Virtually Anything Office – Lessons Learned at a Trade Show
Recently, I hosted a vendor table at a local networking event. I thought I would share my first trade show experience with you. It was an interesting experience and I sure learned some things that I would do differently the next time. Here are my 7 tips to think about when participating at a Trade Show.
Watch your budget; it’s not something I initially thought of but WOW you can really spend getting ready for these shows. Make sure the event will warrant your investment.
2. Plan Ahead
I spent hours developing my presentation board (did I tell you I’m a big planner?), an absolute must if you are going to have a memorable, show-stopping display! I gathered whatever I could think of – testimonials from my clients, information about myself and a portfolio of work I’ve completed to show my services.
3. Be Professional
I wanted to make my booth look ‘professional’, after all, I’m a VA offering professional business solutions, so I thought It would be important to dress the part. I’m glad I did. It’s important for your booth to look professional, and to dress professionally too! Your business image is dependent on your appearance and how your display/conduct yourself. As always, make sure you’ve got a succinct infomercial/elevator speech that you can deliver quickly to all passersby.
Don’t try to tell everyone about all the services you provide; have this available on a handout. Focus on one key area of your business that you want to expand and talk about this to everyone that stops looking for information. This is a great idea since you can then change your area of focus at every event you attend.
I learned to have MORE handouts to give out; you don’t want to run out of material that people can take with them to remember you by. I didn’t bring enough with me, but fortunately most stoppers-by picked up my business card on their way through. Also, have your business cards stuck to everything at your table. Your goal should be to be well represented and remembered by the time all the vendor’s have been visited at the event.
I also found that having something to nibble on helped stop passersby at my table. It’s amazing what chocolate will do to draw people to you!
Everyone likes giveaways, so make sure you have lots of them. Aside from samples of your work that people can take away with them, have some other small items available that they can take along. This doesn’t have to be anything expensive (magnets, pens etc are a great momento and reminder about your services).
6. Bring Extra Supplies
Some of the things I should have had and didn’t (the lessons learned part) included extra supplies of tape, scissors, name tags, a signup sheet for people that wanted more information about my business. I also learned there are 101 uses for double sided Velcro. Even though I painstakingly taped my information sheets to my presentation board, inevitably some of them started to give way and fall off; and double sided Velcro lets you quickly stick things back on securely. Next time I’ll make sure everything is ‘stuck’ with Velcro before I go to a trade show.
7. Physical Demands
I learned that I should have brought extra shoes! My feet were hurting after standing in one place for an extended period of time. Also, take water! When you’re talking to everyone, you’ll need to wet your whistle every once in a while so you don’t get a creaky voice.
All in all I had a great day. I was able to interface with many like minded business people and I’m geared up to do another trade show when the opportunity arises.
How about you? Do you have tips to share? I’d love to get your feedback. Here on my blog, you get commentluv. That’s a plugin that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment. You’ll find the comment link below.
Until next time,