DEB IMAGEHate Trade Shows? Learn to Love ‘em!

It’s easy to get trade show burn-out. They’re a grind. Same old, same old!

  • Same set-up run around.
  • Same tear down hassles.
  • Same lame questions.
  • Same bad attendee fits.
  • Same lack of response when you follow-up.

How can you reinvigorate yourself and your staff for the next important (and expensive) trade show?

Plan! Plan! Plan!

Gather your staff and a flip chart. Assign someone to capture ideas (ideally hire a facilitator to keep things flowing and on track). Have an agenda:

  • What do we want to accomplish at this show?
    • Introduce new items?
    • Write orders?
    • Meet existing customers?
    • Meet with targeted prospects?
    • Interview manufacturer reps?
    • Find suppliers?
  • What went well last time?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What can we eliminate?
  • What is our expected conduct during and after show hours?

Once the objectives are outlined, assign tasks and timelines. For example, who will call and set up appointments with existing key accounts? Who will track down and invite targeted prospects? Don’t leave these super important details to chance. Be persistent to get what you want – otherwise you’ll need to settle for what shows up.

Next, craft an elevator speech that defines who you are, why you’re doing what you’re doing; and what you are doing. Everyone in your booth should use a personalized version of this as a way of introduction.

Hi, I’m Deb, the VP of Sales. I joined ABC Coffee Company FIVE years ago. After learning about fair trade issues at a conference, I decided to pursue a career in the coffee trade. ABC is devoted to sourcing and roasting the best coffee from the best coffee growing regions around the world. How many cases may we sell you?

Now STOP TALKING. Don’t keep rattling on…..start asking about them, their company, their reasons for being at the show. Once you’ve engaged them and know what their values are, you can match their mission and vision to your features and benefits. If you dump all your tools on the table, you don’t know which ones are important and which ones might actually be a turn off. Choose your ammunition carefully. Don’t over sell. And when they say yes, STOP selling and start writing the order!

For more tips on trade shows, here’s a FREE download The 7 Mistakes Exhibitors Make

CoachMaz has been attending the Fancy Food trade shows since 1976.