Tradeshow Success: Execution

Good execution is fundamental to one's tradeshow success

EXECUTION Achieving Success at a Trade Show STAGE 2

Achieving Success at a Trade Show / Stage 2


This publication has been produced with assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the Caribbean Export Development Agency and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

Last minute ideas ~ Step 1 ~

Too late? Never! Even the most meticulous planner overlooks things. Try not to stress about it. A little last-minute agility and ingenuity can make even the 99th hour productive.


At the show add-ons

You might think that you’ve missed an opportunity to add value to your

attendance by missing/ignoring deadlines for booking sponsorships and speaking spots, but it is possible to find add-ons even after the show has begun. Remember that trade show promoters are just as interested as you are in enhancing their bottom line. They might be willing to sell you an unclaimed sponsorship even after the doors have opened, at a discounted rate, too. Once you’ve spied an opportunity, move quickly and decisively to claim it.


Ask about: • Unclaimed sponsorships • Discounted prices • Empty spots on panels • Speaking opportunities • Engagement with the trade show’s promotional team

Achieving Success at a Trade Show / Stage 2


Get set! ~ Step 2 ~

The final few hours should be taken up with registration, preparing your space, and finalizing team members’ responsibilities.



Before the event starts there will likely be a sign-in process. Check the date and time to collect your credentials and ensure that you schedule time for it.

When it’s time to sign in, make sure that you get all the wristbands, lanyards and exhibitor badges you’ll need for your team. Review printed material for accuracy.

Achieving Success at a Trade Show / Stage 2


Prep your space

Let’s assume you’ve arrived the day before the show opens. You need to survey your space and get your product in, collect your exhibitor badges, and pick up

any promotional items you may have shipped in advance. Expect a flurry of activity getting your signage up and your displays just right.

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• Assess your space • Double check measurements

• Locate electrical outlets • Identify obstructions or other problems to be solved before you set up • Get your promotional items and products ready for display

Communicate with team members

You want your team to walk into the show “on message”. All team members should know their roles and responsibilities:

Who’s keeping the list of sales leads?

Who’s checking out the competition and taking notes on the quality of their displays and promotional items?

Who’s handing out the sales material and answering enquiries?

Can your team members?

Deliver your elevator pitch

Engage potential customers

Collect sales leads

Perform a live demo

Evaluate competitors

Answer queries

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Work the floor ~ Step 3 ~

It is possible to screen visitors with a skip in your step and a smile on your face. Hang on to the valuable ones and usher the others along.


The Art of the Approach

Pushy selling isn’t alright, but neither is being a wallflower. The most effective salespeople work trade show floors by establishing eye contact before engaging a visitor with an interesting question or a curious observation. You can only move on to the next step if the step before has been successful.

A little practice will soon make perfect. Expect a few brushoffs and don’t take them personally, or you’ll wilt long before meeting the all-important prospects to come.

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Flash those pearly whites!

Use your obvious advantage: that Caribbean warmth. Take responsibility for engaging attendees in conversation and remember that you’ll sometimes find yourself talking to an enthusiastic listener who could never be a buyer. Take a minute to qualify your buyers before jumping into a sales presentation or in-depth discussion. Speak clearly, at a moderate pace, and maintain good eye contact.

Collecting leads doesn’t have to be laborious. Sometimes the best impression is of efficiency and experience. A successful interaction can last as little as 30 seconds, in which you deliver your pitch, get the visitor’s business card and see them off with a smile. Your elevator pitch, however, should be well‑practiced and smoothly delivered to ensure the success of fleeting transactions.

Achieving Success at a Trade Show / Stage 2


Staff etiquette

Swamped by the minutiae of planning, it’s easy to overlook the single factor that can easily differentiate your booth: Staff etiquette. A one-page list of “Etiquette Tips” distributed to booth staff before the show could do wonders for their performance. It might include sage advice worth repeating:

• Greet attendees in front of the booth • Only sit if your client also wants to sit • Keep up your enthusiasm and manners • Avoid eating in the booth Adhering to the etiquette rules means having adequate staff. You want your team looking fresh, which means giving enough time for lunch and washroom breaks.

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Welcome your neighbours’ visitors As a small to medium-sized enterprise, you’re going to be awed by some of your bigger neighbours and their show-stopping displays. Try not to be intimidated! It’s another opportunity to be enterprising. If they’re pulling crowds right next door, you’ll benefit from the foot traffic. Steer some of it right into your space.

Qualifying leads


Lots of people will wander by your booth during a show. In your zeal to promote your business, you can sometimes end up pitching to a person who doesn’t need your product or service. And if you’re running a one-man or one-woman booth, you really won’t have the time to spend on dead-ends. These types of questions, tailored to your business, can help separate the sheep from less valuable ruminants.

What’s the business problem you’d like to fix with our offering?

Would you mind sharing a rough estimate of what you’re currently spending on similar products/services?

What other kinds of products/ solutions are you evaluating?

What are you hoping to accomplish in a new partnership?

How can I help you make a decision?

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Listen carefully to your visitor’s responses: The answers should shape

future interactions. Now you can send them information they definitely need rather than stuff you think they want.

Leverage Social Media

Put some effort into keeping your social media platforms buzzing with images and pithy insights.

Integrating social media into your tradeshow and event marketing plan is a great way to enhance your company’s next tradeshow presence. Take the show to those who can’t physically be there by posting timely photos and show updates or going live.

It’s easy to do a “live” feed from the event, but it does require some production. Think about your audience and the message you want to get across. Keep your spiel tight, and acknowledge your own limitations. Don’t roll camera if you aren’t fluent or woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

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Using the right hashtags can also help to expose your brand – #brandmaximization. You’ll want to know what tags other businesses are using in the space as well as the event label, if there is one. Almost every event nowadays will have its own hashtag. The simplest must-use tag will always be something like #eventname+current year.

LIVE Feed Tips and Tricks • Tell fans when you’re broadcasting ahead of time. • Go live when you have a strong connection. • Write a catchy description before going live. • Ask viewers to subscribe to Live notifications. • Say hello to commenters by name; respond to their comments live. • Use a closing line to signal the end of the broadcast.

Achieving Success at a Trade Show / Stage 2


Save some for later


Create shareable media: Take photos and video at the event that you plan to post after the event.

Example: The video from a single talk can be made into multiple forms of media, appropriate for sharing on social media.

Heading out ~ Step 4 ~

It’s all over, but there’s still lots to do. Hopefully you can find some time for an informal post-mortem after everything’s stowed away.


Packing it up

All good things come to an end. Most shows won’t allow you to start dismantling before they close on the final day, but when it is time to break down and head home, you want to be ready with your storage crates and packing material. Booth installation and dismantling can cost a pretty penny, but there are ways to keep those figures in check. You’ll probably

be paying by the hour for union labour to install electricals and carry large parts of your display. What you can do is manage your labour and take on small tasks like fetching items from the service desk. Avoid paying overtime by knowing the rules and making enquiries beforehand. An evening or night-time tear-down on the last day of the show will probably cost you more than waiting until the next day to dismantle.

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Start analysing


Even at this early stage, you should have a fairly good idea of whether you’ve accomplished your objectives. It’s a good idea to have an informal post-mortem with your team. (Over dinner, at your expense.) What went well, what didn’t, what could we have done better? The conversation will form the basis for your report.

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