7 Tips for Making a Good Impression at Trade Shows
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, trade shows are bread-and-butter events for many industries. Attractive trade show displays are a must, of course, but more than your posters, banners, brochures and free bottled water, you are very much on display!
How do you get attention from show-goers without being obnoxious or overbearing? How can you make a good impression and welcome people into your booth space? Here are tips for attracting attendees without going into used-car-salesman mode.
* Dress well: Even if the event is somewhat casual, it doesn’t hurt to turn the polish up a notch. You will feel more confident, and that confidence will draw people to you. Even if you do dress business-casual, pay attention to all the fine details: polished shoes, pressed trousers, good grooming … you get the picture.
* Don’t stay seated: If you hide behind your table top display, people will be less likely to engage with you. Stand up, walk around. A moving person attracts more attention. If you need a moment off your feet, try a tall stool instead of retreating to the dark corners of your booth. For that matter, make sure your booth has some openness in its layout. A long table blocking access to your displays can send a “do not enter” message to attendees.
* Work as a team: If your coworker is a bubbly, talkative type but you enjoy discussing nuts and bolts, use that to your advantage. Have your partner stand out front to make contact with visitors, then he or she can send them your way for the details. Work your strengths!
* Watch your mouth: Don’t eat or chew gum during floor time! No one wants to hear about your new product while watching a ball of Wrigley’s roll around in your mouth. However, keep water handy — frequent talking can dry your mouth and lead to bad breath. If you need a bit of breath freshening, grab a soft buttermint: it will freshen your mouth but melt quickly.
* Start with a question: “Hello, ma’am. We’re offering 25 percent off cruises booked today. May I give you a postcard with more info?” Instead of just handing her the postcard, you’ve asked a question, and a question can start a conversation.
* Listen to your contact: You can get so excited about a sales pitch that you talk right over your visitor. Turn your body completely toward your visitor and make eye contact — don’t scan the floor for more prospects. Listen and ask questions, then move onto introducing your products and services.
* Use freebies carefully: You know the type: the trade show attendees who walk around with plastic bags bulging with every giveaway, freebie, and trinket in the whole show. If you’re liberally handing out everything from Koozies to keychains, that won’t necessarily give you an edge. Instead, see if you can link a giveaway to a particular person’s needs. Let’s say that you run a car dealership, and you’re talking with a man who has a daughter nearing driving age. She’s interested in a model your dealership carries. Send him home with a key chain from the car’s manufacturer! That will make a much greater impression than random gifts handed out indiscriminately.