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Pinellas Park, Florida, United States
I founded Core Business Solutions with the goal of helping business owners improve operating results, add value, and recapture the energy and passion that was present when the business was new. We also have the expertise to assist start-up companies create the foundational structure needed to provide the best opportunity for the business to grow and prosper in uncertain economic times. Our goal is to help the business entrepreneur/owner, through mentoring and coaching, develop or enhance managerial skills while providing that independent and objective advice and expertise usually provided by a board of directors.
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Friday, March 11, 2011


Trade shows are great ways to market products and services and I’ve worked more than 50 trade show’s in the past 35 years and these included many types including product shows, industry specific shows, large association shows and recruiting expo’s just to name a few. Here are a few ideas and tips that have worked well for me, to help your trade show participation to be a positive one.

Before you decide to be a vendor at a trade show, it’s important to determine your objectives for the event. What are your expectations or what do you want to gain from your participation?

Goals for trade shows could include:

1- to collect leads for new customers or clients

2- to introduce a product or service to a particular market segment

3- to increase your company’s visibility within a business segment

4- to develop contacts within a new business segment

5- to actually sell a product or service

6- to test market a new product and get customer feedback

In fact, you will typically have many of these goals in your plan for your trade show. To avoid disappointment be sure of exactly what you’re looking to accomplish by attending the event.

In most cases you’ll want to attract as many of the trade show attendee’s to your trade show table or exhibit as you can. Some ideas to help you do that are:

• Provide some type of food, beverage or candy giveaway; this always works well as attendee’s like the idea of a little snack or drink or munchies and will typically spend more time at your trade show location

• Use a giveaway such as a promotional item (mug, pen, keychain) to attract more people to your table or exhibit and these items can help spread your contact information to many more people

• Provide a high perceived value item (gift basket, gift card(s), restaurant gift certificate, etc.) as a prize in a raffle or door prize(s) and require each attendee to give you a business card or complete a brief entry form to deposit into a fish bowl or box. This allows you to harvest contact information from all your visitors during the event which becomes an excellent up-to-date marketing list

• Provide a brief talk or demonstration or presentation about your product or service at scheduled times throughout the show and highly publicize these prior to and during the trade show. Handing out as many fliers as you can on the show floor can help drive attendance

• Hire spokes models to work your trade show exhibit and have them walk throughout the trade show floor encouraging attendee’s to stop by your exhibit along with passing out your info

Other tips to help you:

1- Never stand and/or sit behind a trade show table or exhibit as that puts a barrier between you and your potential contact or customer. To be effective you need to mix easily with your audience. Stand in front of your exhibit and greet each passer-by with your best smile and introduce yourself and invite them to enter your raffle or to collect some information or give them one of your giveaway items or offer them your candy or snack (see above) if you are using one. Use some icebreaker open-ended questions (How do you like the show today? Or Is the trade show all you expected?  or How does this show compare to the last one?) so you can get your prospect to converse with you.

2- Dress comfortably but professionally and look and be your most positive best.

3- Always provide some type of literature or other take-away item along with your business card to each attendee. If someone wants to buy your product or service have the paperwork available so you can make the sale right there.

4- Providing a simple small bag (a plastic grocery-sized bag with your business card attached to the outside of it) to your trade show customers as it’s a thoughtful convenience for them to put all their trade show literature and other items in. They will remember you for it and as they walk around the show your business card will be seen by others. I've witnessed other attendee's ask where someone got their bag and immediately visit that trade show exhibitor that provided the bag.

5- Be sure your table or exhibit is manned at all times. Have at least 2 people manning your show table during the entire event so one can take a break while the exhibit is still manned. An unmanned trade show exhibit reflects very poorly on your brand.

6- Never leave a trade show early. Stay to the very end. You never know who may walk up to your table in the last few minutes. In the last 30 minutes of  several shows I worked I made very large sales or contacts that lead to large sales. Many trade show producers will not invite vendors to future shows if they are seen leaving early. Keep your commitment to the trade show organizing group.

7- Be sure to get plenty of rest and relaxation the night before any trade show date and avoid late night activities during a multiple day event as you'll find if you're not well rested your trade show experience and performance will not be a positive one. You need to have high energy to effectively meet and greet potentially hundreds or even thousands of people during a trade show type event. You probably paid a good amount of money to be at the event, so don't waste it!

These are the procedures that I’ve found to be very effective when I’ve participated in a trade show or expo of any kind and certainly there are many more. Just by attending many shows you can see what other vendors do that will inspire you to improve your show experience both for you as well as your potential customers.

As a professional busines advisor I can help you develop a plan for your trade show event to be sure your experience is both effective, positive and profitable for your company.

In about 2-3 weeks or so I'll review another subject designed to provide business owners with information they can use to help them work "on" their business.

Until Next Time : Live Simply, Speak Kindly, Care Deeply, Love Generously and Live In The Moment

All The Best,

Walt Morey

Core Business Solutions

Executive Business Advisor Accredited by the Institute for Independent Business

http://www.corebizsolution.com/    Ph: 727-647-8242

Core Business Solutions Advice