CES Exhibitors Make Common Exhibiting Mistakes

Exhibitors at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2013), one of the largest shows in the world, insist on making common exhibiting mistakes. Over 3,000 exhibitors are currently showcasing a wide range of innovative technology products at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Walk the show floor and you’ll find many of the exhibitors who don’t have a clue how to interact with the visitors, and what they need to be doing to maximize their time and money investment at CES. Unfortunately, many of the behemoths in the industry are some of the worst culprits. Company representatives stand around chitchatting to their colleagues, ignoring booth visitors, or they spewing out their sales spiel showing zero interest in what the visitor is really interested in.
It is obvious they lack the trade show exhibitor training needed to learn the essentials to really make the most of their time on the show floor.

Successful selling at CES depends, not only on innovative products and services, but more importantly, on how well the booth staffers represent them.

Working a trade show requires a unique mix of skills. Savvy exhibitors know that they’re there to listen to the attendees. People come to shows seeking answers to specific business problems. If you’re too busy spouting off your sales spiel, to listen, you’ll never even hear the problem, much less understand it and offer viable solutions. Rest assured, the attendee will move on to someone who’s willing to help them fix their problem.

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Confuse or Lose: 3 Keys to Avoid Trade Show Confusion

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In a recent coaching session, my client started telling me all about the different products he was going to be showing at the trade show he was preparing for. I listened patiently and then asked “which is the most important one?” “They all are” was my client’s response.

Over the years I’ve seen this mistake played over and over again at various shows.  Booths stuffed full of stuff, different stations and activities that makes it look like a three-ring circus. Presented with this jumble, the visitor may or may not try to figure out whether the exhibitor has something of interest to offer.

According to psychological research, when the brain is presented with too much information to absorb, it easily becomes confused. And at a trade show, a befuddled mind often takes the easy way out, and together with the body, moves on to the next booth.

The message I get from these types of exhibitors is three-fold – ill-prepared, lazy, and selfish. They are ill-prepared and lazy because they haven’t taken the time to focus on one specific product or message for their target audience, and selfish because it’s all about them and not about their prospects and customers.

To avoid buyer confusion at your next show, here are three important keys:

1.    Take time to plan and crystallize your exhibiting goals and objectives.  The purpose of your booth is to attract the right buyers so that you can have a meaningful conversation about their needs and wants.

2.    Have one clear message and focus for your booth.  Remember that according to trade show research, over 76% of visitors go to shows to see “what’s new.”  With this in mind, present something new, exciting and different.

3.    Keep your booth open and welcoming.
a.    Get rid of chairs to avoid the sitting temptation.
b.    Keep tables at the sides or at the back of the booth (tables at the front act as a barrier).
c.    Make sure your booth isn’t overflowing with your own staff who stand around chitchatting with each other when the show is slow.

Finally, as you prepare for your next show, remember to keep focused on what’s most important to your target audience – not you!

Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, internationally recognized exhibit marketing expert working with companies to increase their profitability at trade shows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies”and many other titles. For more great information on trade show marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “Exhibiting Success,” visit http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com. Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app.

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Exhibiting Magic: 13 Awesome Quick Trade Show Fixes – Part 2

In the wonderful world of exhibiting, and as the trade show season starts up again don’t you yearn for that magic wand to give a quick magical fix to your tradeshow trials and tribulations.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have attendees motivated to flock to our booths because they wanted to and not because they had to?

The question is, “what magic can you perform on the trade show floor, to help captivate and charm your prospects’ with your products/services?”  The following seven tips are a continuation of last week’s article. I hope they will give you some more irresistible ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

7.    Expect the unexpected
Many of history’s greatest discoverers and inventors happened across their major discovery quite unexpectedly.  Often, they were looking for something else.  Remember Christopher Columbus set out looking for India, and lo and behold, look what he found!  What are the two most unexpected things that might mysteriously happen during your next exhibiting experience?

8.   Put magic into your thinking
When you ask yourself “what if” questions you stretch your thinking and plant the seeds for creative new ideas.  What if ghosts and goblins were to roam the show floor?  What if exhibit booths could fly around the show hall positioning themselves right in front of your major prospects?  What if people wearing special glasses were the only attendees able to see your exhibit display?  What if you tried this exercise?

9.    Slay a dragon
Dragons elicit fears, and fears often stand in the way of you doing new and creative things.  So many exhibitors fear uncharted territory.  You fear the unknown and you fear failure.  Take time to look at those fiendish creatures that hold you back from being and doing all you can before, during and after the show.  What dragons can you slay?

10.   Learn from others
There are countless people and situations you can learn from.  The key is being open and receptive, and in essence, being prepared to be a lifelong learner.  Look to the past and learn from historical figures, borrow ideas from innovators, learn from others’ mistakes, use ideas from the patterns and cycles in nature.  Where can you look for some magical theory?

11.    Transport people to another place
J.K. Rowling performed incredible magic transporting people around the world to the enchanted magical world of wizards, spells and mythical beasts in her Harry Potter series.  In fact there is a wealth of folklore, mythology and history that shimmers beneath the surface of her stories.
How can the magic you dream up transport your exhibiting program to another level?

12.    Go where others fear to tread
When you exercise the courage to do something different, you take a risk.  You have a risk muscle that you keep in shape through regular exercise.  It takes courage, a pioneering spirit and a sense of adventure to overcome the scary stuff and seek out unknown opportunities.  How can you exercise your risk muscle?

13.    Believe in your success
Thomas Edison once said, “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”  Believe that the creative ideas you conjure up will bring you untold successes.

Now all you need do is wave your magic wand to put them into action.  Which ideas will you start with?

The moral of the article is to never get caught without your wand, as you never know when you might need it!

Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, internationally recognized exhibit marketing expert working with companies to increase their profitability at trade shows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies” and many other titles. For more great information on trade show marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “Exhibiting Success,” visit http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com. Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app.

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