With the 2011 VIA B2B Conference just around the corner I thought it would be most timely to provide a link to the article below titled “11 Ways to Stand Out at a Trade Show.” Make sure to reserve your booth space this week by going on the VIA website at www.VIA.org
11 Ways To Stand Out At A Trade Show by Heather Allard
Attending trade shows is an incredible way to gain exposure, get publicity and even find sales reps for your company and products. But let’s face it—hundreds or thousands of companies attend the same trade shows, so you’ll need a way to stand out. Here’s how.
Present a pristine product
Think Christmas morning. Shiny and new.
And don’t forget to bring more than one. Not only do you need enough to make a presentation in your booth, but also replacement product for any that may have broken in transit or gotten soiled. While customers may be sympathetic, you only have one shot to make an impression.
Pick a card, any card
You’d be surprised how many trade show attendees forget to bring their business cards. Don’t be one of them.
Include on your business card all the ways people can contact you: phone, fax, e-mail, website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Most importantly, include your name.
Have an office
Your trade show space will be your office away from home, so bring all the office supplies you’d normally use to conduct business.
2-part order forms, with a copy for the customer and a copy for you Sales brochures Credit card forms Stapler Calculator Pens Paper clips Push pins Straight pins Suction cup hooks Masking tape Gorilla tape (you can fix anything with that stuff!) Packing tape for sealing your boxes at the end of the show Tide-To-Go A pressed table cloth in case the table does not come draped–this finishes your booth and gives you storage space under the table Extra light bulbs, extension cord and a power strip A sign for the booth with the company name on it Make following up easy
Bring an expandable file for orders and business cards. You will have all of your post-show work in one neat handy place.
Be sure to write any follow-up info on the back of the customer’s business card. Things like, “took catalog,” “ordered,” “call in two weeks”—any information that will assist you in prompt follow up after the show.
Wear comfortable shoes
You can’t stand out if you can’t stand up and your face says, “Ouch.”
So get some shoes that are comfy and stylish—yes, they do exist. Gym sneakers are a no-no unless you have a medical condition that requires them.
Be ready with an elevator pitch
Have a story about your product, what inspired it and what it does. Be prepared to talk about its features and benefits.
If there is a similar product on the market, be able to clearly articulate the points of difference between yours and the competition’s, without “negative selling.” Instead, do your homework and point out the positive differences about your product without mentioning the negatives of your competitor’s. For instance, if you’ve heard that your competitor has back-order issues, let buyers know that your product is in stock and ready to ship.
Do an e-mail blast and a postcard mailing about your product a few weeks before the show. Be sure to include a “Come see us at XYZ show” with the dates and your booth number below your signature.
Show proof of promo
Buyers love to see that you support your product with a strong PR and advertising program. Be sure to feature your editorial placements and upcoming advertisements prominently on your brochures and trade show display.
Lure them in with a sweet treat
Chocolate will slow them down every time. Place some wrapped candy in a dish or a pretty basket. They may not buy, but they have stopped and they have looked.
Mind your manners
Etiquette goes a long way, even at trade show.
Show up on time and don’t leave the booth early Keep your booth neat and clean Have brochures/catalogs on the table so that a buyer may just take the literature if they choose not to stop for the sales pitch Keep all banners and display materials within the booth proper Greet buyers when they stop at, or enter, your booth Thank buyers for stopping in or writing an order Work on your hand shake. There is nothing unladylike about a firm handshake. It exudes confidence and a business-like impression. Get a manicure. Along with your personality and enthusiasm, your hands are a sales tool! Be friendly and have fun
Most importantly, be friendly and inviting. Say “hi” to everyone that comes your way (even the ones who aren’t going to buy anything from you). If you look like you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll be more approachable and interesting.
Heather Allard is a mother of three kids, Hope, Grace & Brendan — and one big dog, The Dude. She’s also the founder of TheMogulMom.com, a website for moms who run a business, raise a family and rock both. You can find her on Twitter at @heathALL.
Much too often we miss the boat on the customer service/relations side of business.
I recently received a letter from a supplier sharing a particularly inspiring list of “ten important business words” to say to your customers originating in a book by Mac Anderson called “Customer Love”. I have followed each of the ten with my related thoughts.
- “I apologize for our mistake. We will make it right.”
- We all miss the boat sometimes. Acknowledging the problem and promising to correct it will most likely keep your relationship from failing.
- “Thank you for your business. Please come back again.”
- So many times these words are not spoken and always should be.
- “I am not sure but I will find out.”
- It may be difficult to admit one’s lack of knowledge, and though humbling, honesty is always appreciated.
- “What else can I do for you?”
- Never forget to ask for another opportunity to be of service.
- “What is most convenient for you?”
- Keep in mind that your customer is the boss.
- “How may I serve you?”
- Show your customer that his/her needs are your highest priority.
- “How did we do?”
- Ask for a ”report card” so that you can learn where and how to improve.
- “Glad you’re here.”
- Another way of making certain your customer feels welcome.
- “Thank you.”
- Frequently remind the customer that they are appreciated.
- Always your best response to any customer’s request.
I strongly feel that none of these listed phrases can be over-used in today’s highly competitive business environment. Whether you are a service or product driven organization, always remembering that the client/customer has a choice lends you the greatest advantage.
Bayless Engineering & Manufacturing