speak powerfully

Presenting at Tradeshows: Lessons Learned at the NY XPO

Yesterday I presented at the NYXPO, one of the largest small business tradeshows in New York. It was my third time speaking and my second time having a tradeshow booth. My presentation, Speak Powerfully, Sell More gave small business owners tips on how to leverage speaking as a marketing strategy. I shared with the them that networking and speaking showcases were my two strongest marketing approaches.

At the booth, many lessons were learned from last year. My goal was to sell my book, Knockout Presentations, and to obtain leads for my Sendout Cards business. Here's what we now know works when presenting at tradeshows:

1. Be fully staffed. We had five people available although not at the same time. This allowed us to handle traffic and provide breaks for staffers.

2. Provide training. Exhibitors  need to know how to dress and must be well versed about the product or subject.

3. Recognize that a tradeshow exhibit is a presentation. Do not chew gum or eat in the booth. Stand and greet people with a smile. Listen more than you speak and ask questions.

4. Learn traffic patterns. We realized that the morning is slow. Traffic picked up right after I spoke and after lunch was the busiest time.

5. Do not pack up early. We signed up a couple of new people 10 minutes before closing time.

6. Provide  a demo. The three minute video was the best sales tool. Most people are visual and professional videos keep the message focused and consistent.

7. Bring  a wifi card or a phone that uses tether technology. The Javits Center is New York City is highly unionized and you must pay for everything including electricity.

Andrea, Erick, Diane and Kelly at the booth

8. Display samples. People were attracted to the cards and could feel the quality and see the variety. Selling my book  rather than using an order form allowed buyers to browse through the chapters. The touch and feel of a product is important.

9. Bring clipboards, envelopes for business cards, plenty of pens and anything else to help you organize your leads and materials.

10. Sell beyond the booth. Invite people to visit you after your seminar. Promote the booth to your list before the event.  Hand out flyers to other exhibitors. Follow up with leads in 24 hours.

11. Keep the booth simple, uncluttered and attractive. The floor length banner was easy to assemble and drew people into the booth. Put baggage under the table, behind the curtain.

12. Have a time limited offer. When people signed up at the booth they received a free gift. We learned from last year that most visitors are looking for freebies. Last year we offered a gift if they watched the demo. When we followed up they were no where to be found. This was our most important lesson. You must qualify your leads.

13. Wear comfortable shoes. There aren't a lot of chairs on the convention floor and you'll be busy working the crowd.

(I'm conducting business with my feet up today!)