Tips For Preparing For A Tradeshow
This year of tradeshows is coming to a close. You had a successful year of meeting, greeting and learning new ways to improve your business. As you pack up all of your material you may be wondering how you can improve next year and stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips that may help you find a way to improve on the old and bring new life to your tradeshow experience.
1) Have a checklist
Organization is key to a successful tradeshow year. Without a theme for your booth you will most likely be scrambling at the last minute, looking for things to help promote your image and products. A checklist can be vital in informing all employees in the tradeshow prep of their responsibilities and expectations for the show.
A checklist that has all items you would take to any tradeshow, large or small, can make the preparation process a lot quicker and more efficient. Each show is different, from theme to booth size, therefore whoever is in charge can easily mark what he/she is looking for to include in the booth to put your best foot forward.
2) Plan ahead of time
The earlier you start planning the better. Consider starting your new year planning at the beginning of the last quarter of the year. This will allow time to plan strategies for a theme, budget, and which shows the company will want to focus on. Once the strategies are planned out each individual will know where to focus attention and what needs to be accomplished ahead of time for a successful show.
The strategies can include any remodeling or designing of the booth, product focus and who is working the booth, based on your success of the prior year. Taking away the good and bad from each show allows for improvement on the following show which ultimately allows for a great success the following year. But this can’t be done without prep time.
3) Get a picture in your head
Picture what your booth will look like and what your goals will be. With a picture of what the company’s strengths and weaknesses are you can focus on expanding your expectations for the booth. It may be you didn’t have enough lighting or need new marketing materials or maybe your featured product is the new hot item on the market. Understanding these points of your booth will help you fill in the gaps for next year’s shows.
4) Set realistic goals and expectations for each tradeshow
What goals did you have for this tradeshow season? Was it to get leads? Make connections? Learn more about the industry?
Make realistic goals for yourself and the company. This means that based on the size of the tradeshow you want the goals to be easily obtainable for the whole company. But don’t stop at the simple goals, set larger ones for yourself and company as well. For instance, learning something new in the industry, networking or obtaining 10% more leads than the day before are all obtainable goals. So instead of 10% more leads make it 20% or 30% more. Challenging yourself will allow you to push beyond your limits and grow both as a company and individual.
5) Check and double check
Have you ever been to a tradeshow and realized you are suddenly missing something? Maybe it’s as small as a screwdriver or as big as the table that holds your product information. This is a great time to utilize your checklist from step 1. Once you know your vision for the booth, find a space within your company where you can have mock setup. This doesn’t mean having to take every piece out of the boxes, but it will allow you to focus your attention on each individual element along with the overall look. For instance, when you place the container holding the back drop in the area you are going to use it at the tradeshow think to yourself, what do I need to help set this up? If you need a screw driver or a wrench now is the time to remember and place it in the shipping container. But don’t forget to do this with the overall picture as well. Maybe you don’t realize that you need two separate literature stands vs. one until you step back and look at the overall look of your booth. Now is also a great time to get opinions from your employees and coworkers who will not be participating in the tradeshow.
6) Checking In
The show is done and you had great success with gathering leads and showing off your products. Now comes the time to pack everything up and head home. All the hard work you put into your tradeshow prep can become a headache when all of your material is received back at the office. To avoid unnecessary stress, take your checklist that you used to pack for the tradeshow and as you are unpacking your materials check off each item you brought back to assure that everything was shipped back and placed in their proper places. This will allow for you to easily pack it all up for the next show without having to spend time searching for it before the next tradeshow.
In conclusion, each step of planning for a tradeshow allows for growth and learning, but never forget to learn as much as you can about your customers and competitors; for they are your true teachers on bettering yourself and company in a competitive world.
Click to down load the PDF Version of the checklist.