Tradeshows are a great way to expand your business, brand, network, learn from others, see what competitors are doing, and gaining knowledge and experience within your industry. Taking the time to put in the work for a tradeshow, you want to make sure you are benefiting from it. Follow these tips to make sure your business is getting the most out of a tradeshow.

Be prepared & organized

Planning ahead is extremely important not only for yourself but for those you will be networking with. Researching competitors and other businesses you will run into will help you know what to expect from them, what they’re offering and how you can stand out from them. You should ideally give yourself a few months to prepare for the show. You’re already taking the right steps by reading this article.

When we attended the 2019 BizExpo our team had a Trello board that was referenced from four months before all the way up and during the actual show. This allowed us to make sure that we didn’t miss anything and that everyone was on the same page.

All the deadlines neat and organized in our Trello board

 

Advertise

Promoting your business before the tradeshow is extremely important when it comes to being successful at the conference. Letting your current clients, prospects, and competitors know you will be there, what you will be bringing, how you will be making an impact while driving up the level of interest and bring in more people to network with. Additionally, after the event continue to let your target market know that you were there, how you contributed, and what you had to offer to continue the conversations well after the tradeshow.

If you exhibited at the trade show the previous year and purchased the attendee list the year before – you’ve got a serious leg up on the competing booths. Send out a postcard to everyone who attended last year inviting them to the show, and specifically to your booth. A bit of creativity will really go a long way here.

Manage your staff

Not only is a captivating, attention-grabbing booth important at a tradeshow, but so are the employees that potential clients and even competitors will be interacting with. To run a successful booth you must have motivated, excited, well trained, personable employees who actually want to be there. If you have an employee there without these dedicated traits, they likely will not bring in the success you are hoping for. You have to send out what you want to attract. Energetic, driven employees will attract those like them and bring in those clients to your company rather than your competitors.

While I believe in my FitTech Hosting team with the utmost certainty, my personality doesn’t allow leaving anything up to chance. I wrote a detailed expo guide that set out expectations for employees along with acting as a resource for key information.

That guide has been made public here, feel free to model your own off mine.

Manage your budget

Having a booth at conferences and tradeshows can be expensive. Knowing your limit is important. It’s important to be smart with your money and always be looking for ways to save. Before signing up, check to see if there are any discounts offered. Perhaps there is a discounted rate for first-timers. Don’t be afraid to negotiate either.

Our first year attending at the BizExpo, we didn’t quite have a specific budget in mind, but the first year allowed us to develop a defined budget for the upcoming shows and set realistic expectations.

A rough breakdown of our spending for the 2019 Expo excluding advertising

 

Be social

Tradeshows are different from every other social function, and you’ll have to break some potential personal barriers when working them. Talk with everyone that walks past as if they were your best friend – actually call them by their name (everyone’s wearing a name tag), that’s almost guaranteed to get them to stop by and to make your team stand out from the competing booths.

Being social during a tradeshow is important before, during & after – talk with people while there, take down their name, number, the best way to contact them and even send them a follow up right there and then using a platform such as LinkedIn. Networking on social media immediately after a tradeshow is many times the last thought in a salesperson’s mind which once again gives you that competitive advantage – Standing out is a good thing!

Stand out

Your station should be customized to fit the essence of your business in a modern way. Having updated examples, portfolios, and overall experience that captures the core of your business will leave a lasting impression they won’t soon forget. At our show last year, we had a 50″ TV Display cycling through the very simple but effective video below. This year, we’ve got quite a few different ideas that will make us stand out but we plan on keeping that competitive advantage under wraps until the show.

Don’t forget to follow up

After the tradeshow, the most important step is to follow up with those you talked to and got the contact information. This is the step where you develop the connections you made at the tradeshow into further business relationships. Taking the time to reach out and foster those connections could be the difference between your prospective clients choosing you and a competitor. Enter your leads along with the notes you took into your CRM – the person who spoke with the lead should be the one entering in the data because it is likely that they’ll remember additional details that weren’t necessarily written.


Considering these tips when entering your next tradeshow will help you to be a standout booth at any conference. Looking for some more help with your upcoming tradeshow? Give our team a call at (833) FIT-TECH and be sure to visit us at the Milwaukee BizExpo in May.