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How To Prepare For A Trade Show - Tips On Improving Trade Show Results

Having a booth in a trade show is a popular way for companies to meet potential customers and introduce new products. Companies spend thousands and sometimes millions of dollars on trade shows, but they don’t always get their money’s worth. Common mistakes include not preparing the sales staff and not following up on leads. To get the most out of your next trade show, follow these tips:
• Pick the right show. Ask the promoter about last year’s attendance, the types of people who attended(rank, company size, etc.), and who else will be exhibiting. Keep in mind that the biggest show may not always be the best one for your needs. Find out whether or not the promoter has a good track record.
• Determine your objective. Companies that expect to make a lot of on-the-spot sales may be disappointed. It can take months or even years before many leads result in sales. Some trade shows prohibit on-site sales.
• Prepare your sales staff. Train salespeople to ask short, open-ended questions to quickly establish whether a visitor is a potential customer and what his needs are.
• Promote your booth. Send letters or e-mails to reporters,editors, and potential customers, inviting them to visit your booth. Follow up with phone calls to people on your “A” list. Consider advertising in trade publications or show literature.
• Customize signs for your booth. When visitors glance at your booth, they should be able to tell three things about you in three seconds: your company name, what you do, and at least one benefit of your product or service.
• Project a positive image. Salespeople should be knowledgeable, be enthusiastic, and be ready to talk with visitors.
• Have a gimmick, if appropriate. Giveaways can be an effective way to create a memorable impression. Freebies can include office supplies, such as pens or highlighters; creative items that relate to your product or business; or unusual gadgets. Emblazon the items with your company logo and phone number.
• Follow through. An estimated three out of four contacts made at trade shows never receive a follow-up. To expedite the process, prepare envelopes containing product literature before you go to a show. When you return, address the envelopes and add a personal note.
By making a few simple changes in your approach to trade shows, your company may become better prepared, improve its results, and get

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