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Trade Show Zen

November 9th, 2008 · 7 Comments · Trade Show Marketing

What is trade show zen? Is it the trade show marketing enlightenment that one gets from reading the wisdom of the trade show guru? Not exactly, but reading the Trade Show Guru blog probably helps. Is it designing and setting up your trade show booth space to incorporate the essential design elements of trade show feng shui? Not really, but that’s not a bad idea. Is trade show zen sitting crosslegged in your booth in the morning meditating and chanting positive thoughts before the show opens? Definately not. Trade show zen is the sense of calmness and serenity that comes from proper trade show planning and from not acting like (or needing to act like) a carnival barker or used car salesman when people walk by your trade show booth. The steps to achieving trade show zen are easy for those that pay attention.

Pre-Show Planning
As I wrote in my earlier post on trade show planning, you need to properly plan for your trade show. Proper planning equals calmness which equals zen. Proper trade show planning means making sure you’ve picked the right trade show to exhibit at. It also means making sure you’ve developed a budget for all the costs associated with exhibiting at the trade show and that you’ve determined your potential and likely profit will exceed that budget (and thus your trade show exhibiting plans are a money making proposition). But most importantly, proper trade show planning means that you’ve actively and effectively promoted your trade show exhibit BEFORE the show and that you can count on qualified prospects to come and find you at the show. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by sending out a pre-show mailer to all the people that be attending the show.  I actually recommend doing a series of mailers, as repetition is often critical to getting through to people. Your mailers should of course make it clear that you’ll be exhibiting at the show (and where – i.e. your booth number and a map), and your mailers should give your prospects a good reason to stop by. You need to let them know what you’ll be showing at the show, and how it will help them. It also doesn’t hurt to offer a free trade show giveaway or prize to anyone that stops by with the mailer.

At The Show Behavior
If you let people know in advance to come by your booth (and give them good reason to), then you won’t have to worry about booth traffic. It’s much easier to greet someone that comes up to your booth and says “hi, I got your mailer and I’d like to know more about your new potato-pealing-widget“, instead of acting like the above mentioned carnival barker or used car salesman, who confronts everyone that passes by (whether they’re interested or not) and tells them they should stop and listen to a sales pitch. Carnival barkers and used car salesmen have no trade show zen. Those that plan ahead and arrange for qualified traffic in advance, those people will achieve trade show zen. And reading the trade show guru for trade show marketing enlightenment and to discover an occasional trade show secret probably doesn’t hurt either…


7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mitch // Nov 10, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    That’s good advice, if booth operators get a list from the organizers ahead of time. This is actually an interesting topic because I go to lots of shows and see vendors all the time, and most of them are sitting there waiting for people to come to them. You could probably make a lot of money if you could write a behavioral book on how vendors should act when manning a booth.

    Of course, all it takes for me to stop is candy or food. 😉

  • 2 The Trade Show Guru // Nov 10, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    hi Mitch,
    I’ll be honest… the bowl of candy trick always stops me as well, which is why I usually have a sugar headache by the end of the day when I go to a trade show as an attendee.
    But in all seriousness, exhibitors that are “waiting for people to come to them” are making a huge mistake. No trade show zen there! ~ Steve

  • 3 Tim@Redneck Beer Gifts // Nov 10, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Great article.
    I love trade shows. Speaking strictly from the point of view of a visitor to many shows (although I have been involved in many displays as well), there is one behavior that makes me head opposite of a display. I can not stand a look of desperation on the part of a exhibitor. If my visiting your booth will make or break the whole shebang for you then I just feel too much pressure and vamoose. I think the carnie types are funny, and have had to stiffle a laugh at the more insistent ones.
    And yes, I do find out before visiting a show who will be there. Otherwise, I might be wasting my time, and this way I know what to look for.

  • 4 Dennis Edell // Nov 10, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Hey, I just wanted to drop by and thank you for popping over to my place; I appreciate the interaction. 🙂

    I love the comment policy btw, cracked me up…no need to approve this. LOL

  • 5 The Trade Show Guru // Nov 10, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    You actually read my comment policy, and per Rule#8: “If you can’t think of a comment that satisfies Rule #1 or Rule #2, you might try flattery. “
    How could I not approve your comment?
    ~ Steve

  • 6 Gail Hernandez // Mar 3, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Guru, you are too funny! I’m going to start following you … maybe you could be a Guest Columnist on my web site … or just send funny emails. After 500 trade shows myself, my brain is fried … hence, my evenings spent reading blogs such as yours. Keep up the fabulous work. See you at a show?!

    The Trade Show Maven (Gail Hernandez)

  • 7 The Trade Show Guru // Mar 4, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    hi Gail,
    If you’ve been to 500 trade shows, you must have figured out this “trade show zen” thing long ago, or you never would have survived. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. ~ Steve

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