Different tactics work for different people, but there’s always something new you can learn at an event from another exhibitor. Find what works for you, but never stop exploring and changing it up a bit. Find what draws visitor attention to you and your booth and use that as your base while working smaller ideas into that. Remember, though, that you want positive interactions. There will always be events with tchotchke hunters, but if that’s the case, be more exclusive with your giveaways and try to talk to those that seem interested in your company and services rather than your free gadgets.
Feel out the crowd
Observation is key in the first hour of a tradeshow. You wouldn’t be at an event if you didn’t already have a good idea of what type of people would be there, but every event will be different. Get a feel for what the audience is looking for, and adjust your approach on the floor to match.
Work with other people
If you’ve got another person working a tradeshow with you, one of you should take the time to scope out the scene outside of your own booth. Walk around the tradeshow and see what other exhibitors are doing, what their booth looks like, and what type of people are attracted to their booths. Take notes on what you like and dislike about specific vendors and learn from them. There’s nothing wrong with re-purposing their ideas for a later event.
Watch what others do
This is especially useful when there are competitors of yours at the show. Don’t be a creeper, but watch the exhibitors around you and see what they are doing well, and what they may be doing wrong. Keep in mind that what works for someone else might not always be the best route for you. Lead collection is obviously a huge part of tradeshows, so see what others do in order to collect their leads. Are they passing out tchotchkes to everyone that comes by the booth or are they being more exclusive?
Another big thing to look at is how the salesperson carries him/herself. Are they interacting with the show goers or are they waiting for people to come to them? Outgoing and energetic salespeople are a must at tradeshows, no one wants to walk up and start a conversation with someone that looks bored and shut out.
Talk to people at the tradeshow
Talk with the other exhibitors and see if you can get any intel on how they think the tradeshow is going and compare “notes”. Find out if they have been to these events before and how this one compares to others. Competitors might not want to talk to you and you might not want to talk to them, but there will likely be a few friendlies around that you can get to know.
Take your own notes
After each event, take notes on what worked for you and what the demographic was. This will be nice to have for future events hosted by the same company. Each tradeshow is different, so don’t do the same thing at every event. Keep an eye out for the median age, gender, work positions, and so forth at each event so next year you can have the correct giveaways and literature for your crowd.
Interested in tradeshows? This article will help you decide which to attend.