Welcome to planning for a tradeshow. Are you embarrassed by your booth while streams of conference-goers walk on without even glancing your way? If your company shows up at tradeshows with only a brochure, business cards and a seat at the fold-out table, believe me, you look lame. Here's how to gain some self-respect and garner leads:
• Invest in a booth display. Skip the tabletop and go for a full 10' x 10' popup, at minimum. The investment is well worth it.
• A seamless display looks better than choppy panels. Use large images and create a short generic message that you won't have to update too often. People rarely read more than the first line or two, so keep the details for your brochure or your pitch.
• Offer premiums – candy, pens, mugs, totebags, other cool stuff. Everyone expects something free from you. At the very least, you should have a company or product brochure as a giveaway. Adding a premium makes you more memorable.
• Keep it simple and contained. Having too much going on distracts from your conversations with prospects. Forget that cafeteria table – use a counter or console for a neat array of business cards, brochures, and premiums.
• Hone your elevator speech. You're standing at your booth when people start approaching you, drawn in by your awesome display. Do you know exactly what you're going to say? Practice your elevator pitch about your company. Practice answering questions. Practice ice-breakers – one for the guy who won't meet your eye, one for the groups of two to three people, one for the serious stay-behinder.
Good luck at your next tradeshow; you might even enjoy yourself! Be prepared, be remembered – and be not ashamed.