The Most Common Mistakes When Setting Up Trade Show Booths

August 31, 2011 by  Filed under: Marketing 

Having a great product or service is only fifty percent of business, and it’s only about five percent of the trade show scene. A good trade show display can be built on anything, and a bad trade show display can be built on anything. The trade show booths that bring people in are well conceived and well executed. The product or service is pretty much irrelevant if the prospect can’t even tell what you’re selling in the first place. Here are three of the most common mistakes people make at their trade show displays and how you can avoid them.

Forgetting the Spares

Everything you have at your booth, you should have a spare (or several spares). This means that you should have two of every sample, two pop-up displays, heck, two sandwiches for lunch, just in case a seagull steals one. When you’re at the trade show and something goes wrong, you’re losing valuable business and the cost of your booth rental when you go and run to the store for a make-do replacement. Bring spares and you don’t need to worry about this. Think of it as trade show insurance.

Too Much Information

There’s always a danger of giving people too much information right up front. Let’s say you’re at a comic convention looking to find a publisher, meet other cartoonists and make a few sales. You’ve got a few choices as to how to set up your booth. You can set up every single comic you’ve ever worked on, a framed full page bio including reference to every single freelance piece you ever drew, dozens of posters and sketches and toys and visual stimuli, speakers blasting the theme song to the animated pilot you’re working on and dozens of t-shirts stacked to the ceiling. Or you can just have a couple of your more recent comics stacked on the table with some sample copies for people to peruse and a poster or two.

This second approach is simpler, bolder, clearer and more direct. If people want your life story, they’ll ask for it. Let your prospects tell you exactly how interested they are; give them a chance to take interest before you force the details on them. It works in all fields, not just comics: two or three samples of washing machine parts, adhesive tapes or nuts and bolts will make a better, quicker impression than every product your company has ever produced. Tell somebody something, and they’ll remember. Tell them everything and they’ll forget.

Offering Bad Company

It’s hard to stay friendly and cordial throughout an entire convention, and chances are you’re going to have a couple of unpleasant confrontations whether you want to or not. Letting it get to you is a surefire way to lose any prospective customers you might have had at your display. If you can smile and thank everyone, whether they buy something or not, then you have something of a superpower. By this point, halfway through day two of the convention or trade show, every other sales person there is going to be in a bad mood and not really paying much attention to the people who come in. Or worse, they’ll be really short and curt with them.

By staying positive, shaking hands and being honestly happy to see everyone who enters your booth, you stand a good shot at making sales long after the point where everyone else just wants to pack up and head home.

These aren’t the only mistakes you can make, but they’re three of the most common. Stay organized and bring spares, keep your spirits up, be clear and be concise in your display layout.

Find out more about trade show display. Get more information on trade show booths and pop-up displays.

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