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Ready, Set...Show! Tips for Trade Show Success.

Resist the urge to hand out catalogs at the show.
Though most trade show attendees request literature or catalogs from exhibitors, distributing them at the show is probably not the best option. Why? Because almost 65 percent of all literature collected from exhibits at shows is discarded almost immediately.

A more effective way to handle literature requests is to get the names and addresses of the show attendees and mail them the information. A person taking time to make a literature request is likely to be more serious than casual. Yes, you’ll have the postage cost, but it’s still cheaper than having hundreds of expensive brochures and catalogs just thrown in the trash once attendees leave.

Furthermore, receiving your company literature in their office creates a better likelihood it will be read (especially if you’ve taken the time to highlight certain items based on the booth conversation). In fact, studies show it will get a 20 percent readership rate, which is considered excellent.

Lastly, as a bonus, you have another quality name for your company’s mailing list.                      

Communicate your objectives to booth personnel and train them to sell.
Understand each person’s capabilities, give them jobs you know they can do, and assign them specific goals. Train them how to qualify people who come into your booth as soon as possible — how to find out why they are there, if they’re a decision maker, if there’s money in their budget to spend and if they’re actually interested in the product or service you are selling.

Work with trade show management to select, secure, and evaluate speakers and seminar topics.
In a recent survey, 82 percent of the respondents indicated that personal desire to stay current with technology is their top reason for attending a trade show. Decision makers attend because the speakers and seminar program are relevant. Each time your company introduces a new technology or product advance, you should have speakers on the program. Even if the show is not a technology show, have your people on the panel discussing technology for a particular vertical market — legal, accounting, retail, or other market.

Mention any demonstrations or seminars you will have.
If you’re planning an educational seminar or exhibit booth demonstration, be sure to mention it in your pre-show mailings. According to an attendee poll, the three most memorable things about an exhibit are the staff, the company name and demonstrations. You might want to offer a door prize or a different promo product as an incentive to attend your demo/seminar.

Planning for media publicity.
Toot your own horn, and do your best to get others to play your song, too:

• News releases - Send out general announcements of show participation to all appropriate media.
• Trade press placement - Supply the key trade publications with plenty of specifics and technical details relating to your upcoming trade show exhibit.
• Ongoing event coverage - Make contact with the editor of the show newspaper to ensure coverage during the event.

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