Maximising Your Tradeshow Effectiveness

Maximising Your Tradeshow Effectiveness

There are usually several significant costs associated with showcasing your business at a tradeshow other than the entry fee, such as developing display material, equipment hire, travel, accommodation, employee wages, and the opportunity cost of non-billable hours. Because of this it is vital to maximise the number and quality of leads that you generate … and then follow them up.


Before you book your stand at the Tradeshow

  • Determine your purpose in participating and focus on that purpose. For example, your purpose may be to make sales, establish a distributor, identify an investor, expose and/or reinforce your brand, launch a new product or service, or conduct market research.
  • Research the types of people who will be attending the tradeshow and ensure there is a good fit with your purpose for being there.
  • Determine a budget. Keep in mind you may want to book extra accommodation before and/or after the event.


Things to do in the weeks before the Tradeshow

  • Don’t just rely on people coming through the door. Develop your own target list and invite them to your stand for a special occasion such as a product launch, celebrity visit, or simply a product demonstration. You might even look at a cocktail function at the end of the day. Tradeshows are a golden opportunity to invite your stakeholders, clients, prospects, or even suspects. In short, invite the people you want to do business with.
  • With your target audience in mind, plan your display and/or presentation. Keep in mind that you first need to grab people’s attention. Once you have gained people’s attention you can then start identifying their needs/problems and educate them about your business’ solutions.
  • Prepare a plan or a mud map of your stand, identify your display and equipment requirements, and book well in advance. Large tradeshows can sometimes exceed the capacity of local suppliers.
  • If you have never set your stand up before, do a “dry run”. There is nothing worse than to find that your carefully designed displays and props don’t fit the available space on the day!
  • Design and implement a lead qualification process … you will want to maximise your time with potential customers. It is usually a good idea to prepare a script with several lead qualifying questions included. You may need to train your staff appropriately.
  • If your purpose is to make sales, make sure you can take and fulfil orders.


Things to do within 72 hours of the Tradeshow

  • Follow up the invitees to your stand by phone.
  • Check with your display and equipment providers/suppliers that your orders will be met on time.
  • Assemble and pack all the items that you need to bring to the tradeshow. Use a checklist.


Things to do during the Tradeshow

  • Once leads have been identified it is important to capture as much information about the contact as you can. Structured contact sheets can prove to be very helpful. As an absolute minimum, make sure you get the lead’s business card and write on the back any pertinent information. Business card draws can be a useful tool for capturing contacts in high volume situations. If you offer a prize, ensure that you have any necessary permits or licences.
  • Don’t forget that some of the other showcasing businesses may be potential customers. Give yourself time to visit the other stands and connect to the people involved.
  • Tradeshows can be very tiring. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids (preferably water) and take regular breaks.


And after the Tradeshow

  • Make sure that leads are followed up appropriately and in a timely way. This will invariably mean that you must be prepared to be proactive … unless there is a good reason not to, contact your leads as soon as possible and follow through.