When Avinode arrived on the bizav scene in 2002, we made a beeline for where our industry colleagues would be: at tradeshows!
Given we were a new tech-oriented company wanting to make friends, we aimed to make a splash right out the gate. Since then we’ve taken a lot of joy in constantly innovating how we show up at trade shows. Given the pace of change in technology, communication, and the nature of networking, there is plenty of inspiration to be found year after year.
Want to shake things up at your next trade show? Here are our best tips and tricks for making a memorable impression, attracting new leads and having a good time while you’re at it.
1. It’s 2018: ditch paper!
The days of folded brochures and business card bowls are coming to an end. It’s truly time to embrace the wider possibilities of digital!
Rather than tossing together a brochure, put up a splash page. Have a laptop or iPad accessible to everyone walking by. If they’re interested in a certain product or service, give them a quick tour of the relevant information on your website.
The same applies to business cards: you don’t need them! If you have a conversation with a potential customer, ask for their email and follow up on the spot. This serves as a much more effective way to build relationships beyond the trade show, and it demonstrates that you’re a modern, dynamic and proactive company.
2. Go beyond the booth
Waiting patiently behind a table, waiting for trade-show-goers to stop by, belongs to a time gone by. If making connections is your goal, go out there and connect.
When Avinode descends on trade shows, we have Noders fan out around the aisles. We figure there’s no use in being shy: people come to tradeshows to connect with one another and strike up new business. So we make the first move by engaging people who are walking by. We also to make sure to attend the events that are happening and stop by other booths.
3. Draw a crowd
While you don’t want to be brash or distracting, you don’t need to be meek or unassuming at a tradeshow either. Get a whole bunch of prospects to your booth at once by holding mini-events like a product demo, contest or game involving giveaways, a lecture, or some kind of mingle involving beverages and snacks.
4. Create a branding moment
At every trade show we attend, we always try to come up with something fun that reinforces our brand. Some examples from over the years include: bright green scooters that we took to all our meetings and big orange suitcases with the PayNode logo on them that we wheeled around everywhere.
Do something new and different that arouses curiosity, and helps communicate your company’s business and values. Make people smile!
5. Don’t get stuck in a corner
This is tends to be the most dreaded outcome of any trade show: that your booth will be placed in a dead zone. There are two ways you can avoid this:
1) Register early! This is the ultimate reason to stay on top of important deadlines. Most trade shows have a first-come, first-serve policy regarding booth placement.
2) Join forces. For years, Avinode has run a super booth at tradeshow events, where we co-exhibit together with event partners. This has helped us secure a large spot at the center of the action. If you want to make sure you get the ultimate placement, either run a super booth or join one!
6. Develop your own success metrics
If your current approach to making contacts at a trade show is to show up, do your best, and think “the more, the better, right?” then you might not be aware of the power of metrics.
Far in advance of the event, consider what you would like to achieve by doing some math. How many sales reps do you have there? How many leads can they speak to in a day? Set your goals based on this realistic math. Then, keep track. If your team falls short of its goals one day, consider how you need to approach things differently the next.
Like Henry Ford said, “everything that’s measured improves.” Just knowing what you want to achieve will transform the way you show up and the results you get.
These tactics can help you stand out and boost your networking abilities, but the real key to success at a trade show is showing your passion. You don’t need to hire fancy representatives to sell your company’s products or services at a trade show. Your own staff knows your products inside and out and can make genuine, lasting connections.
I think Avinode has been able to put on such great events in our time because we’re always having a good time, and people can tell we love what we do. The magic formula goes something like this: Happy team = innovative company = amazing trade show presence.
And if you want to join forces at a trade show by being an event partner in Avinode’s booth, do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shows & Events Manager Avinode Group