Attendee Walking the Aisles - 6 Trade Show Tips for '06

Julia O'Connor
 


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Are trade shows in your marketing plans for 2006? There are times when smart exhibitors don't exhibit but visit shows as attendees to gather new ideas, scope out the competion and look for opportunities.

Walk the aisles, see what’s new, plan purchases for the coming year? Is this the show when you pull out the order book or checkbook and make a commitment? Trade Show Training, inc. offers these 6 quick tips for those who are not exhibiting but who form the reason for any trade show – YOU - the Attendee…

1. LOOK FOR THE COMPANY….
While sales people are paid to be persuasive, you want to do business with The Company. Review the pre-show information and read the program about exhibitors. Select those that match your requirements in terms of longevity, products, services and guarantees.

2. LOOK AT THE STAFF….
Are you asking general questions or do you need an expert? Understand your needs or your company’s requirements before you step on the floor. Ask around your firm – how can you help while you are at the show – before the show.

3. PLAN YOUR ROUTE….
Each show has a floor plan. Use it. If you don’t have the info you need, contact show management. Map out those exhibitors you want to see. There are two ways to do this – by aisle or by product. Review your requirements and hit the main ones first. TSTi suggests you go down every aisle. Because you never know who is a new competitor.

4. BE OPEN TO NEW STUFF….
You will never be able to absorb everything at one show. There will always be a new company, product, service, concept… something that will be unexpected. Maybe it is in a small, ugly exhibit stuffed in a corner with the hottest new product to be introduced at the show, and you don’t know about it. Or a new #1 competitor that cracked your business and knows everything about your hottest product.

5. LEARN TO S-M-I-L-E, then SMILE….
Whether you are attendee or exhibitor, there should be politeness on both sides of the aisle. Personality, expertise, social graces, appropriate business manners and tenacity are important for everyone at trade shows. Remember to S-M-I-L-E – See-Meet-Introduce-Listen-Engage

6. FOLLOW-UP ….
If you are interested in an answer, you may need to follow-up yourself with the company. Despite all the fancy lead trackin systems, it is still true that about 80% of leads are not followed-up and it has nothing to do with you personally. Why? Now there are many more opportunities to slice-and-dice your info to oblivion. Not an excuse but today’s reality.

On the other hand, it pays to be polite. If you gave your information to an exhibitor – RFP, RFD, badge swipe, business card, form for a gift, attendee list, etc. – then be gracious about follow-up contact from that company.

Do you know that you gave permission? As an attendee, you are fair game for any exhibitor. Enjoy the show.

Julia O'Connor - Speaker, Author, Consultant - writes about practical aspects of trade shows. As president of Trade Show Training, inc, , now celebrating its 10th year, she works with companies in a variety of industries to improve their bottom line and marketing opportunities at trade shows.

Julia is an expert in the psychology of the trade show environment and uses this expertise in sales training and management seminars. Contact her at 804-355-7800 or check the site http://www.TradeShowTraining.com

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