Episode 015 – Top 7 Traps to Avoid that can Ruin Your Results & ROI
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Here are the top 7 traps to avoid when working trade shows. These are not mistakes – traps are things and situations you can get stuck in if you’re not careful. Things that at the moment might not even seem like it’s anything wrong.
TRAPS TO AVOID AT THE SHOW:
Trap #1 – Don’t compare your booth to others.
— It’s easy to look at other booths and think they are doing everything better than you are. This could put you in the wrong mood from the start and hurt your chances of success.
— But at that point, there is nothing you can do about the display, the lights, the literature, the giveaways — nothing.
— But there’s everything you can do about your attitude, engaging attendees in positive and meaningful conversations, and reaching your goals.
— Now if you get some ideas from other booths that you’d like to upgrade or try for future shows, then go take pictures. Grab some of that nicer literature. Even talk to the people at that booth and ask them who built their display or where they got their backdrop.
— Turn it into a positive experience for you! Just don’t let it drag you down!
So trap #1 – don’t compare. That only leads to a negative attitude which will definitely affect your performance!
Trap #2 – Not resetting your booth each day
— Before the show starts on day one, you and your team make sure everything is perfect. The display looks great, the literature is filled in the rack, and you have your giveaway items in a perfect pyramid – your booth looks like it came out of a magazine!
— But when you get today two or three, the booth just isn’t as perfect. Odds are the majority of people walking by are brand new and didn’t see you on day 1 or at very least didn’t stop by. Don’t you want everyone to have the best impression of your booth and your company?
— So get to the show a few minutes early at the beginning of each day, and have your booth looking like it did on day 1! Suggest assigning one person to check how your booth looks once or twice during the day each day. They can be in charge of refilling the literature, the giveaways, picking some paper scraps off the carpet, and making the booth look new again!
That’s Trap #2 – Not resetting your booth. Take a few minutes and make your booth look great again!
Trap #3 – Thinking that scanning badges or gathering business cards is enough.
— Success is not just having a bowl is full or a ton of badges scanned.
— Think about how much time and effort is going to be spent following up. So many emails and phone calls will be made to people who will never buy from you.
— You need to be sure these people are qualified! Ask them the right questions to make sure they are qualified before getting their card. Or if you have a great conversation at your booth and get their business card or scan their badge, then make notes to refer to before following up to increase your odds of success.
That’s Trap #3 – Just getting business cards or scanning badges without qualifying
Trap #4 – Assuming your booth staff knows how to work a show.
— Just because your staff knows how to talk to people or has worked 100 shows before doesn’t mean they know how to engage people and qualify them in a show setting, plus do everything to help you hit your show goals.
— You need to train them at the very least on the basics! Go back and listen to Episode 3 on Training Your Staff for Success
— Some of your veterans may think they don’t need the training or resist. You can ask them to be involved in the training so they have some input and buy-in. But they still need to be trained!
That’s Trap #4 – Assuming your booth knows how to work a show and not taking the time to train them properly.
Trap #5 – Assuming certain people that are just walking past your booth are not interested or not qualified.
— Never make the assumption that attendees have gotten all the information they need from your booth to know they don’t need what you have to offer. You have to ask them a quick question to engage them!
— Don’t dismiss attendees who are in jeans and a t-shirt or just don’t have that “Look”, and only focus on people who are in suits or have whatever that look is. That person in casual clothes may appear to be screaming “I’m not qualified!!” Don’t fall into this trap!
— If they are at the show, no matter who they are, they can most likely qualify their company. And even if they are the lowest level person in the company, they can probably tell you who the decision-maker is and how to get hold of that person – and usually, they will!
— Lastly, sometimes even the most casually dressed people can be key decision-makers. But you don’t know unless you ask!
So Trap #5 is to not make assumptions about people that are walking past your booth. Engage everyone!
Trap #6 – Getting into long, rambling discussions about nothing with people who are not going to become customers.
— If someone is going to spend a lot of time in your booth talking about the weather or where they went for dinner or about things irrelevant to your business, then they probably aren’t serious or a decision-maker. Now if you completely qualified them and want to take the time to begin relationship building, then fantastic – unless there are more potential customers walking by your booth.
— However, most serious decision-makers at trade shows want to make the most of their time while they’re at the show. They will want to move on from your booth to others. Respect their time as well and make sure you’re not the one making all the small talk!
That’s Trap #6 – don’t get sucked into long discussions with attendees – especially if they’ll never buy from you.
And finally – Trap #7 – Be careful of the after-hours socializing.
— I hope I’m not stepping too hard on your toes here. I know this is the highlight of the show for some of you.
— Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t go – you definitely should take advantage of every opportunity to network and build relationships with your customers and prospects.
— However, be sure not to enjoy yourself TOO much – if you know what I mean.
— Some people having too good of a time can say things they normally wouldn’t say, like divulging some confidential company information, or things that may be considered inappropriate for the workplace. Less sleep than normal, plus the after-effects of all that enjoyment can throw you off your game.
— So know your limits and ease back on them a little. Maybe nurse that drink a little longer than you would normally.
— You and your company have invested way too much in the show and are relying on you to help hit goals to have you showing up the next day not feeling, looking, or performing at your best.
Here are the top 7 Traps to avoid that will lead to lower results:
— Trap #1 – Don’t compare your booth to others.
— Trap #2 – Not resetting your booth each day.
— Trap #3 – Just getting business cards or scanning badges. This will lead to wasted time and ineffective follow-ups!
— Trap #4 – Assuming your staff knows how to work a show.
— Trap #5 – Never make assumptions about attendees and ignore them.
— Trap #6 – Getting into long rambling conversations, especially with those attendees who will never buy from you
— Trap #7 – Watch that after-hours socializing. You want to make sure you are always at your best.
Avoid these traps and let your staff know about them as well! And if you see your staff falling into them at a show, fix it! Pull your people aside and train them on the right way to do things.
Fall into these traps and your ROI will fall right with you!
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This episode is brought to you by Audible! Audible is offering Trade Show U listeners a Free Audiobook with a 30-day Trial Membership!
Just go to audibletrial.com/TradeShowU
About the author, Jim
Jim Cermak has over 25 years of marketing, consulting, and training experience, and has planned and worked hundreds of Trade Shows. He gets a little overly excited about Trade Shows, and puts that passion into helping companies get better results!