Optimize Your Trade Show Investment:
The Power of Elegance In
By Dan Coughlin
time to get ready for one of your annual trade show events. Before
you pull out the same banner, handouts, and freebies, take out a
blank sheet of paper and begin to craft a new approach.
Create an iPod Booth, Not a Clutter Bin: In 1978 when my brother
was 22 he bought a stereo system with a turn table, receiver, and
two huge loud speakers. He had several hundred albums all stacked in
a variety of milk crates that went to the ceiling. He probably had
close to 5,000 songs in his apartment. In 2005 he bought his
daughter an iPod. The iPod took up six square inches and held 15,000
songs. The iPod was elegance in action.
put together your next trade show booth, think of the iPod: clean,
smooth, lots of white space, and powerful. Don’t fill your booth
with tons of handouts and products and giveaways. Focus on the power
of simplicity and leave lots of white space. Place the one thing you
want people to look at in the middle of the booth and leave the rest
of the space clear and clean.
BBQs: To find the one thing you want to highlight in your booth,
answer the 2 BBQs (Business-Building Questions):
What’s the most important business objective for
the attendees that your organization can help to improve?
How can your organization improve that outcome
in a profitable manner?
answering these two questions until you land on a crystal clear
solution that your organization can provide to improve a high
priority outcome for the attendees. Then convert that solution into
the singular focus of your trade show booth.
whole purpose of the booth is to attract meaningful attention. It’s
far better to be remembered for one thing than to be forgotten
because you had too many things in your booth. You want the
attendees to remember one thing about you that really matters to
them. The elegant booth, the one with the single, simple, powerful,
relevant display is the one that is remembered.
Relationships, Not Your Rolodex: Ever been to a booth where the
person inside kept looking right past you to see who else was coming
to visit? Not exactly a warm feeling, is it?
a proper etiquette at trade shows, and it has to do with personal
attention. You’re way better off building five relationships than
gathering 500 business cards. Relationships lead to opportunities
and opportunities lead to cash flow. Business cards oftentimes lead
to cash output in the form of mass marketing.
someone visits your booth or you meet the person in the hallway,
focus your eyes on that person. Even if someone you know pops up in
the background, don’t wave a hello. Make sure the person you’re
talking to feels like the most important person alive. Listen to
their situation so well that you can write an e-mail the next day
that summarizes what you learned from them or about them. Now you’re
in a position to add value to the individual. After the
conversation, don’t rush off to meet the next person. Instead right
down a few notes about the person so you can remember the details
the next day.
Shining Message: Eloquence means “powerful and effective
language.” After you’ve answered the 2 BBQs, hone your final answer
to a single memorable statement that stands out. You don’t need
10-syllable words to be powerful and effective. You do need one
clear, conversational message that people can remember you by. Each
attendee may meet over 40 people during a two-day trade show. When
you follow up a few days after the show you want the other person to
easily recall your face and what you want to be associated with.
your message over and over so it flows naturally and
conversationally. Even if you only meet a person for a minute or two
work the statement into the conversation, exchange business cards,
and jot down whatever you learned about the person. When you
follow-up with the person work your key message into the
conversation in a natural and relevant manner.
BBV Behind: When every one else is handing out their company
brochures and freebies that get stuffed into the bottom of the trade
show bag, I encourage you to hand out BBV: business-building value.
One of the best tools I’ve ever seen was a simple, elegant
two-color, eight-page document called Problems, Solutions, and
would have a front cover called, “Problems, Solutions, and Results”
with your company name on it, and a back cover with your company
name and contact information. On the inside, you would have six
pages of problems your clients have encountered, the solution you
developed with your client, and the result that occurred after
implementing the solution. Then you would end each story with a
brief testimonial from the client. This makes the situation appear
much more real.
first key here is that the trade show attendees need to relate to
the problems. They need to say, “I’ve faced that problem many
times.” The second key is that the solutions have to be clear enough
that the person could implement them without having to call you.
Value of Value-Added Marketing: “Value-Added Marketing” occurs
when you give away the solutions people can use without having to
contact you. However, they may think to themselves, “If I received
this much value for free, then what will I get if I pay for it?”
That’s a very powerful way to get the attendees to call you after
the trade show is over. And a warm call is a much better prospect
than a cold call.
Read other articles and learn more
about Dan Coughlin.
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