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Plan For Your Next Trade Show Appearance To Be A Success

By Harry Hoover
Posted Monday, January 31, 2005

Most people who consider trade show planning think of it in terms of logistics planning. In other words planning for details like finding an exhibit, producing graphics, shipping the exhibit to the show, ordering services, etc.

But seeing the full potential of a trade show program for your company requires a different type of planning. It requires setting objectives for show participation for your company, and short-range goals for each show you plan to attend. This show plan should be a written document that drives show participation decisions from show selection to exhibit design, to evaluation and measurement tools.

Here are a few things to consider so that your next trade show will be a success:

* Set Objectives - Set specific, measurable and meaningful objectives. Relay to those working the booth.

* Accountability - Everyone should agree to meet the specific objectives that have been set.

* Booth Behavior - Each person must learn the 'art' of presenting themselves to their audience, they should be aware of negative body language and develop a positive 'UP' attitude.

* Sales techniques - Learn the specialized 'show' sales techniques to help complete the objectives, which include:

o Introduction - Look like you are happy to be there, make eye contact, and ask open-ended questions.

o Qualify - Before you tell a prospect anything; make sure that you know whom they are and why they are in your booth.

o Presentation - demonstrate whenever possible. Talk benefits instead of features. Find the solution to your prospect's problem. Listen to the prospect's needs.

o Close - Disengage with call to action or with a call for reaction.

o Follow-up - Complete any promise you have made during the presentation or close within 10 days.

Remember pre-show publicity - Make those last minute phone calls to your 10 best prospects; invite them to the booth.

Post-show evaluation

- Survey booth workers
- Survey attendees to get their opinion of your staff, your booth, and the products and services offered by your company.

About the Author
Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR, (http://www.hoover-ink.com). He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Duke Energy, Levolor, North Carolina Tourism, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX and Verbatim.