3 Ways to Avoid Being Invisible on the Trade Show Floor

I recently read an article in Newsweek about being invisible in different cities around the globe by just fitting in with the locals, in the way you dress and behave.

This triggered a thought about how most exhibitors display themselves at trade shows. They have similar booth displays, bland and often uninteresting graphics and an array of stuff that is simply blah!  In other words, there’s very little that jumps out at the visitor with the message “Notice Me!”

Walking down the aisle as an attendee, these exhibits blend into nothingness, and are quite simply, seem to wear the invisibility mantel with pride.  This begs the question, “is this really the role you want to play when you invest serious marketing dollars to be at the show?”

Here are three ideas to consider if you decide you want to be noticed:

1.  Be different.

Next time you’re at a show, either as an exhibitor or as an attendee, check out the sameness around you.  Ask yourself, “what would it take to be different in this industry environment?” “What would help you stand out from the crowd?”

Recently, a coaching client of mine exhibited at a local expo.  As a first-time exhibitor we discussed ideas that would have the company stand “head and shoulders” above the competition.  Being in the property maintenance business, they decided to use live shrubbery creatively to arouse attendee curiosity. It worked extraordinarily well, and they captured more leads than they’d planned for.

2. Break the rules.

In your quest to be different, take your ideas and experiment with different approaches. Can you add to it or take something away?  Challenge the norms, break the rules and allow yourself to be zany, crazy and off-the-wall.  Read Roger von Oech’s “Whack on the Side of the Head,” to help get those creative juices flowing.

3. Think like a kid.

Children have an innate gift of bizarre ways of looking at things. Somewhere along the way we lost that gift and replaced it with average vanilla thinking, and duplication of what others do.  Typically, the thought process is, “if it works for them, it’ll work for us.” Sameness is boring.

Invite a few five year olds to look at your ideas, and work on helping you create something completely different. You might need to adapt their ideas, but, their way of looking at things could definitely get you out of your “box-like” thinking.

To rid yourself of that invisibility mantle, keep your overall goal in mind: “How can we be different, stand out from the crowd, and be noticed, so that visitors will stop, take interest, and ultimately, buy what we have to offer?”

The Tradeshow Show is open 24/7 – come in and look around!

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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3 Trade Show Lifesavers When You’re Down to Your Last Brochure

What do you do when you’re down to your last brochure?

While it’s true that the vast majority of marketing materials distributed at trade shows and conventions wind up in the trash long before the attendee gets on a plane headed home, there’s still a clear expectation that exhibitors will have some kind of sales collateral material to hand out to interested parties at the show.  These include catalogs, brochures, spec sheets and more.
What happens if you’ve underpacked?  You’ve brought 500 spec sheets, and it turns out you have 2,000 people interested in that item.  Do you send the attendee away empty handed?

You don’t ever want to give away your last brochure!  Instead, make one booth staffer accountable for keeping track of literature supplies throughout the show.  If you start running low, it’s time to take action!  Here are your three options to ensure you don’t run out:

1. Hit the Copy Shop

If you’re running low on an easy to reproduce item, like a spec sheet or flyer, have a staffer hit the local copy shop and run off a few hundred more.

2. Call the Home Office

Catalogs, glossy brochures, and the like can’t reasonably be produced on the spur of the moment.  If you see supplies running low, call the home office and have them express ship additional supplies to the show.

3. Ship It Direct

As a last resort, collect the attendee’s contact information and promise to ship the catalog or literature to their office.  If you do this, it is absolutely critical that you keep your promise!  Make sure to have the material shipped out as soon as possible — preferably before the attendee makes it home for the show!

The Tradeshow Show is open 24/7 – come in and look around!

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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3 Ways to Overcome the Price Objection On the Trade Show Floor

“Our products cost so much more than our competitors. How in the world do we convince attendees to check us out, when everyone’s so focused on the bottom line?”

The question could come from any industry, and it’s becoming increasingly common as a tightening economy makes buyers more price-conscious. However, the company that lives by price also dies by price. Savvy exhibitors know that to appeal in this type of market, it’s critical to highlight aspects of their products and services that are more important than money.

The three most pivotal factors are:

1. Speed

Can you be, as Seth Godin puts it, overwhelming faster than the alternatives?  The speed with which your organization can fill orders, deliver product, and take care of customers is a critical differentiating factor.  Customers are starved for time: no matter what industry you’re in, turnaround times are shorter than they’ve ever been.  You can stand out from the crowd by being the fastest.

2. Spirit

Genuine enthusiasm and conviction that your products and services are the absolute best choice for the customer are powerful selling tools, especially in the face-to-face environment of the tradeshow.  If you can concisely and articulately convey why your products are worth more, without apologizing, price becomes a non-issue.

3. Style

There are trends in everything: in the B2B world, in manufacturing, in retail.  Can your organization position itself as the trendy choice?  Buyers are influenced by what their colleagues and peers think: no one wants to choose a loser.  Consider what you can do to secure a position as the ‘obvious’ right choice, or even better, ‘the best’ company to buy from.  Then, once again, price becomes a secondary consideration.

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