Host the Best Trade Show
Booth on the Planet!
By Linda Bishop
hosting a really great party and the theme is fun, fun, fun. You put
together a huge guest list and include all your friends. You plan a
menu with fabulous food and exotic drinks. Decorations fit your
theme and create a festive mood, and you even have a special
playlist of fun songs.
The day of the
party arrives. The doorbell rings. Your friends turn up and soon
you’re hosting an enormous crowd of happy people having a wonderful
time. As everyone arrives, you greet them, perform introductions and
direct traffic. You’re busy, but you love it.
Since you told your
friends they were welcome to bring their friends, you meet
interesting new people and expand your circle. Midway through the
party, you gather everyone together and announce you’re giving out
prizes. The first one goes to Tony. Everyone cheers as you hand him
a brightly colored bag filled with inexpensive goodies from the
local dollar store.
You hand out a
couple more prizes and then circulate through the room, keeping
conversation flowing and making sure everyone has a good time. The
party lasts hours. When guests finally start to leave, you thank
them for coming and hand them a small favor to show appreciation for
The next day, your
friends call and email, telling you they had a wonderful time.
the best party I’ve been to in a decade!”
had that much fun since college.”
laughed so much in years.”
“I met so
many interesting people.”
a great host, and because of that, I had a great time.”
Would you like to
host a party like that? You can—at your next trade show. All you
have to do is use these ten easy tips.
1) Good hosts wait
at the door with a smile on their face ready to greet guests. Sell more at trade shows by doing the same thing. The
aisle in front of your booth is the sidewalk leading up to your
house and the right outside corner of your booth is your front door.
Position yourself at the “door” and make people feel welcome.
2) Good hosts don’t
spend much time on the couch.
They move around, making people feel welcome and starting
conversations. At a trade show, don’t sit behind a table and wait
for prospects to come up and ask for literature. Get in the mix.
3) Good hosts are
excited about throwing the party.
When you’re asked to work a trade show, what’s in your head? Are you
excited and happy, or do you view time spent in a booth as
drudgery? If you spend hours in the booth wishing you were
somewhere else, potential customers pick up on your unhappiness and
wish the same thing. If you’re glad to be at the show, prospects are
glad they stopped by and talked to you
4) People are
more comfortable speaking to you when they don’t feel you’re trying
to sell something
from the moment you meet. Good hosts chitchat. An easy way to get
the conversational ball rolling is by talking to guest about one
subject you know you have in common—the tradeshow.
Have you attended this show before?
Why did you come this year?
Are you enjoying yourself?
Are you finding the information you’re looking for?
Do you like the location?
5) At parties,
people like good food, interesting beverages and fun favors. I’m not suggesting you turn your 10 x 10 booth into a
buffet area, but you could give away candy bars, healthy snacks and
bottles of water. Most people who accept a freebee will feel
obligated enough to spend a few minutes answering questions and
listening to your story.
6) Walk the show.
Hand out business cards and personally invite attendees to stop by
your booth. When a “host” issues a personal invitation, it is more
likely to get accepted.
7) Don’t forget
people like to have fun.
Find ways to provide it and generate larger, more receptive
audiences for marketing messages.
8) Watch for trade
They could be speakers, well-known members of the industry, or media
representatives. Know their names and something about them. If you
spot VIPs, be friendly and start conversations. Invite them to your
booth. If they stop by, you create buzz.
9) Identify your
best prospects prior to the start of the show. If they stop by your booth, treat them like guests of honor.
If they don’t stop by, walk the show, seek them out and extend a
personal invitation to visit.
10) Good hosts
promptly return calls from guests.
If a prospect expresses interest, follow-up and call within four
days after the show closes.
Of all the tips,
the last is the most important. Call prospects while memories are
fresh, interest is high and feelings are positive. Start calls by
mentioning all the fun everyone had. If you played the role of a
good trade show host, they will be glad to hear from you and
receptive to a conversation.
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