Do You “Think Different” on the Trade Show Floor? Part 2

In Part 1 I talked about three of the six senses or “right-brain directed aptitudes,” that Daniel Pink refers to in his best-selling book, “A Whole New Mind” – namely, design, story, and symphony.

This week I’ll share information about the other three senses, empathy, play, and meaning, and how these relate to your trade show experience.

Empathy - the skill to understand and be able to put yourself in the position of your prospect, or customer – something so key on the trade show floor.  How often do your sales staff take the time or energy to truly understand the prospect’s situation? The more in tune they are with the other person, the easier it is to naturally adjust the conversation, and focus on what’s most important to them.

Play is about having fun.  How often does that get forgotten in business? How about on trade show floor?  To most people, the word “show”  means some form of entertainment. However, it’s very rare that I walk away from a booth feeling that people are having fun and enjoying what they do. Where is it written that doing business at a show has to be serious?

Meaning is about expression. It’s an opportunity to make a difference.  Your people can make or break relationships on the show floor. Do they make a difference? Are they proud company representatives? Do they show the industry they care about their company, products/services?

According to Pink, “few things can be more rewarding than connecting with someone by teaching something new, or sharing that which you feel is very important with others.” How does your trade show team make out in the connections department? Where is their focus – is it on what you’re exhibiting, or is it on the visitor, and what’s most important to them?

Lots of questions, and lots of food for thought!

Listen to my latest session: “7 Quick-Start Keys to Niche Marketing Success”

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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Benefitting from a Regular Trade Show Workout: 3 Fitness Levels Every Exhibitor Must Practice

Spring is a time when we brush off the winter blahs and just feel the urge to be active. It’s a time when we wake up our body, mind and spirit.

The question is how often do you exercise your exhibiting muscles?
Do you have a regular workout designed to increase your trade show dexterity and boost results?

Whether you’re looking for strength training to increase your competitive edge, flexibility to improve your marketing strategy, or just general overall fitness, a regular workout program is a must.

Find your level of fitness training in the following:

Fitness Level 1 – You never or rarely stretch
Geared to the low risk-taker who always does the same thing at industry shows.  To increase your level of flexibility in the marketplace, try stretching your exhibiting muscles prior to your next trade show.  Be willing to take a risk and differentiate a little from your regular routine.

Strength component: Define exactly why you are exhibiting and what it is that you want to achieve through your trade show participation.

Aerobic component: Brainstorm possible ideas to get your major muscle groups working in a rhythmic fashion.  Consider giving your booth a face lift with new and exciting graphics.

Flexibility component: Use a theme to add some new blood to your trade show muscles to attract more activity into your exhibit.
Use this gentle routine regularly before each show to increase a sense of accomplishment and well-being, as well as decrease the risk of painful unproductive results.

Fitness Level 2 – You occasionally stretch most of the major muscle groups
Designed for exhibitors who want more of a challenging exhibiting workout to increase their market strength and flexibility.

Strength component: Building strength in your major muscle groups involves weight training and cardiovascular work.  You are making headway when upper management supports your program.

Aerobic component: The goal is to get your heart rate into the target zone and sustain that pace for an extended period.  This means directing your pre-show promotional workout to those people who you want to actively walk into your exhibit, find out about you and do business with you.

Flexibility component: An company’s range of motion will vary depending on its age, activity and structure.  Good news is that your degree of flexibility can always be increased.  Take time to explore what prospects want and like so that you can tailor your marketing activity accordingly.

Fitness Level 3 – You always stretch the major muscle groups
Designed for the serious exhibitor who wants to build marketing endurance, strength and muscle tone.

Strength component: Your people make up the strength and backbone of your exhibiting presence. They represent everything your company stands for, so select the best. Prepare them well beforehand.

Aerobic component: Public relations is one of the most successful ways to pump blood into your trade show activity.  Build media relations, prepare press kits, investigate speaking opportunities and consider sponsorship opportunities

Flexibility component: Reduce the possibility of sales injury and market muscle soreness with a flexible and timely lead-management plan.

No matter what your fitness level or exhibiting goals, your company will look and feel better when you regularly participate in an exhibiting workout program.

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 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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