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#2.14: The “Good Exhibit Experience” Issue

1 > Get them to your booth
2 > Delay them while you have them
3 > Do anything to get their address
4 > You’ve got to see this: More great trade show ideas

1 > Get them to your booth

What’s the point of buying expensive exhibit space when no one knows you exist on the heavily populated exhibit floor? Do anything to call attention to your company so that you can strike up conversations that turn into meaningful business relationships. The Association for Interactive Media rented a baby jaguar from a local zoo to attract visitors to its booth. Within minutes, the floor of the Direct Marketing Association’s Annual Conference was abuzz about the cute furry animal. The group received an unprecedented amount of visitors to its booth, which later turned into a ton of qualified leads.

The lesson: Be innovative on getting potential clients to your booth. Maximize the cost for your booth space.

2 > Delay them while you have them

You’ve honed your elevator pitch to a well-rehearsed soliloquy, but there’s infinitely more value in a two-way conversation. Delay your booth visitors long enough to find out what they do and create credibility and a lasting impression. We’ve developed partnerships and brought on a number of clients by making luggage tags for our booth visitors. We bought a laminating machine and luggage tag holders and in 90 seconds, a visitor to our booth has a brand new luggage tag with her business card on one side and our URL and logo on the other. The point is that each tag takes about 90 seconds to make, buying you precious time to build new relationships. Plus, if you make multiple tags, you can encourage them to return to pick them up later, which equates to a chance for further conversation.

The lesson: Find a value-added service or delaying tactic that gives you more time to pitch potential clients. You need to have a real conversation to pitch your wares, so make one happen.

3 > Do anything to get their address

Many exhibitors host sweepstakes for a one-year lease on a Porsche or trade meaningless chochkies for contact information. Regardless of how you do it, an exhibitor’s goal is to be aggressive so that he’ll come home with a war chest of business cards and a list of names to send personal thank you notes. Invest in renting a badge scanner, which will give you a data file at the end of the show that will import into your contact-management database at the office. Also, if you’re collecting business cards, buy a truly handy piece of hardware — a business card scanner. This also exports the data from scanned business cards into the proper fields of your favorite contact management database. Act quickly when you return to the office so that you stay front of mind of your hottest contacts.

The lesson: Make the best use of technology to maximize the amount of names you get from your exhibition and move quickly on the follow-up. The goal is to get the information into your usable format so that you can begin building valuable relationships immediately after the show.

4 > You’ve got to see this: More great trade show ideas

Since we’re on the topic of making the most of your trade show experience, Jay Conrad Levinson, et al, published “Guerrilla Trade Show Selling,” which takes the position of maximizing your time as an exhibitor and an attendee. This quick read is filled with tactics and ideas on how to meet more people, get more leads, and close more sales at your next trade show.

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  1. steve M September 6, 2007 at 1:44 am #

    Great article,The best way to boost your brand exposure,advertising and marketing, Thats perfect for trade shows / expo’s / lobbies / point-of-sales / exhibitions / conferences by the help of innovative banner stand display and large format printing service because links are not that visible as
    compare to banner ads. You can get more information on this subject at

  2. Alex Bell October 26, 2007 at 4:21 am #


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