Trade shows continue to be used by businesses to showcase their products and services to the business community. In 2016, trade shows generated over $12.8 billion in revenue. They’re a great way to raise product awareness, meet customers and meet potential partners.

You’re investing in trade shows but you’ve noticed that people have been skipping over your booth at recent shows. Read on to learn why no one is visiting your trade show booth.

You’re Not Prepared

You know that in every other aspect of the business, preparation is key. You wouldn’t meet a customer without having researched their needs and prepared your pitch. Why do you attend a trade show assuming that you and your staff will be able to make the most of it with the minimum of preparation?

It’s easy to focus on the preparation of the booth. The logistics of shipping materials and products is a distraction from the real business of the trade show. You have to be prepared to engage people, understand their needs and have your pitch ready.

You’re Not Training Your Staff

Who are you taking to the trade show? Are they the right people to convert all those passing crowds into customers? Working on a trade show booth has its own set of skills and not everybody has them.

How often do you see the staff at trade show booths, looking at their phones or sat at the back of the booth watching the world go by? They don’t even smile or welcome people to the booth. No matter how much money you spend on the design of your booth, placing an uninterested and unfriendly staff member in front of the booth makes it money down the drain.

Select the right people and train them for the job. It’s not enough to take outgoing people. They have to be able to draw people into your booth and engage them as potential customers.

Have your staff practice and give them feedback. Give them the knowledge and skill they need. Encourage them to stay focused.

You’ve Gone Too Big

If you make a massive investment in a huge exhibition space you have to be able to generate sufficient business to justify it. But you’re worried that if you have too small a booth you may not be seen by your potential clients. Start modestly and don’t over stretch yourself.

Having the largest stand in the trade show doesn’t guarantee you success if you get the other things wrong. It’s amazing what you can achieve with a small space if you get the other stuff right.

Your Booth Design is Poor

When you have a limited space to work with it’s tempting to try to get a lot of information across at once. This can lead to communication pollution. So many messages that none of them is seen properly but the overall impression is of a mess.

Consider what people see as they walk by your booth. If there is just one simple message, they’ll see that. The challenge is to identify what simple clear message to focus on.

Identify something that will get attention. Make it attractive and relevant. Once they stop, you have the opportunity to follow up with more information.

You’re Not Giving People A Reason to Call In

Why should anybody stop by your booth? They have to have a reason. It helps if you’ve attracted their attention or curiosity but what then?

Some people use giveaways to draw people on to their booth. A giveaway might be useful and it is surprising how attracted people seem to be to a free gift no matter how inexpensive. Be careful that you and your staff don’t get tied up giving free pens away at the cost of starting conversations about your product or service.

Make a connection between any giveaways, prize draws or competitions and your business proposition. These reasons for calling in can then be linked to potential ways you can benefit them in the future by selling a product or service.

You’re Too Passive

It’s not enough to sit in your expensive booth and wait for the business to roll in. You have to actively encourage people to come to you. There are things you can do before, during and after the trade show.

Before the trade show, use the trade show as an opportunity to communicate with potential customers. Refer to it in social marketing, direct mail, and telephone sales. Let people know you will be there and encourage them to call in.

While you are at the trade show, don’t sit passively in your booth. Stand up and smile. Step into the aisle, catch people’s eyes and start conversations.

If other exhibitors are potential customers, use the opportunity to visit them. They are there to meet people, so talk to them.

Follow up on any contacts you make. Every contact you make cost you a percentage of the trade show fee. Don’t miss the opportunity to turn them from a cost incurred to a sale achieved.

You’re Turning People Away from Your Booth

Look at your booth as if you were a customer, not from the booth but from the aisle. What do you see? Are you turning people away?

Does your booth design direct people away from the booth by creating physical barriers such as tables, counters or chairs? Are your staff creating a physical barrier by standing in groups obstructing the line of sight? Are displays and demonstrations lackluster and a turn-off?

Even if your product is fabulous it won’t draw people in unless you create some excitement. Inject some energy into your people, keep them fresh with frequent breaks, and challenge them to compete to get the most contacts.

You’re Having Too Much Fun

A trade show can seem like an opportunity to have some fun. Perhaps it involves travel and overnight stays. This can set up the belief that there’s no harm in having a good time as well as attending the trade show.

Well, who can argue with that? The problem is when the fun, socializing and party atmosphere starts to get in the way of the purpose of attending the trade show.

Jaded and tired staff don’t perform well at Trade shows. It takes endurance to keep up the focus and engaging manner needed to get results. While you and your staff are having a good time or recovering from it, potential customers are passing by your booth.

Make Your Trade Show Booth Pay

A trade show is a marketing investment like any other. Make sure you understand how a trade show booth can bring you more business. Don’t make the classic mistakes that make it a poor investment.

To help create the right trade show booth for you, contact us today.

Carlos A. Espitia

Chief Marketing Strategist at CAE Marketing & Consulting, Inc.
Carlos is a digital marketing consultant with 18 years of proven internet marketing experience, and a self-proclaimed "data nerd". His digital marketing agency, CAE Marketing & Consulting focuses on SEO & PPC management, as well as conversion rate optimization. He has worked as a marketing consultant for small and large businesses alike.
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