5 Bunker Busting Tips to Power Up Your Trade Show Experience

Those trade show bunnies will do nearly anything.

lovely lady who works the trade show booths

Ok, I can go head to head with this trade show bunny.

With apologies to the ladies who may be as smart as they are curvy, the results are self-evident regarding what really counts in the trade show sweepstakes. The top five ways to make a strong return on investment from your trade show experience have nothing to do with what your help looks like.

First, offer a few items — really pleasing giveaways — that serve as eye-catching promo goods to polish your brand image. Folks who pick up something delightful and useful at your booth will more likely remember you. Good choices range from imprinted stress balls for the stressed out exec, to custom USB drives for just about any business type.

Second, use a lead generation tool you own that will give you value over numerous trade shows. The one I like is made by LeadWizard, and can be purchased in several versions that feature a desktop card swiper, or run on an iPhone or iPad.

Third, take notes like crazy on that lead gen tool so that you can customize the follow-up email you send. I mean what I say — take notes like crazy. The more you show that you actually remember that person and the conversation, the less likely their eyes will glaze over in reading your message.

Which is why I am not a fan of any lead gen tool that makes taking notes a hassle.

Fourth, make sure that the assistants staffing your booth really know your product and service inside out. In my opinion, using your business partners is a little more expensive than local help, but their goals are aligned with yours, and in many cases, they can make a more forceful case for the benefits of your product or service.

In other words, this is one place where being articulate counts.

For example, I once worked a trade show for the North American sales arm of an Indian app developer. The best assistants in the booth were partners of the sales force. Trust me, they could not only answer questions, they could articulate how that product differed from competitors.

Fifth, have someone waiting in the wings to get those follow-up emails out ASAP. Don’t leave them sitting on your thumb drive. Every day counts! Keep a few templates in your CRM system that can be customized as needed. Although it becomes more labor intensive to do so, a well-written communication trumps the slinging spaghetti that often passes for follow-up, in my book.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0, MotivatedModels.

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  • http://twitter.com/TerryAnstine Terry Anstine

    I’ve been to lots of industry shows with bunnies. Once there was a contortionist–there’s an image that’s tough to get out of your head!
    These tips are rock solid and should be part of every marketer’s pre-show planning. Each member of your team can be involved, if you’re lucky enough to have a team. Thoughtful, proactive and FAST followup will put your competitors into a twist, with envy.

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      So right! And even with a contortionist–a magician was the thing that I most recall–you still need great folks in your booth, otherwise people walk away with a truckload of awe for the tricks, but no idea what your product can do for them!

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