Tradeshows are show business according to Susan Friedmann,the tradeshow coach and author of Meeting Planning for Dummies and Riches in Niches. "People need to prepare. They think miracles are going to happen just because they are there. You need a specific purpose." Friedmann poses these questions: Do you want to get new customers? Are you looking for new leads? Are you there to educate your target market? In addition to having a clear purpose you must have a quantifiable measure of your goals.
"Beware of trick-or-treaters" warns Friedmann."These are people looking for freebee items." She provides the perfect remedy for avoiding visitors who are not serious prospects. "Offer items that are related to your business such as a white paper or tip sheet. Only the people who are really interested in what you have to offer will take them,"she explains.
The biggest mistake in tradeshow presentations is that people don't know why they are there. Companies send their employees to the exhibit without any training. This is why you'll find exhibitors on cell phones, reading, or eating in the booth.
Friedmann says,"You are on display! When you're in the booth you're an actor on the stage. You have a role to play. She trains companies to be successful exhibitors but will also do phone coaching for small businesses.
Another issue is getting traffic to the booth. Friedmann reiterates that this is due to lack of planning. "To attract people you need a pre-show campaign. Send postcards prior to the event. Give customers and prospects an incentive. Show or tell them something new. Target quality visitors. When it comes to tradeshows, it's quantity not quality." You can qualify prospects using a letter system. On the back of the business card write a letter A for a hot lead (ready to buy), a B for an interested lead, etc.
Friedmann's number one tip for tradeshow success is Know clearly what you want!