 to 8 months ahead. (Get your week-by-week plan with our series “20 weeks to success“)
A successful trade show booth is always run by ONE person. This person is in charge of the direction, the budget, making decisions, training others, tracking results, etc. But he / she is also in charge of delegating. Being in charge doesn’t mean doing everything by yourself. Learn how to share the workload with others and involve them in the process. Success is often the result a team effort, so be a team player.
Train your team
The direct consequence of working with others is that your success depends on their ability to do their part. You certainly know the saying “a chain is as strong as the weakest link” – it is true. If you need your team to excel, you must train them – don’t expect them to read your mind or do miracles if you don’t tell them what to do, how to do it and, most importantly, why they must do it. (Find out experts advice on trade show training solutions)
Have a lead qualification process
All leads are not created equal and your time is limited. That means that you cannot afford to waste time with low quality leads and miss on opportunities with high quality ones.
Since you cannot tell a visitor’s potential just by looking at him, you must define a Lead Qualification Process – a set of questions that will help you estimate the potential of a lead before deciding the best method to use and how much time to spend with him.
Be active during the show
Your role isn’t the same as any other team member if you are in charge of running the booth. Yes, you must greet visitors and capture leads, but your role is much wider than that. You must arrive before others and make sure the booth is clean and tidy. You need to make sure everyone is here, give a pep talk, remind everyone of their individual targets. You are in charge of coffee breaks and lunch hours. You must play the booth-mom and remind your team that chewing gums and playing with their phones is not allowed. You need to stop bad behavior and reward good ones. You must keep your team aware of their progress and make sure your back office knows what is going on. You need to get your Social Networks on fire and engage with your audience. All in all, you must keep control of everything happening in your booth.
Have a follow-up strategy
You should not hire people before you know what you hire them for. Similarly, you shouldn’t go to a trade show before you plan how to follow-up.
Have a clear strategy in place before going: define how to divide the leads, who should follow what, prepare follow-up templates, arrange a timetable, etc.
It is much easier to be efficient when a clear roadmap is defined than when you need to figure out the steps as you walk.
Track your results
We said it earlier, an event’s success is defined by your ability to reach your targets. That means that you will have to do some tracking if you want to estimate your success! Track things such as leads captured, leads converted, budget spent, revenue generated, etc. Tracking does not stop at the end of the show: it goes on for a few months until each lead has been either converted or lost forever!
Now you should have all the cards to run a successful trade show booth – it is just a matter of playing the right cards! Feel free to share your thoughts and experience with us below.