10 Ways to Attract Prospects at Trade Shows

10 Ways to Attract Prospects at Trade Shows

New startup businesses and old pro enterprises alike realize the promotional value of trade show exhibits. They are ideal connection points for buyers and sellers. They are the perfect environment in which to release a new product/service and to potentially make “a big splash.”

But the challenge of trade shows is attracting numerous (and the right kind of) prospects to your booth within a constricted period of time. How do you beat out the competition and draw the circulating crowd your way instead of watching helplessly as they all stream off to another company’s booth?

Here are ten ways to attract more prospects at your upcoming trade show exhibit and get the biggest possible boost out of your booth:

1. Choose a Prime Location

Paying a bit more for a primetime spot in the middle of the action, instead of off at the slower-moving edges, can really pay off. You may need to secure it months in advance, however, as other entrepreneurs are thinking just like you are.

2. Maximize Your Exposure Time

Arrive early and stay late. The longer you are up and open, the better. You should literally use up every last minute of exhibition time to expose your wares to the most possible prospects. In sum, “be there.”

3. Make Yourself Noticeable

Don’t make yourself hard to find or notice. Put up a backdrop in striking colors/patterns that won’t blend into the background of the exhibition hall. Add plenty of lighting, balloons, an HD presentation screen, anything that attracts attention. In sum, “be noticeable.”

4. Have Plenty of Staff On-hand

It’s best not to send just one or two people alone but to plan on having plenty of help. You can have just a few highly knowledgeable staff members for in-depth conversations with prospects, but you also need attendants to answer simpler questions and to direct prospects to the key staff as needed.

5. Distribute Promotional Products

Everyone likes “freebies,” and you should even if you’re the giver since (marked with your company name and logo) they act as virtual advertising agents. You may want to give out custom-branded water/drink bottles, small plastic-wrapped snacks, cups or mugs, pens, keychain attachments, or reusable plastic bags.

You’ll need to learn a bit about the most common types of plastic to know which one to have your order elements done in; but custom-made plastic giveaways, of all varieties, are great way to go.

6. Offer Exclusive Discounts

Some prospects come to trade shows (and to your booth) just to peruse, others to learn about new products/services, and still others to make a purchase. You want to give plenty of incentive to those who come prepared to buy, and you want to convert the perusers into buyers, if possible, as well.

Offering special deals and discounts is a great draw. Announce them on a poster, flyer, pamphlet, HD screen, verbally, or any combination of the above!

7. Hold Drawings and Contests

Many will stop by your booth if they see a clearly announced raffle drawing or other contest is going on. A drawing for a prize, say a branded flash drive, or even prizes for first, second, and third draw, can, well… “be a daw.”

Also consider a trivia style contest or even a physical skills type contest that is related to your product on exhibit.

And be sure to require an email address, business card, or other contact information in return for participation so you can build up your contacts list. You might even want to have contestants fill out a short survey to give you valuable feedback.

8. Include Humor or Entertainment

In some cases, successful trade show booths have featured singers, magicians, jokers, or other entertainers. People like to laugh and be entertained, so if you can incorporate that into your overall approach and relate it to your product or service in more than a merely superficial way, it’s a great draw.

9. Use the Cloud to Enhance Your Booth

If your company is cloud-connected, you can bring all your “core operability” to your trade show booth. Then you can show it off in detail to interested prospects. That’s a big advantage that you shouldn’t neglect to use to the full.

10. Integrate Your Display With Social Media

Whether or not you plan on it, your booth will likely end up on social media. Why not plan for it and optimize its impact?

Have an online “booth” running simultaneously to your physical booth. Let the social media booth point to everything you’re doing at the trade show, and after it’s all over, the online booth can keep on working.

But even during the trade show, put up a Facebook, Twitter, or other look-up address on a sign at your physical booth. Then, people wandering around the auditorium with smartphone in hand (of course, as always), can be advertised to and encouraged to move over your way.

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