4 foolproof ways to optimize your stand’s performance

Entering a living room is easy. To spoil this opportunity is also easy. If you come to your first show (or your second, or third or fourth…) with an overly relaxed mindset, an uncompetitive approach and high expectations, you’re in for a bad time.

While it is up to trade show organizers to attract attendees, it’s up to you to convince them, and just being there won’t be enough. Your stand must make an impression. Whether you’re dealing with a hybrid audience or settling into an industry-only trade show, you need to stand out, and that’s easier said than done in today’s marketing world. To make sure your salon trip is not just a waste of time and money, there are a few simple but important guidelines that will get you on the right track.

  1. Your trade show team

If there’s one occasion that calls your A-Team, this is it. Your salon team should be the epitome of your brand’s attitude, philosophy and expertise. A polite, clean and confident assembly by your featured staff will instantly make your booth more welcoming and attractive. Don’t be afraid to compartmentalize too; for every rep or two who excel in marketing and sales but lack back-end skills, add a “mechanic” to help them answer the more difficult questions, especially if you work in a complex industry where there is often a gap between technical operation and presentation. Let your staff focus on their strengths instead of being distracted by their weaknesses. And, for good measure, display a little diversity if you can. No matter what type of business you do, people love to see men and women from different backgrounds doing something together.

  1. Your display

Again, appearances matter. It should go without saying, but I say it anyway: your stand must look good. It is Well, not necessarily Dear. While there is nothing wrong with having a solid budget, you are here to make money, not to spend it. You don’t need the latest flat screen monitors, the best sound system, cutting edge graphic design, or a live band. You just need to look organized and clean, use colors correctly, and pay attention to accessibility. For example, if you go for a display with lots of text, readability is key. Your literature should be visible and eye-catching to passers-by, not just those who already devote their attention to it. Your colors should be friendly and ideally brand specific, but not too vivid so as not to be distracting. Minimalism is always a safe bet, as busy visuals can come between your staff and your audience. Attendees will forgive a simple and functional booth, but the clutter and visual noise will leave a bad taste and make you look sloppy.

  1. The experience vs the product

Think back to your last trade show, when you spent some time away from your booth observing the competition or just looking for something interesting. What is most memorable: the promising goods and services you may have seen on display, or the engaging, enjoyable human experiences you may have had? You know your product is good. If not, well, come back now and go back to the drawing board. You attend a trade show because you have something to sell – something unique, innovative, competitive or whatever different – and if you didn’t believe it, you wouldn’t have come. Focus less on your product and more on the experience your booth can offer.

Design presentations that invite interaction and generate gossip. Take advantage of this charismatic A-Team you have assembled and engage your audience in four-dimensional games and experiences that demonstrate not only your product, but also the message and emotion behind it. Whatever type of demo you choose, make sure it reinforces your brand not just at the beginning and end, but throughout its middle. It doesn’t matter whether you are selling lossless data compression or pepper mills; your Brand experience has more impact than your product, and if they remember your name, that’s a small victory.

  1. Keep your audience moving

Your team is on the move, your presentation hits like a spear and ideally your booth itself is neat and functional. You have the ingredients for success. Now you have to remember why you are here in the first place: to plant seeds and generate leads. It will be up to your staff to execute it, but their performance is ultimately based on your lead, so have a system in place to manage foot traffic and maximize your potential audience. Participants should go in and out but should not feel rushed; ideally, the end of your presentation should be clear and attendees should be naturally directed to representatives who are ready to answer any questions, clear up any misunderstandings, and most importantly, record their information. This is your end goal, and by making sure your booth is running smoothly and using your time efficiently, you will ensure that you leave the room with a long list of contacts when it is time to take it down.

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