With tradeshow season in full bloom, it can be easy to become drained and overwhelmed. Tradeshows are not for the weak, as it takes a full attention span with determination, exuberance, and patience. Most exhibit halls are open for long periods of time, and some even contain lengthy breaks while attendees are in concurrent sessions; which, in turn, leaves the exhibitors to slowly lose their energy. Not to worry, as we have some do’s and don’ts for how to survive this year’s tradeshow season.
- DON’T judge a tradeshow based off past experience. Tradeshow attendees can differ from year to year, not just in numbers, but in quality. Perhaps the show did not have a lot of attendees in the past, but every single person that stopped at your booth gave you a quality lead. *helpful tip: try switching up the location of your booth. If you didn’t see much foot traffic at last year’s show, maybe request to be put in a different aisle this time, by the lunch buffet, or even in the hallway outside the exhibit hall. Switching up the location of your booth can help you get different types of leads as well as a nice change of scenery so you don’t get that “deja-vu” feeling.
- DON’T have a negative attitude. If you lessen your expectations and assume the show won’t be worth your time, then it won’t. If you go into the show thinking you won’t get any leads, that negative attitude can affect your appearance and lead the attendees to believe you don’t truly want to be there.
- DON’T try too hard. Yes, it helps to have an outgoing, personable personality for exhibiting at a tradeshow. Unfortunately, forcing yourself to be more bubbly, peppy, and outgoing than your normal self can come off as being fake, awkward, or desperate. People can subconsciously pick up on body language and not engage. Just be yourself! You’ll do great!
- DON’T be on your phone the whole time. Everyone knows how difficult it is to stray away from checking emails and answering your phone for potential jobs coming in, but it is key to give the attendees your full attention. You want to make sure they feel important. If you need to check your phone, try to step away from the booth and do so during breaks.
- DON’T do a tradeshow by yourself. This sounds silly, but is actually crucial. Tradeshows can be long and when you are alone you may show feelings of boredom, exhaustion, and eagerness for the show to end. You may even break down your display early. When you need to take a restroom break, you would have to leave the booth empty. In addition, it doesn’t look good to attendees or other exhibitors. You need a coworker to assist in keeping your energy levels up and for giving each other breaks.
- DO set goals. Setting goals is a great way make you feel accomplished at the end of the day. Set your goals to be realistic so you know you can reach them and then feel good when you do. Try setting a goal such as “achieving two job opportunities to follow up on,” or “finding three new contacts to take to lunch/ pursue beyond the tradeshow.” You can even set personal goals and company goals. This can give you something to strive for throughout the show.
- DO follow up. The attendees are meeting a lot of quality vendors throughout the span of hours, and sometimes even days. They might remember you, but need to fish through a shopping bag full of promo items to gather your information again. Take the initiative to follow up with them directly. You’ll find that a simple follow up email can spark their memory of your company’s services and a job can come much quicker than if you wait for them to sift through all their acquired business cards. *helpful tip: when you get business cards, write on the back a 1, 2, or 3 depending on their interest level (1 being very interested in your services)
- DO look presentable. Make sure your clothing is business or business casual attire. You are presenting yourself as the professional in your industry and image plays an important role. It is smart to wear a piece of clothing with your company logo on it for branding purposes. Be comfortable. Wearing gel insoles in your shoes is always a great idea. Make sure you have good eye contact and posture. You want to come off as alert and ready to take the tradeshow on head first!
- DO have a strategy. Every tradeshow is different and targets different industries. Make sure you know your target audience and what they will want to hear. Maybe do some research before on the most frequently asked questions and have your answers prepared.
- DO smile. This is a big one! Just a simple smile on your face makes you more approachable. Attendees will want to approach you instead of you trying to draw them into your booth.
- DO have fun. Try your best to genuinely have a good time at the show. You can even play your own secret game or contest with your booth buddy, such as “first person to shake 50 hands”, “first person to get an attendee to ask ‘how much does that cost?’” or “who can receive the most compliments.” Games like this not only keep you engaged and smiling, but they can help make the time go by quicker.
Quick Booth Tips:
- Lighting – having lights on your booth display helps elevate it. It appeals to the attendees, and sometimes, they can even see it from far away. It helps draw them into the booth and they can see and read your services better.
- Swag – having good promo items is always helpful. It draws people into your booth. People may even specifically remember your company by the swag you pass out. At one of our past tradeshows, we gave away an item that people loved so much that we had people coming up to our booth saying “I hear your guys are giving away really cool stuff!” or “do you have any ____ left?!”
Tradeshows can easily take a lot out of you, but they are a funnel of growth opportunity for both you and your company as a whole. You only have a short amount of time to engage and make an impression on the attendees, so be sure to try these tips to help you get through your next tradeshow.
About Alliance Environmental
With more than 75 years of experience, Alliance Environmental Group, Inc. is one of the leading environmental contractors in California. Alliance Environmental provides innovative solutions in the areas of asbestos, lead, and mold abatement; air and HVAC duct cleaning; heat treatment for pest control; structural pasteurization; demolition and emergency response. The company has successfully completed more than 120,000 remediation projects in California and surrounding areas. For more information, go to www.alliance-enviro.com.