Marketing Expert Series: 3 Killer Tips to Trade Show Success

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with trade show expert and author John A. Hill, Founder and CEO of John A. Hill & Associates, Inc. I have to say John is simply a fountain of incredible information regarding trade shows. This presented a challenge for me as I simply could have spoken to him for hours and hours on the subject however I was able to pull from my conversation with him 3 simple yet incredible tips that in and of themselves could explode your trade show success.

So without further adieu, here you go:

Dean: John, in your book “Tips and Tales from the Booth” you break down trade shows into three distinct parts:

  1. the pre-show effort,
  2. the show effort itself, and
  3. the post-show effort.

If you could give only one tip for each one of those, what would they be?

John: Well, as far as the pre-show effort is concerned, I would say, know the show that you are going to. So many people go to a show and they don’t know their audience, they don’t know the profile of the attendees. Therefore, if you’re selling toys, and you go to a show that has people 60 years old and above, I don’t think it’s a good show for you.

In the same way, I think that it’s important that you know the show you are going to. In fact, I recommend to all my clients that they go to the show first before they actually exhibit so that they can see what they are getting into.

Dean: And I agree with that. I see that often myself where, number one, a lot of people don’t even know who their target market really is, let alone match it to a specific show that caters to that target market. Does that seem to be the case?

John: Absolutely, they don’t do enough investigation regarding the trade show to know exactly who is going to be there and the type of clients, the type of attendees that are going to be at the show, and would it be a show that they would invite their clients to.

Dean: Fantastic, that’s a great tip. Now how about the show itself? What would be the one tip there?

John: As far as the show itself, everybody in the booth should tell the same story. So I recommend that they have a script. There’s only so many questions that you are going to be asked at a trade show and if you have a script everybody should be able to say the same thing. And with the script you should have a good qualification form. Those two things go hand in hand. Not just one that will give you your name, your address and your telephone number, but to really qualify you because if you’re at that booth, you’re there for a reason.

If an attendee comes to your booth, he or she is there for a reason. They want to do business; they want to find out about your product. So if you have a good qualification form and you answer the right questions from your script and so forth, there’s no reason why they won’t stay with you and want to give you as much information as possible.

Dean: Now that’s fantastic. Whether it’s the marketing process, the sales process we see it all the time. A lot of times we get the same exact questions over and over again. So what you’re suggesting is basically have answers to those, is that correct?

John: Absolutely.

Dean: That’s a huge tip. Now the third element that I wanted to ask was the post-show effort. What would be the one tip there?

John: Follow up; follow up; follow up. You have to continue to follow up because those are qualified leads and if you’re not taking advantage of them and so forth, I think you’re missing out on a major opportunity to close good business for your company.

Dean: Fantastic, fantastic. So in closing, I just want to add onto this, first thank you John for these tips, they were fantastic. And if anyone listening to this or reading this would like to get more information or more tips such as these, John has recently released a fantastic book, a very comprehensive book, but an easy read and a fun read called, “Tips and Tales from the Booth, Avoiding Trade Show Mistakes.” My guest again today was John A. Hill from John A. Hill and Associates and thank you very much.

John: It was a pleasure to be here, thank you.

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