In all the frantic organisation that leads up to a trade show, it’s easy to overlook how you plan to engage with customers once your meticulously planned booth is up and running.
At the most basic level, everyone intends to be friendly and enthusiastic, but there are a few techniques that can help leave potential customers with the best possible impression of you and your brand.
Think about what creature comforts you need to function, and make sure they’re close to hand. Snacks, water, tea and coffee: all can help keep you cheerful and on-message when a rush strikes. It seems silly, but a long day on your feet can be extremely tiring, and it’s important to keep your energy levels up.
On a related note, having two people to run the booth can be very helpful. It makes it easier to take comfort breaks as the need arises, so both of you can maintain your good humour throughout the day.
When it comes to actually engaging with trade show attendees, it can be tempting to sing your product’s praises for as long as the attendee will listen. There are a number of problems with this approach, not least that you will be hoarse by lunchtime.
A constantly repeated sales pitch will quickly start to feel false, and can make customers feel trapped and pressured, particularly if they only expressed a passing interest in your product. A good ratio is to aim to listen to your customer for 80 per cent of the time, and to talk for the remaining 20 per cent.
Taking the time to listen to your customer makes them feel important, and can also provide you with valuable insight about how to cater to their needs. This can be involve providing tailored advice on the day, or ideas to feed into future product development. After all, why guess when you can let prospective customers tell you what they want?
It’s also a good idea to interact with the people running the booths around you. Not only does it make you (and by extension your business) look friendly and approachable, it can provide valuable industry contacts and information.
Finally, remember your manners! It’s such a simple thing, but so easy to forget on a busy, tiring day. Make sure you thank everyone who stops to have a look at your booth, and wish them a pleasant day. Make sure you thank the event organisers and venue staff too.
Once more, it’s about building positive associations around your brand. On a more pragmatic level, it makes sense to be polite to potential customers. This goes for the people running the event as well, as they can be crucial in securing a good spot or discounted rate if you choose to come back next year.
These are all small, easy things to do, but they can really boost what your business gets out of a trade show if they are applied consistently and with a smile.